Archive for March, 2018

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings."
The Walrus and the Carpenter, Lewis Carroll

To which I would add "And to ask myself why the fuck am I still on Facebook?"

Do you remember the early days, when Facebook was the best way to chat with friends? To reunite with family members? You know what I’m talking about: the time before it became a toxic waste dump of advertising, lies, and politics? Or is the use of those three words in a single sentence considered redundant?

Like many of you, I used to check Facebook several times during the day. Hell, at one time I would even check it in the middle of the night when I got up to pee.

Well, droogs, I’ve had enough. Facebook has started to suck the life out of me. Instead of being a communications tool, it has become a psychic vampire, a tool for manipulation, and a disseminator of lies and disunity.

I’m tired of waiting for Facebook to grow up. After all these years, it still can’t decide what it wants to be when it grows up. Hell, it can’t even decide if it wants to grow up!

Security breaches. Stolen data. Refusal to accept responsibility. Facebook is the Han Solo of social media: “Hey, it’s not my fault!”

In short, Facebook has gone over to the Dark Side. It has joined the armies of Sauron.

I deactivated my account once before, and then thought better(?) of it and came back, only to discover things had gotten worse. This time, I have not just deactivated it—I’ve actually cancelled it.

If you need to talk to this humble Hobbit, I can still be reached by email, via this blog, or on my Medium.com account.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”—Albert Einstein

“But she has so much potential!” was the rallying cry my teachers used with my parents. “We just don’t understand why she’s not living up to it.”

And so began my first year in junior high, back in the olden days before middle school was even a concept. 7th and 8th grades. The good old days of assigning classes based on gender rather than a student’s interests. To this day I maintain that at some point before graduation, students should be required to take classes in what we used to call home economics and basic automotive mechanics.

I don’t understand turning students out into the world when they don’t know how to sew a button onto a shirt, or how to change a flat tire.

But that’s the way it was in the early 1960s. Girls took Home Ec and boys took Shop.

Oh, I knew I had potential; I didn’t need to be told that by someone who wasn’t as smart as I was. Because I was left alone in a guidance counselor’s office just long enough to look through the folder containing ME and seeing what my IQ was, I had written proof that I was smarter than most of my fellow students and probably most of my teachers as well.

I still couldn’t change a flat tire, or tell you the difference between 0 and 0000 grit sandpaper, but I could boil the hell out of a quart of water!

Potential don’t mean fuck-all when you’re bored by all of your classes.
High school was even worse. With the exception of two years of Spanish and a semester of Texas History, I didn’t learn anything I hadn’t already known in junior high. So yeah, I was bored to tears.

I was a student with a measured IQ above 160 and I was expected to do well in classes that were geared more towards the future farmers, ranchers, and homemakers than they were towards students who were planning on going on to universities or colleges.

“When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school/It’s a wonderful I can think at all.”
Paul Simon could just as easily written those lines about me as he did for himself.

But then, suddenly, COLLEGE!

And the complete opposite of high school. It was taken for granted that you knew certain things, had taken specific classes to prepare you for “the real world.” After four years of bluffing my way through classes, I was expected to actually do stuff!

I was finally in a world where I was expected to perform. To achieve results. And here I was, a person with no study habits. I hadn’t needed to develop any, because I had always been able to ace all of my classes without so much as opening a text book.

I felt as if I was a fish trying to climb a tree. Stupid.

Needless to say, my budding college career ended at the end of my freshman year. My parents weren’t about to keep shelling out money for a D student.

I still only have an Associates degree. No matter how many times I’ve tried, I still don’t fit the college mold.

If only I had been able to take Wood Shop in high school. But I was smarter than that.

I had potential.

‘“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”’—Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

One of the greatest coping skills I learned after yet another failed suicide attempt (have you ever had a tube inserted in your nose and snaked down to your stomach as part of a gastric lavage?) was something I realized when my therapist told me: “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

The realization—or rather, the skill—was so simple I was amazed that I hadn’t thought of it before was this: when things get so dark that I start to consider simply ending it all, I put on my headphones, fire up iTunes on my laptop, and put George Harrison on a loop. All Things Must Pass is my mantra. I listen to it over and over again until finally, I believe it.

The other realization changed my entire outlook on life in general and my lifelong chronic depression. This time it was something I read:

The question we should be asking is not “What’s wrong with you?” Rather, we should be asking “What happened to you?”

That changed my perspective from “What did I do to deserve this?” to “What caused this to happen to me?” And even then, it took a much longer time to drop the “to me” and stop looking at myself as a victim.

I am not a “victim of depression;” I am a survivor. I now approach this struggle in much the same way practitioners of Aikido approach their opponents: find your enemy’s strength—in this case, his energy—and turn it against him.

I’ve spent years discovering my enemy’s strengths. Knowing them, I have learned how to turn them against what Churchill called his “black dog,” and what Rowling put a face to with the Dementors.

The result? Between those two realizations, new medications, and therapy, it’s been over 3 years since my last suicide attempt, and 2 years since I’ve had even so much as a thought of harming myself.

We may be, as the Cheshire Cat claims, “all mad here.” But that’s no reason we can’t fight back. That’s no reason we can’t be mental health ninjas.


Do you suffer from depression? Do you have thoughts of self-harm? Of suicide? You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1–800–273–8255. Even though I’m on the mend, I still keep the number on speed dial.

What’s For Breakfast?

Posted: 5 March, 2018 in Diet, Food

Long before Bill Cosby recorded his skit about giving his kids chocolate cake for breakfast, I had already wondered why it was okay to have a donut for breakfast, but not a piece of cake? And why were sugary cereals preferable to donuts?

I even asked my mother about this once, but like so many childhood inquiries, my questions were unable to generate any useful answers.

Lately I’ve been wondering. Why do breakfasts often feature hash brown, but not mashed, potatoes? Why do we serve rench fries with hamburgers and hot dogs, rather than. mashed or boiled? Well, okay–boiled potatoes in a potato salad.

I can’t stand to even be near to someone who puts ketchup (a tomato-based sauce) on their eggs, and yet I was quite put out this morning when I realized I had no Frank’s RedHot sauce (another tomato-based sauce) to put on my omelette.

(As an aside,growing up, one of my brothers hated tomatoes but loved tomato juice, while the other one loved tomatoes but hated tomato juice. And don’t even get me started on my German great-grandfather who insisted on spreading good German mustard on his pancakes.)

And the greatest mystery of all: Does anybody drink milk with their pizza? If not, why not? My mother always served us milk with just about every other Italian dish, so why not pizza? It was the same ingredients just arranged differently.

I believe that beer is the perfect accompaniment to Chinese or Mexican food. But for Indian or Thai? Thai iced tea or Masala Chai.

I’m pretty sure most of us prefer American versions of Chinese cuisine to the real thing. I mean really? Baby octopus?

Then again, I prefer TexMex to Mexican food. I had a couple of friends who spent a spring break in Mexico, and complained that there wasn’t a single Taco Bell in the whole country! They had to eat REAL MEXICAN food! Oh, the humanity!

And even this blog, which is ostensibly about food, is more about culture and my own personal philosophies of life. It’s just that most of my insights occur over breakfast or dinner, or as is more often the case, a nice cup of tea.

What about you, dear reader? Do you have any hard and fast breakfast rules? Or do you believe as I do that when it comes to food, rules are meant to be broken?


Amaan Khan

Hello, I am Amaan Khan and this is my complete Portfolio | Weekly fiction and personal writings | New post every Thursday, without fail

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