Monday, January 28, 2013

Trash TV, Terrible Addictions, and Terrifying Realizations

Yeah, yeah I know I'm obsessed with alliterations; one might even say I'm addicted to them which leads me into the topic for today: terrible addictions. On the way to work today I was listening to my usual DC 101, Elliot in the Morning and they were talking about the show on TLC "My Strange Addiction." For any of you that haven't seen or even heard about the show (picture to the left) it's exactly what it sounds like. It's a show that follows around people that have strange addictions. So yes, it's trash tv at its finest; a show the exploits people's addictions for the entertainment value. That in itself I have a problem with but I can address that at a later time.

Today they were talking about an episode where a woman is addicted to eating cat hair. Yes you read correctly: EATING CAT HAIR. Talk about vomit inducing. I won't get into the particulars because I might start gagging but basically this woman de-stresses by chewing on and eating her cat's hair. The thought of this makes my skin crawl but then I remembered about a problem that I had when I was younger: chewing on my hair.

I wasn't addicted to it but when I was nervous I would twirl my hair around in my fingers and also chew on it. This went on from the age of 12 until about the age of 15. It wasn't an every day occurrence, it was just a nervous problem I had that was actually extremely bad for my health. My mom would yell at me all the time to stop doing it so I did, around her anyways. I continued to do it at school and when I thought she wasn't looking. So you're probably wondering what broke me of this habit and I have an answer which leads us to the last part of the title: terrifying realizations.

Junior year of high school I took an anatomy class and it was by far one of my favorite classes in high school (next to Mythology and Law of course). We spent the entire class dissecting these cats for each part of the body that we learned about. We also learned a lot about bones and our final exam was to put a skeleton back together (hence where my love for forensic anthropology started). Those parts of the class were great but the part that sticks out in my head the most is our trip to the Walter Reed Medical Museum.

Now I know you're wondering what the hell this has to do with chewing my hair, but be patient we're almost there. See this museum had some awesome medical exhibits. They had organs that were plasticized that we could play with, giant models of the heart and lungs that we could walk through, and exhibits on medical mysteries. All of that was great but the exhibit that was the most intriguing was the "Weird Medical Conditions" exhibit. It was an entire exhibit on strange body part inflicted with elephantiasis, people with extra limbs, and then there was the thing that cured me of my hair chewing: a giant hairball in the shape of a stomach.

Turns out there was a woman about 30 years ago who suddenly died of unexplained causes. Upon her autopsy they opened her up to find that her stomach was completely stuffed with hair which ultimately lead to her demise. Needless to say after seeing that I NEVER chewed on my hair again.


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