Monday, February 23, 2015

Man Flu

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It is a common cliché that men over emphasise their illnesses as much as women downplay the reality that they fart. With my tongue wedged firmly in my misogynistic cheek it is because men work all day every day to support their family that illness is the only time they get any attention.

Maybe it is just a chance for men to play out the cliché nurse fantasies.

Perhaps it is a chance guys to pamper oneself, or even better be pampered by someone else. Whilst discussing clichés, women like to pamper themselves with, beauty treatment, shopping and endless glasses of champagne. Men, pamper themselves by eating crappy food, lazing on the couch in front of the television, and wearing just their underwear.

Being ill simply gives men permission to live the dream for a day or two without being nagged to do all the household chores.

This is why on the rarest of occasions when men do get sick – albeit the sniffles, they make the most of it. Finally a day’s rest from the never ending responsibilities; mowing the lawn, cleaning gutters, taking the bins out,  household maintenance repairs, car servicing,  playing sport with the children, disciplining the children, attempting the females in the house to use the electronic equipment – again.

Sure it may appear that a man’s medical deterioration coincides with particular sporting fixtures and that that the pantry is miraculously stocked with his favourite food and beverages. At first glance it might make no sense that a man with a case of self-diagnoses tonsillitis would eat their body weight in crisps. The chaser of chocolate pudding and ice-cream is for the throat.

The copious amounts of beer, wine or spirits is because alcohol is a known antiseptic The self prescribed treatment is perfect to kill all of the germs that are making the man sick in the first place. It will help get him on his feet quicker.

Yes any break, whether it be skin or bone, will render the afflicted area totally useless. First Aid training teaches four basic steps.

1.     Rest
2.     Ice
3.     Compression
4.     Elevation

By not using the arm because of a paper cut on the finger, a man is simply following the first of these four steps. The laying on the couch fulfils the fourth the drinks takes care of the ice, and the amount of food shovelled into our bodies it an experiment of compression.

Where social clichés say men are slow to take care of themselves medically, the reality is that men are following fundamental medical care procedures. And doing it without clogging up the waiting rooms in doctors clinics and hospitals. And there is no talk of Medicare co-payment for laying on the couch.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Melbourne International Comedy Festival - Music Comedy

The 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival website is now live. Checkout the line on music comedy shows this year. My show is "A Freak by Any Other Name". There are only 3 tickets left for opening night. Don't miss out, buy your now click here.

More show details are available here

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pick your battles

WARNING: this blog may contain mixed metaphors.

Kenny Rogers tells us that we have to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. I am not a card shark or a gambler however I know when to pick a fight.

If thrust into a ring with Wladimir Klitschko from Ukraine I and certain I would trip over my own feet and stay of the mat for the full 10 count before he even thought about laying one of  his heavy weight champion gloves on me.

Tony Abbott knew when to fold ‘em in January when he backed away from his Paid Parental Leave Scheme. It was not a fight that he was going to win against a combative Senate. If only he thought about the fight he was starting on Australia Day in the investiture of Sir His Royal Highness Prince Phillip. The public ridiculed him, the Palace ignored him, his beloved media dismissed him and now his own party are shaping up to end him.

Life is full of fights. You get over charged $1 at a restaurant, consider it a tip, $10 quietly speak to your waiter, $100 speak to the manager.

This is why so many teenagers can be so difficult. They do not understand what issues are worth $1, everything is a $100 issue.

Curfew – fight.
Dating and sex – fight
Cigarettes, alcohol and drugs – fight
Driving – fight
School and job – fight
Fashion style – fight
Haircut – fight
Hygiene – fight
Tidying bedroom – fight
Waking up at 3 in the afternoon only to spend the next 4 hours on the couch in underwear and t-shirt watching TV or playing videos only communicating with anyone through text message and eating but pizza – fight.

Wanting a pay rise because you help train all new staff, take on tasks of more experienced staff, problem solve and assist in developing new innovations for for your employer. Hold’em, strap on the gloves and fight.

Want a pay rise because you have been doing nothing more or less than what in your job description, and doing it for a long time. Fold ‘em. Take a dive.

You join the cast in a reality television show in an attempt to revive a flagging career and redefine your “celebrity”.  Be like Merv and lay down and preen your back hair. Let the other contestants fight each other and their own minds. Merv’s action clearly show that in his own mind he is already of out there.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

My Black Dog is a Millstone

Depression, affects so many and yet is so misunderstood in the community.  It is so much more than feeling sad for a bit. Feeling sad is part of it, but it is being uncontrollably sad for extended periods over time over things that should not warrant such an emotional response. Misplacing the keys for five minutes in the morning should not unravel the entire day. In the one should not fear watching television with other people for fear that the duckling sitting in a pile of Kleenex tissues will completely unhinge you. Ironically leaving you in a state where you will need the very tissues being advertised to wipe away hours’ worth of tears.

