There are plenty of addictions out there that we’ve all acknowledged are real problems for society, from tobacco use all the way up to blowing truckers in a bathroom for a Mexican speedball. There are others, however, that don’t seem to get the same level of conversation levied against them. That’s fine, because most of these are relatively benign, but the fact that we’ve somehow just decided they’re totally acceptable with no examination whatsoever is just beyond me.
I smoke cigarettes. A lot of them. I’m not making any excuses for myself–it’s a horrible, but it’s currently necessary habit. However, it cracks me up when someone will call out how weak people with nicotine addictions are, when he’s the same person who will excuse his terrible behavior because he “hasn’t had his coffee yet.” Let’s just make a blanket statement that any word that has “-ine” as a suffix is probably bad news. Sure, cigarettes are bad for you for a lot of reasons worse than the (yet to be really quantified) negative effects of nicotine. But how exactly is it that you can act like a total asshole because you haven’t gotten your fix of magical black dragon liquid? Don’t get me wrong, I drink an Exxon Valdez-quantity of coffee myself. I get it. I just don’t know why we don’t examine it more. It’s even worse with Monster, Red Bull, and 5-Hour Energy. I don’t even know what’s in that shit. Do I drink it? Absolutely. Without question. And so do you. So in light of that, just quit complaining about my smoking. I’m very aware of Chantix and Allen Carr’s book. I’ll pick them up when I’m good and ready. Shut the fuck up and drink your latte.
People occasionally refer to other people as workaholics. It’s a complicated word, because it can be used both supportively and pejoratively. Hard work isn’t exactly the virtue that it once was. We’ve been exposed to the idea of “don’t work hard, work smart” for so long, that we often forget that sometimes working hard IS working smart. Then there are others who think working is not only their primary focus, but also their only focus. There’s a pretty big gap between working hard and paying attention to nothing but your job. It’s fine to be ambitious, but at what cost? Sure, if you’re single and have a small group of friends, you can afford to allow your career to consume you, and in fact, that may be the best route to take in your twenties. However, once you enter into a romantic relationship and start having kids, you’re taking on obligations other than your own aspirations. Some people get this and some people don’t. We tend to gloss this over, though. We’d much prefer an inattentive parent who provides for his or her children over a parent who’s around all the time, but can’t afford to feed his or her kids, but it’s not like those are binary options, right? There are so many people who waste away their lives toiling at work, often at a job that brings them no real fulfillment, but merely provides an outlet for their desire to put in effort. Take a damn vacation every now and then, people.
3. TV Shows
Remember when “binge” anything was a bad thing? Binge drinking, binge eating, binge hugging? Maybe not that last one, but you get the idea. So when did binge watching TV become acceptable? I remember borrowing someone’s copy of the first season of “Lost” freshman year of college and knocking it out in one weekend. It was addicting. When I told people that was how I’d spent my weekend, they looked at me like I was completely insane. And they were right. When I emerged from my dorm room like Robin Williams from the “Jumanji” world [insert sad face here] I felt gross. I had just spent an entire weekend on the couch, eating various cheese-flavored snacks and not showering. I should have felt disgusting, because I had just performed an objectively disgusting act. Fast forward to now, and all of the sudden this is par for the television course. Sure, Netflix is somewhat responsible, but it’s still a personal decision. You cloister yourself in your apartment to knock out “House of Cards” the weekend it’s released? Well, no shit–that’s what everyone else is doing. You didn’t get into “Breaking Bad” until the show had been on for a few seasons? Well, never mind that the next season was still months away, you had to get caught up RIGHT NOW. “Game of Thrones” is restarting in a week? Better rewatch all of the episodes from the past few seasons that you’ve already seen, just to make sure you’re completely up to speed. By the way, I’m not exempting myself from any of this criticism. I’m just as, if not more, guilty as most people of this. All of the above “you” examples are actually “me” examples. I’m not even convinced that binge watching is an inherently bad thing, I’m just confused as to why we’re so blasé about the practice.
I mean, of all the addictions you could have, this is probably the least concerning, given that the ultimate result of exercise addiction is likely a healthier body. It would be like being addicted to drinking water or giving stuffed animals to kids with leukemia. However, there’s definitely a downside to constant, excessive exercise. Exercise junkies are all about the endorphin rush, which is great–endorphins fucking rock, man. That’s why there are so many narcotics that pump your brain full of them. People do drugs to flood their brain with chemicals that cause their problems to disappear for temporary periods of time, which is detrimental to your health for a lot of reasons. Jogging might not destroy your frontal lobe, but you should definitely ask yourself if going for a run every time you feel stressed or overextended is necessarily the answer. Sure, as long as you’re still dealing with your problems in real time and just using the workout as a chance to blow off some steam, that’s fine. Stay gold, Ponyboy. But if you’re using the endorphin rush to mask the bigger problems in your life, then you’re not much better than the aforementioned truck stop fellator.