stories

I Ate Live Octopus

by D.J. Paris on June 30, 2014

D.J., watch this video of live chickens being slaughtered. It’ll make you become a vegetarian.

No, that’s okay. Not interested.

Don’t you care about chickens being tortured and killed?

(minute long pause to soul-search for an answer) No. I guess I don’t care.

You have no soul.

I’ve been eating animals my whole life and it’s never occurred to me to change. Vegetarianism seems like a real hassle, and I’m one of those guys who would end up with anemia because I’d be too lazy to eat anything other than spinach.

When Chrissy asked me to watch the torture clip on YouTube, I declined. Not because I’m oblivious to inhumane conditions at certain factory farms. They’re bad, obviously. But, did I really care? No.

Now, before you dub me a monster, here’s my rationale. Yes, I would prefer chickens never be killed at all, much less treated unfairly before slaughter. I’m with you on that. I’m a huge animal person and to see one suffer in any capacity is heartbreaking. I can’t even watch that Sarah McLaughlin commercial, and not because of that depressing song in the background.

But, if I really cared about chickens and their conditional deaths, I’d do something about it. Just saying, “I care!” is lip service.

It’s easy to say you are passionate about something. Harder to put action where your words are.

I decided to take a socially unpopular stand in that moment with my friend. I was willing to be honest and admit that despite not wanting chickens to be unfairly treated, I must not really care all that much as I’m not doing anything to correct it.

She, however, does care and is taking action. Something called Meatless Mondays. Check it out.

I was in NY a few months back visiting my sister. Dana and boyfriend took Beth and I out to Sik Gaek, a Korean seafood BBQ in Flushing. Sik is known for their huge pots of boiling broth filled with shellfish.

They’re also known for live octopus.

We were seated next to a group of five Koreans. They ordered before us and got a giant plate of live octopus for an appetizer. They laughed as they videoed each other eating the squirming tentacles.

I announced to my group that I, too, would eat some live octopi.

How much worse could it be from the grocery store sushi that I sometimes nosh at 9am on Sundays?

I made a video demonstrating the act, so I won’t describe it much. The tentacles don’t have flavor, so it’s really not that satisfying. They do suction cup themselves to your teeth and gums when you put them in your mouth. That’s kind of a hassle.

The tentacles are all chopped off and presented on a platter. I guess that technically counts as “alive” since they’re moving around like worms. But I think that’s just nerve cells freaking out, so it wasn’t like I was munching down on an octopus’ functioning brain.

When I posted the video on Instagram, I thought people would find it funny and gross. I had no intention of offending anyone.

I had many Twitter replies from people that thought it was cruel and sick. This was surprising because that never occurred to me before I chomped down. I mean, I eat chicken legs, frog legs, turkey legs, etc. These legs just happened to be twitching.

In the video it’s clear I’m showing off. I felt like I had to document how “cool” I am by eating this Korean delicacy. An ego move, for sure. But hey, I can own it.

Oh, and I finished the whole plate. You can see a few dozen other legs flopping around. I have to eat everything or else I feel like I’m wasting food. So, even though the novelty wore off after three tentacles, I ate the other thirty.

Ironically, all those nasty Twitter replies got me thinking. I am now starting to explore the idea of eating less meat if that would improve conditions at meat farms. But – I’m not saying I care yet, because I haven’t actually done anything about it. Hopefully I will.


(If you’re viewing with my mobile app, you won’t see the video above. Click over to the YouTube section)

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It Turns Out I Sleep Bad – Part I

by D.J. Paris on June 5, 2014

For as long as I can remember I’ve been exhausted.

I started taking naps my last year of college. I was studying meditation and self-hypnosis and would put myself in a deep trance following whatever instructions the new-agey book I was reading at the time suggested. Now, many years later, I realize that what I was really doing was falling asleep. I’d wake up fifteen minutes later feeling mildly refreshed. Meanwhile I thought I had meditated and achieved nirvana.

These short naps have continued to present day. Except now they are long naps. An hour at least. On the weekends, sometimes two to three hours. Oh, and no matter what I’m always tired after I wake up.

It only occurred to me recently that I might have a sleep disorder.

I always thought I was one of those people that needed a lot of sleep. I log around seven per night and I probably should do nine. But even at seven, when I get home from work, I often nap for an hour. I go right into dreams, too. Also, I fall asleep within about twenty seconds.