Depression has been described as a black dog. This analogy only works in part for me, because a black dog would give me a sense of companionship.

For me it is the proverbial millstone around the neck. The millstone varies in size and weight as does the length of chain to which it is attached.

On days when it is un-noticeable to others that it is because it is small and light and appears like a necklace, a fashion statement. Oh to have been an adult male in the sixties and seventies when big neck jewellery was the fashion for men. Now in the 20teens it does not have to grow much before people notice something – though they are not sure what it is they see.

No, I have not had hair cut, nor am I wearing a new shirt, or lost or gained weight. You have just noticed my neckpiece.

At its smallest, my necklace is almost unperceivable even to myself. Like a pair of socks, after you have put them on you soon stop feeling them and forget they are there.

But it is not always small, and does not grow in even incremental amounts. The most dangerous for me is when the chain grows faster than the stone itself. Attached to my neck, but now dangling around my legs and feet I am at the greatest risk of being tripped up.

The weight and size of the depression stone matters, unlike more traditional jewellery the smaller it is the better. There is never a question of clarity for a depression stone that is why we pay thousands of dollars in therapy. Like a fine jeweller, the best therapists cut and shape the stone making it more manageable and presentable.

Yes there can be a trigger, that re-commences the expansion of the stone, but depression is more than an emotional response to a one off event.

Around my neck it becomes heavy and awkward when carrying out daily tasks. It is also exhausting. My head bow under the weight, my eyes struggle to focus, concentration span can reduce to that of a five year old on Christmas morning.

The desire to socialise or even leave the house is inversely proportional to the size of the depression stone, and not just because it is hard to find an outfit and accessorise with a massive chunk of sediment. The millstone becomes so big that you believe it would be impossible for everyone else not to notice it, and once within their field of vision even more impossible for people not to stare. The last thing someone in the depths of depression wants is to be noticed, let alone stared at.

Laying or sitting down can help, as it bears some of the weight of the stone, which is why a favourite position for people with depression is their own bed or couch. A large rock does not a pillow make. So despite hours – if not days or weeks – in bed sleep can be either non existent or intermittent to the untrained or inexperienced eye sleep may appear to be deep, however it does not any of its normal recuperative qualities. So now on top of the heaviness, and poor concentration and incessant crying, and feeling that everyone is staring there is now an ever growing layer of tiredness.

Prescription drugs can help break the cycle and even permanently reduce the stone to a wearable size. Therapy can help to provide clarity to the stone which helps chose how it will be worn and accessorised for the day.

Diet goes the way of socialising. For me an indicator that the stone is growing beyond my own abilities to manage is when I am at a supermarket contemplating purchasing potato gems (tata-tots for Americans).

Potato gems are the perfect mix of starch fat and salt and take no effort or thought to prepare. Perfect for someone who is couch bound wearing the same clothes as hey have for the last 48 hours.

Purchasing a bag (2 meals worth) signals significant troubles. Multiple bags and a variety of condiments means I am hitting rock bottom and am not planning on leaving the house for a while.

Doctors recommend nutritional meals with plenty of fresh vegetables. In reality it is about conservation of energy. If I barely have the ability to move to the bathroom I am not going to waste the little I have to peel actual potatoes, slice carrots, and dice onions. At it’s most cumbersome the depression stone is really too big for my kitchen making it near impossible to manoeuvrer between the sink, the bin, the stove and pantry.

Not only can the depression stone be a vicious cycle of its own, often with a tragic ending but it also creates other cycles of dire consequences. Infomercials can start to make sense after days of interrupted sleep, Logic now long gone, the exuberant presenters seem reasonable and level headed, the price now affordable and you do start to wonder how have I survived so long without the latest miracle product.

So you buy.

Blenders, knives, cookware, slicing machines, storage containers and gadgets. The very items that only make sense when depressed are the very items that you will not use in the same state. They sit in the kitchen mocking you. Of course they mock you when you are healthy too, when you will never use them because they are just ridiculous, a permanent reminder of how bad the depression can get.

Maybe I should put potato gems in a Nutribullet, it could extract the nutrition captured in the crispy shell of my starchy friend? The website does boast it can “transform ordinary food into superfood”.