Saturday, August 31, 2013

Barberphobia: An irrational fear of haircuts and Barbarians.

I got a haircut today. (In case you care) I realized that I have an irrational fear of barbershops. I looked on the internet to see what the name for the fear of barbershops is. It turns out that there's actually no such thing as a fear of barbershops, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have it. The closest I found was Chaetophobia, which is the fear of hair, and I don’t think I have that. I would coin the phrase “Barberphobia” but the word barber, is derived from the Latin word for beard and the Romans, who originally spoke Latin and were a clean shaven people came up with the word for beard from the word “Barbarian” which means “bearded people.” Ironically, they chose to name them "bearded people" instead of "people who ruined our country by pillaging our cities." They obviously thought the beard was the most prominent trait. So, “barberphobia” would mean the fear of barbarians, and that wouldn’t make sense because I’m pretty sure everybody would be scared of Barbarians. Especially Italian people like me whose DNA is telling them that Barbarians aren’t to be trusted because they toppled the Roman Empire. However, despite the historical inaccuracies of the phrase, let's say "barbarphobia" means fear of barbers.

It's the beards that makes them scary.

My fear of barbershops is probably closest to Aphenphosmphobia, which is another word I looked up on the internet that means the fear of physical contact. And barbers are always touching your head. Then they expect you to talk to them while they touch your head. I find it hard to speak to people when they’re touching my head because I barely touch my own head. I wash my hair in the morning and sometimes I rub my head when I’m thinking and that’s it. And I realize that it must be awkward to touch strangers’ heads all day so this is why they're trying to get to know me. It probably makes them feel better about touching someone's head when they feel they know the person a little. But it still doesn’t help me out because I don’t usually engage in casual conversation while strangers are touching my head.

However, I think the barbershop conversation is very important. Because the barber can make you look like any person he wants you to be. So I think that the barber is trying to see what kind of person you are and then then they give you the haircut to match personality. If you seem depressed, he's going to give you that "Emo" haircut with the stupid bangs over your eyes. Or if you accidentally say something racist, he'll make you a skinheadThis was an actual thought that was in my brain! This is probably where my fear of barbers ultimately comes from. I actually believe that the kind of haircut I receive is based on the barber's perception of what my personality is. I actually found myself thinking, "Don't bring up how much you like Apple because if he likes Windows he'll make you look like Bill Gates out of spite."

So when you see me with my new haircut and I look like a socially awkward neurotic person with barberphobia you'll know the reason why.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pavlov, Brain Chess, and Oreos

Ivan Petrovich Pavlov was a famous Russian psychologist.  Pavlov is best known for his experiments with dogs. In these experiments, he would ring a bell every time he fed the dogs and he would measure their saliva. He found out after a while that the dogs would start salivating just when they heard the bell.

IT may seem farfetched that this could happen to humans, but it’s true, because it happens to me. Let me explain:

A lot of my friends are getting married right now, and whenever I get there wedding invitation I put it on my fridge. And I’ve noticed that whenever I see these friends outside my house I get really hungry. And you know that blank stare that you have when you look in the fridge because you’re deep in thought about the meaning of life and whether or not that casserole is still good? That’s the face that I get when I see my married friends. I look at them deeply and go, “How’s life? Do you have a burrito?”

And when you go to the reception the “food-marriage” connection is further reinforced in your mind; because over here are people getting married, and over here are some brownies.


"You will get married. Here's a cookie."

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know if that empty feeling inside me is hunger or loneliness. And every time I eat a brownie, I realize how alone I am.

So, I started keeping the wedding invitations in my car. But this made matters worse because I would get road rage while waiting in the line at the reception. “MOVE IT ALONG! WHAT’S THE HOLD-UP?!?  THEY GOT MARRIED? WHO CARES? I’VE GOT AN APPOINTMENT I’VE GOT TO GET TO!”

I thought I could use this impulse for something good, and I started putting the wedding invitations on my treadmill. But every time I go to the weddings now I just throw dirty laundry on top of the groom.

So as you can imagine by what I just said, I don’t date that often. And I've learned how to do things by yourself. Have you ever played chess by yourself? Because I have. I’ll tell you what got me started playing chess by myself. At my high school there were tryouts for the chess team. So, there were people who would try out for the chess team and not make it. This meant that in the popularity rankings  of my high school, there were people lower than the chess team. The social ladder was all the other groups on top, then the chess team, then the people who didn’t make the chess team. I was one of those people. I didn’t even have people to play chess with.

Playing chess with yourself is weird because you have to decide who wins. So you have to split your personality into two different parts to play against themselves. And you choose different characteristics of yourself for the different colors. For example, white will be “my sensitive side and the part of me that has no self control” versus black which is “ the part of me that finds fault in others.” And I have to decide who I’m rooting for at all times. And I have to make justifications for making moves in the game, “He eats too many Oreos so you should take his Rook!” and the white part is going “ He knows I’m sensitive about the amount of Oreos I eat! What a jerk! Let’s take his Queen!”

And in a game of chess by yourself there is never a winner. All you end up doing is finding more and more faults with yourself, and eating way too many Oreos; because those are white and black at the same time.

Oreos slogan should be: "Milk's favorite metaphor"

Monday, August 12, 2013

Subway: Live fresh!

In honor of August, the month where Subway is offering the best sub on the menu, the buffalo chicken sub for $6, I’ve decided to tell you why Subway is the happiest place on earth.

I think that the way Subway is set up instills good attributes in you.

The subs at Subway are so good because if they’re not, it’s basically your own fault. You chose all your own toppings. If my sub isn’t good, I take accountability for it. “I shouldn’t have asked for the extra pickles. That’s on me.” Outside of Subway, nothing is my fault. If I cut someone off while I’m driving and they honk at me, that person is the idiot. But inside Subway, I am the captain of my sub, I am the master of my soul.

At Subway they have the Subway card. In case you aren’t familiar, you get one point for every dollar you spend. After 75 points you get a free foot long. Granted, that’s a ridiculous amount of money to spend for a free sub, but there’s a part of me that’s proud that I’m working towards a goal. And there’s a certain sense of accomplishment you feel when you cash in your $75 dollars worth of points for that foot long. You had an objective and you accomplished it!  Kudos to you! Even if it meant you had to down 15 meatball heroes to do it.

These are all character traits I can’t achieve outside of Subway, but when I’m in that building I’m awesome! For example, if you asked me to donate a kidney outside of Subway, I’d think you were crazy. But if you asked me while I was in a Subway, I would probably tell you yes. Because when you donate an organ I could be doing one thing, and a small part of me would be doing another thing. I would be multitasking all the time! And that’s another thing I’m terrible at outside of Subway.