Dear Mickey Rourke,
Each week in ‘What am I meant to do with my time?‘, Christopher Hocking turns to a famous figure to see if it can tell him how to live a digitally native life in 2013. Today, it’s actor and tough man Mickey Rourke.
So the adventures in opening a cafe go on and in a minor chapter of this long, choose-our-own venture we see a photo of some matte black milk jugs that they’ve started using in some cafes. Neat! Neat-o! We’re alternative kids and we’re into matte black so let’s get into these milk jugs.
With research we find out that they’re Teflon coated and then a little further and find out that sometimes with use the Teflon begins to wear out. OK! That is not ideal but what does that really mean? Deeper, deeper into the matte black rabbit hole and we find out that apparently Teflon is actually pretty carcinogenic. Poison black floating in the patron’s coffee. Talk about R.L. Stinesque. We have chosen the wrong adventure.
Wait, all our non-stick things – are they Teflon? Are they giving us cancer?
Surely they can’t just sell things that give you cancer?
Yeah – what? What about all these pots and pans we’ve been using?
We are modern, alternative kids and live fairly naively and optimistically.
Google search: how can you tell if something is teflon
A: Basically if it is nonstick and in your house then it is Teflon and you are dead.
The rich get richer and the poor get cancer. We’re through the latte glass, through the looking glass.
At work I wash up a non-stick electric frying pan and as I’m handing it back to the cook, I ask.
Hey, is this stuff Teflon?
Yep! Gives you cancer.
The conversation with the cook moves swiftly into a conversation about the Rockefellers and the slow-kill, dumbing down of the masses with poison in the water and something about food signatures and look that is a whole suitcase of thoughts that I am putting away to look at later, I can’t think about inside jobs and government conspiracies right now I have to make like thirty goddamn laddays.
But this Teflon thing – that is a thing I can and will face right now. It is on the to-do list. I am very into advice about health, I am very into online research having HUGE IMPACTS on how I live in the day-to-day. For example about a year ago I read that you should leave a half hour after eating before you brush your teeth and another half hour on the other side to give your teeth the maximum protection. So now that has become basically gospel to me. Where did I even read that? I’m pretty sure it was like a doctor’s blog or a dentist’s tumblr or something, but it doesn’t matter – the words are written around my molars in caps lock, in Impact font. It is a headline in the morning newspaper of my mind.
BRUSHING AFTER EATING DRIVES ACIDS INTO TEETH
If the half-hour-either-side thing is gospel, then doctors and dentists are, I guess, priests? And God would be Lance Armstrong via livestrong.com. Instead of flagellation or confession I look up the food I have just eaten online so I can learn how much it will kill me. Oh, I ate a croissant? I might as well just throw my body in the trash. I might as well just bury myself in a croissant-shaped grave.
I tumble into the endless catacombs of do’s and don’t's lists – banshee howls of You Won’t Believe What This Is Doing To Yr Bodyyyyyyy and Top Ten Foods That Will Ruin Yr Psyyyyyyche echoing out, my sense of actual self annihilated in the feedback loop.
Eventually these things fall into rituals and filed under Facts and I don’t even question their validity or source. I don’t remember if kale is a real thing or a modern urban myth – if I read about it in Gwenyth Paltrow’s GOOP or a parody of Gwenyth Paltrow’s GOOP. Is a date a good source of fibre or is just quietly the worst thing that you can eat? That is a genuine question I am asking, please help me.
One day I read that if an apple is not organic then it is basically not worth eating – that the pesticides needed to keep apples preserved render them pretty much a poison. Another I read that orange juice is so bad for your teeth and body that you oughta just quit it. The internet is a dangerous place full of information – too much damn information. I read that “intermittent fasting” can be a fun, easy way to keep thin so started having dinner earlier and breakfast later – an easy gap of 16-18 hours without food. But then more recently I read that it is better to eat MORE often to keep your metabolism going – to eat a breakfast almost first thing or at least in the first hour of waking. But if I eat breakfast before work, then I don’t have time for the half-hour gap before brushing my teeth – so which do I sacrifice? I’m at the mercy of unseen internet masses.
It is the inherent authority of the Internet voice – because if something is printed there [/here], in black and white (or sometimes white text on a black background, very minimal) then it must be a truth or at least an un-false? Even if you don’t take it on as a new commandment, a new kind of water – it still lies there in your brain like an unactivated pumpkin seed. It’s the phenomenon of reading a bad review or of evidence in a court being stricken from the jury’s mind – it can’t be disregarded (everything I know about courts I learnt from James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder.) So even if I’m just “conversationally” asking in a cafe whether it’s farmed salmon or – or what? Salmon from the wild? Even if I’m just CONVERSATIONALLY asking I’m actually pretty concerned that the land salmon is killing me.
It is the danger of at once being more informed and less informed – knowing enough to be scared but not knowing enough to do anything about it. At work I make coffees for people who ask for one quarter strength cappuccinos, but ask for 2-3 sugars – concerned about the impact of caffeine on their health (“I want to sleep tonight! Ha ha!”) but ignoring the dangers of sugar consumption. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
About a year ago I noticed that my tongue was unusually white, so took to the Yahoos to find out what was what. I know that Yahoo Answers is not really a meeting of the minds, let alone a meeting of the doctors, but it is generally a good source of some information/some comedy.
“You almost def. have AIDS”
“OMG that is gross u r prob. dying”
“It’s not definitely AIDS but go to the doctor b/c it could be AIDS”
“IT’S CALLED CANDIDA YOUR DIET SUCKS”
“Spit in a glass in the morning – if it floats, you are cursed/have a wheat allergy”
“Post-nasal drip, sleep sitting up”
and on and on until I found myself in a pharmacy asking for an “oxygenating” mouthwash and having to stick my tongue out for a man I’ve never met.
It’s OK, we do this all the time. We’re basically doctors.
I find out later from a friend who works in a pharmacy that no they’re not all basically doctors, some of them are just kids working casual jobs without any real medical background. Don’t let just anyone in a uniform see the inside of your mouth or your mind. It is like asking for a priest and being seen by an altar boy (is this analogy still good or no?) Probably a real doctor would have diagnosed me with being in a serious delirium.
I never found that oxygenating mouthwash, by the way. I wonder now if it is even a real product, or if it is a small-scale conspiracy/long-con like kale or activated nuts or jogging.
So with all our pots and pans bagged and binned like so many dead bats, I sit shivering in front of the computer, eating almonds out the palm of my hand.
Google search: is there a limit to how many almonds you can eat in a day
I shut the laptop before any results can display.
you need to be quiet. do you think that this
is any kind of a life
for any kind of a man?
i drank a beer between each of those lines. one more for g.l. do you think that is health
one more for yr health.
in my youth i saw so many g.d. doctors and nurses that i decided never to see one again. as they say, “a man who sees a doctor not only has to recover from the illness, but from the doctor”. and on that, ever hear the joke about the monkey and the grape? take yr g.d. Almons and shovem.
by way of
ps. the salmon thing is real, though, don’t even bother with that junk whether its farmed or not
Christopher Hocking is an Adelaide writer who has been published on Scum Mag and rejected by McSweeneys, Voiceworks, Stilts, Bumf and more. Over the past week he decided to grow up and start using a WordPress.
Read more ‘What am I meant to do with my time?‘
(Top photo by Prairie Kitten)