Unplugging From A Sick Culture

The other night some of the guys in the gym invited me to hang out with them for a “bro night”.  Since we’re always lifting weights together, I think the world of those guys and was like, “Sure, I’ll tag along.”  It was good spending time with them, but I can’t help but share my thoughts on the night.

It all began with us meeting up at Applebees.  As we sat at our table, laughing and eating, I watched them order plate after plate of food, each with enormous portion sizes, all while they downed multiple giant glasses of soda and beer.  I on the other hand, ordered a small piece of grilled chicken on a small portion of brown rice and drank ice water.

As I looked around the restaurant, watching all these fat people waddling in, eating enormous portions of fried, greasy, salty food, and downing it all with sugary drinks, I thought to myself, “Yep, this is why obesity is so prevalent in our society.”  As of 2007, almost 75% of people in the United States were obese, a number which is growing everyday.  It’s not much better elsewhere around the world.

We have people working sedentary jobs, spending all day sitting in some desk, barely moving, and then they’re shoveling the worst possible foods into their mouths each night.

Some of you reading this may think I’m humble bragging or something.  I’m not.  To tell you guys the truth, I’m very anti-social and spend most everyday, in its entirety, alone to myself.  Since I’m largely disconnected from culture, and have basically zero peer pressure, I fell into routines that are natural to me.  For one, everything I eat is home cooked.  I never eat packaged, processed garbage.  I mostly eat lean protein, like boiled eggs, baked chicken, or baked fish.  Then for my carbs I tend to eat brown rice, or noodles.  And my portion sizes are small.  I oftentimes track my calories in an app as well called My Fitness Pal.  When I’m bulking and lifting heavy in the gym, working out for maybe two hours that day, my total calorie count for the day may be 2500 calories.  On days I can’t make it to the gym, I’ll only eat like 1800 calories.  I get 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for every pound I weigh, maybe (1/2) g of fat for every pound of my body weight (about 90 g per day), and for carbs I may get like 1 to 1.5 grams of carbs for every pound I weight.

But anyways, I state all of this to point out that I’m very aware of what I put into my body and how it responds to what I eat and drink.  For example, if I eat more than 2500 calories a day, even if I’m working out for hours each day in the gym, I’m still going to get fat.  I’ve had it happen to me on multiple occasions.  And on days when I don’t hit the gym (normally the weekends), I have to be even more careful about what I eat.  If I start getting above 1800 calories, I can literally watch the pounds start accumulating on my body.  My stomach starts pooching, then if I keep at it, fat starts appearing everywhere.  In the past I’ve allowed it when I’ve tried out “bulking”, but I’ve learned I’m better off not sloppily bulking at all.  Maybe it’s my age, but I have to eat clean, pretty much every meal.

Why do I say all of this?  I just want to offer some perspective.  Each big glass of soda I watched these guys down (and I’d say they drank 2-3 big glasses of soda, each), they were about 1.5-2 cans of Pepsi each, I’d say.  So each glass was probably anywhere from 225 to 300 calories, and drinking 3 glasses, we’ll just guestimate that to be maybe 800 calories.  ALONE.  Most of that is in pure sugar.  The amount of sugar in cola is insane; it’s best to just see it in a picture. And are you guys aware of what happens when you eat quick carbs, such as sugar?  First your blood sugar spikes through the roof and your body is like, whoa, we can’t have this!  So then it kicks into fat storage mode.  It takes all that extra sugar (now in the form of glucose) and converts it to fat and starts storing it, all over your body.  Wonderful, the exact opposite of what anyone would want.  Plus, this is super hard on your body.  This requires a huge spikes of insulin production.  You’re just begging for Type-2 diabetes.

But we’re not done with this.  Now let’s move onto what they ate.  They began by eating appetizers, which alone were more food than I would’ve ate for an entire meal.  They began with a platter of Won Ton Tacos.  So they ate another 600 calories just to warm up.  This was followed up with humongous Cowboy burgers which were 1200 calories, with 2200 mg of salt!  2200 mg of salt!  That’s the entire recommended daily intake of salt in one burger.  Gee, is it any wonder why people all have heart problems and high blood pressure?  But that’s just the burger.  We still have to deal with the enormous plate of greasy, salty, garlic fries which were 610 calories and another 840 mg of salt.

These guys had consumed well over 3000 calories in one setting, not to mention all the alcohol they were drinking.  That was taking it’s toll on their bodies as well.  I was awestruck.

Next we all rode together to the movie theater.  I was in the backseat and then heard the stereo turn on.  It was that booty in the club rap music stuff.  We all know about it.  That music that objectifies women, glories in their drug dealing, talks about their violent retaliation to other dealers and rappers, brags about their wealth and how everybody else is a nobody, etc.  Though a lot of the tunes and beats are catchy, the lyrics and mental messages are toxic and complete garbage.