It’s been reported that I snore so loud that sawmills are jealous of my pitch. (sorry, that joke was a real stinker)

Anyway, I jumped online and started looking up information on sleep disorders. Said on some page somewhere that I might be a victim of sleep deprivation! Which made little sense because of the heroic amounts of sleep I log, but hey, I ain’t no doctor.

I’m one of those guys that loves going to doctors. I’m pretty much never sick and have no recurring illnesses, but it’s fun to learn from specialists. One time I went to see an endocrinologist to have him check my testosterone level. (I thought I had too much). He laughed me right out of his office. As I was leaving he shouted, “Also, never take vitamins. They do nothing!”

When I arrived at the sleep clinic I told the doctor about my sleep patterns. She thought I might have sleep apnea and/or narcolepsy. A sleep study was scheduled and a few days later I was back in their office, only this time in a room made up to look like I was staying at the Hampton Inn. It was a faux-hotel room outfitted with a bed, nightstand, bathroom, tv – oh, and cameras and microphones. I changed into pajamas and then sleep tech Tiara hooked me up with electrodes from head to toe. I couldn’t have been more excited.

I had a little more trouble falling asleep (according to the data it took me seven minutes), but I made it through the night. Because my bladder is small and my prostrate is large (also things I’ve had checked out by doctors), I get up twice a night to go to the bathroom. I had to say out loud to Tiara who’s watching and listening to me sleep, “Uh, I need to use the restroom.” This is an odd thing to speak into the darkness of a bedroom. Even weirder is to hear a voice back telling you she’ll be right there. Then they have to unhook your wires and wait outside while you flush out that evening’s Fresca. It’s embarrassing.

The next week I met with my doctor to go over the sleep study results. AND WHAT CAME NEXT SHOOK ME TO MY CORE.

No, just kidding. Dramaticism!

It turns out I wake up on average 10.9x per hour. That’s amazing considering I only remembered waking up when I needed to go potty. She explained these were what is known as “micro arousals” (and yes, I already thought of a joke about small-dick boners). My brain was waking up all the time, probably from the snoring. Also, I stopped breathing 4x per hour. Thanks for building me in your image, God!

I asked if they could do surgery to fix whatever was wrong. In a weird way I was kind of hoping they could just snip something. God knows I didn’t want to do any work to correct this thing. Surgery wasn’t an option, sadly.

It was pretty clear to them that I had sleep apnea. The doctor went through some physiological explanation that I zoned out for and I came to as she was explaining treatment recommendations.

She said the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment is to implement a CPAP device.

“Cool! Let’s do it!”

“Uh, by the way, how long will I need to wear the CPAP?”

“Oh, forever, you say?”

Rats.

Part II Coming Soon!

They also hooked one up to my nuts, but just to be funny. Those wacky technicians!

They also hooked one up to my nuts, but just to be funny. Those wacky technicians!

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Someone Flipped Me The Bird!

by D.J. Paris on March 4, 2014

Had an amazing experience on the subway yesterday.

Well, in Chicago we don’t call it the subway. It’s the “el” which is short for “elevated train” because it does, in fact, go above ground. The trains also go below ground, too. I’m sticking with “subway,” although this incident technically happened at an elevated structure.

It wasn’t supposed to be snowing or cold yesterday morning. 18° was projected but 3° with strong flurries was what happened. I prepared for the weather with a heavy jacket and gloves. Since I take the dog to work, I covered her in three layers of clothes and then stuffed her into a backpack. Out we went.

In single degree temperatures at 8am standing on the train platform I could sense an overall depression among the commuters. There’s no sun and the cold hurts your skin, eyes, and ears. I boarded the train after a few minutes of waiting.

Immediately after I enter a subway car I lean against the wall partition perpendicular to the door. I take off my backpack and carefully place it between my legs which are shoulder length apart. This protects the dog should anyone accidentally kick her while walking in or out.

I have a policy where I only stand while on the subway. This is for one reason – I don’t want to be the douche who sits when women, old people, and children are standing. Also, I’d have to put the backpack on my lap and that would draw more attention to the fact that I have a dog on a train that explicitly doesn’t allow dogs.

I make sure that because I stand by the door, if it’s crowded when people are getting off or on I exit momentarily to allow for more space. Usually I don’t have to as I’m not blocking the entryway. I make sure people don’t have to strain to get around me.

At the first stop I was in my usual spot and the train was empty. There were plenty of open seats and I was one of three people standing. The entryway was clear when the door opened. A few people lumbered on.

At the tail of the group was a tall man bundled up. Instead of entering the train he stopped short of the door. He looked me in the eye and started yelling. I had my headphones on so I didn’t catch his first few sentences. Not wanting to miss anything further I took off my headphones as fast as I could.

He was angry and shouting something about me blocking the door. I wasn’t blocking the door as evidenced by the group that just entered the train. His face was beet red. A huge laugh welled up in me and I exploded. I laughed right in his face. We were approximately three feet apart.

Stunned, his face went blank for a moment while he processed my reaction. I’m sure he was expecting me to move or get angry or stay silent while he unloaded on me. But I couldn’t take it seriously. While laughing I said to him, “Wow! You’re really fired up!” He kept yelling and was so into it that he let the door close without entering the train. I watched the door shut while he was still bellowing at me. He pounded on the window to keep my attention. Then he flipped me the middle finger.

There’s nothing funnier than receiving the middle finger. I can’t remember the last time it happened. Probably ten years.

I lost it at this point. I started laughing harder and pointed at his middle finger as if to say, “That was a great one! Good joke!” Plus, I knew that the more I laughed the more incensed he’d feel.

Laughing at someone when they’re angry is dehumanizing. You’re invalidating their existence and reducing their passion to novelty. It’s also the reaction least expected and cuts deep into one’s insecurity. I recommend it highly in situations like this.

As the train pulled away I realized that I had single-handedly ruined this person’s morning. My guess is that he’s a bully-type and it’s probably not the first time he mixed it up with someone on the train. I’m sure he goes around all the time yelling at people who stand near the entrance.

I’ve learned to not let crazy people bother me. They can’t help it. It’s just how they are.

But I refuse to give up my power to bullies. You shouldn’t either.

Laugh at them.

Chicago El

photo credit: smaedli via photopin cc

20 comments

I Am Lucky and Ashamed

January 23, 2014

When I left my home it was -1 degrees. There’s nothing I own that is appropriate for negative temperatures. If I dug deep into my closet I could find a pair of long underwear. But then what? Put them on under my suit pants? I’d get to work where the temperature is a 72. Then […]

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My Unconscious Loves Bringing Knives Through Security at Airports

January 3, 2014

I’m not a gun person. We didn’t grow up hunting and no-one in the family owns a firearm. I’ve shot a gun exactly once, and that was in the Scottsdale, Arizona desert. I hit 3/5 targets and the instructor said that I had a pretty good shot. Guns have always scared me. I don’t feel […]

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I Threw My Holiday Cards in the Trash – A Confession

December 31, 2013

It started with the stamps. Last Friday, like a good and dedicated employee, I went into work. There were some appointments I had set up for the early part of the day. On the way home I popped into a Dominick’s grocery store to pick up a few items needed for the weekend. I remembered […]

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I Did 198 Takes Last Night for My Video Blog – A Confession

December 18, 2013

I told my girlfriend a lie last night. To be fair, this was unintentional. Had I known the actual truth (as I do now) I may have very well snapped the remaining thread of sanity holding me upright or thrown myself from a balcony screaming. On my way home from work yesterday I put together […]

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Adventures in Marital Supplemental Devices (Yes, Those Kind)

November 18, 2013

Every few weeks the fine people at AimingLow publish one of my pieces for their hilarious site. Today was one of those days. I always forget to mention when this happens and I thought I’d share with you my last two videos I produced. It’s about… well… vibrators. Enjoy. If you’re on my mobile app […]

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My Head Moves On it’s Own Like it’s Possessed – A Confession

November 5, 2013

This is probably the weirdest thing about me. No, wait. It definitely is. When I was nineteen I started to get involved in new-agey stuff. Out of sheer curiosity I visited the local shop that sold dream catchers and patchuli face cream. As I was looking over the Kama Sutra books with explicit photos, I […]

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My ThoughtsFromParis App Was Rejected by Apple For This Reason…

October 15, 2013

I was thinking on the subway this evening, “Why did I really build an app for my blog?” The easy and obvious answer is that it would make accessing my content easier. The app aggregates my podcasts, posts, and even videos, as well as my Twitter and Facebook feeds. It does, in fact, help people […]

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The Twenty-Four Year Old Running The Chili’s Twitter Account is Fun

October 14, 2013

The past few weeks have been unfortunately busy. I’m trying to cut down on my adverbs, by the way. I couldn’t even make past the first sentence. Dammit. Anyhow, my best friend’s father passed away and I traveled back to Peoria to attend to the services. I also was in a bad car crash (thankfully […]

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