So we make it to the movie theater.  I had to use the bathroom real quick (due to all the water I drank as I watched them eat and eat and eat).  I come out and I see them buying MORE soda, giant big gulps of soda, and big packs of candies.  All kinds of chocolates, and they’re each carrying a giant container of popcorn.  They then go to this station and dump loads of butter and salt on top and fill up their big gulps with Pepsi and Dr. Pepper.  I was thinking to myself, “Didn’t we just eat?”

I looked up how much soda was in the big gulps they bought.  You know those giant 2-liter soda bottles they sell at the store?  Those things are family sized and last a normal family, under normal consumption like a week?  I dunno, I don’t drink the stuff.  But these guys are about to down half a 2-Liter (0.9 L to be precise) at one go during the movie, an absolutely insane amount of soda to drink.  Also throughout the movie, I saw them eat all of the candies and most of the popcorn.  I can’t remember what candies they were eating.  It’s inconceivable to me to even eat an entire box of candies at one setting, much less several while downing a big gulp of soda and munching on popcorn (just after eating out at a restaurant!).

So finally the movie begins to play.  It was called Death Wish and starred Bruce Willis.  The basic plot is Bruce Willis plays this wealthy doctor and some guys come and rob their home.  Some things go wrong and Willis’ wife is killed and his daughter is critically injured.  Willis asks the police to take care of it but they’re inept and nothing is happening.  Willis gets mad and takes the law into his own hands.  He buys a gun, starts investigating on his own, and brutally hunts these guys down, one by one.

The movie is pure violence and gore.  I remember one scene where he tracks down this guy named Fish.  The guy is underneath a car, working in an automotive garbage.  Willis asks the guy, “Are you Fish?”  The guy’s like, “Yeah, what of it?”  Willis grabs a giant mechanic wrench, winds it up like a baseball bat and crushes the guys knees as he’s underneath the car.  The guy’s screaming, then Willis (being a doctor) takes out some syringe and drugs the guy. Fish passes out.  Upon waking up, Fish finds himself tied up, and the car he was working on is jacked up several feet over his head.  Willis then begins probing him, “Who else was with you!”  The guy won’t talk.  Willis then pulls out a scapel, cuts into the guy’s leg and tells him, “Do you know that such and such a nerve is located at this location in your leg, not to mention an important artery.  In medical school we learned that striking this nerve is the most painful experience one can inflict on a patient.”  A few grueling cuts later, Willis digs the scalpel into the guy’s leg, strikes that nerve, and cuts into the artery.  Blood gushes everywhere.  Fish starts panicking, tells Willis about some other goon that was with them, and then Willis ties a rope to the car jack.  As he walks away, he yanks on that rope, the jack gives way, and the car falls straight onto Fish’s head in a giant splat.  Blood flies everywhere, onto the walls, oozing down the floor, literally everywhere.  Willis then makes a little quip, and the entire movie theater starts laughing hysterically.

I feel like a killjoy, but was I the only one bothered by that extreme display of violence?  Do we really need all of that to tell a story?  At the very least, any sane person has to conclude that we’ve become desensitized to violence and other things that should otherwise bother us.

That’s when I realized, I’ve been disconnected from our culture for so long, living in my own world studying physics, reading, going to the gym, etc., that I’ve lost touch with what everyday people do with themselves.  My diet is nothing like most people’s.  I don’t watch the sort of television or movies that most people do.  I don’t do the sorts of activities most people do.  But what really concerns me is that I don’t think people realize the toxicity of the culture around them or how it’s affecting them.

It’s sort of like they’ve been living in the murky, disgusting waters for so long, they don’t remember life outside of it.  Or maybe they never have been outside of it.  I’m sure people will say, Jason, it’s just a movie, it’s not real!  But it is affecting you, in subtle ways over time.  I can’t even begin to guess in what ways, but I don’t believe any of it is good.  And just some other advice — stop eating fast food.  Stop eating at the restaurants.  Stop eating what most people eat, period.  Start buying good quality ingredients at the grocery store and cooking healthy meals for yourself.  A few years from now, when you’re slim and trim, feeling good, and full of energy, you’ll thank me.  Everyone around you may be obese and have health problems, but you don’t have to.  Take care of yourself.

I have a few more things to say.  These guys were planning to do more bro-nights and invited me to come.  They want to hang out and play video games.  And what video games are they playing?  Violent shooters, where you’re all thrown into a some small environment, killing each other, over and over, in bloody, violent competition.

Do you guys see the pattern yet?  Destroy your bodies.  Destroy nature.  Destroy the bad guys.  Consume your mind with death and destruction.  Death, death, and more death.  And then listen to violent, degrading music.  Flip on the radio and listen to this!  (This played in our car ride)

Consume, consume, consume!  Eat, eat, and eat!  Bigger, better, more shiny!  Compete, we gotta win! Turn on the news, and fear, fear, fear!  More death, more death, more death!  Rape, violence, murder!  Fear, fear, fear!

The song says “Something’s got to give”.  Yeah, you have to unplug.

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