A Laughing Matter

by Bob Sparrow

                                      “When you lose your power to laugh, you lose your power to think straight.”                                                                                                                                                                Inherit the Wind

I am not an immunologist or a doctor of any kind, I’m not a health worker of any kind either, and have really done nothing to help get us through this pandemic, except get my shots, which was mostly helping me.  So, I felt worthless in terms of my contribution to society, until I read Karine Bengualid’s article on Copyhackers about the power of laughter during the pandemic; I quote:

‘Humor offers certain emotional and mental benefits, such as establishing relationships, relieving anxiety, releasing anger in a socially acceptable way, decreasing depression and loneliness and increasing self-esteem, as well as physical benefits like increasing pain tolerance, improving respiration and breathing and exercising facial, abdominal and chest muscles, leading to reduced muscle tension.  Humor can undo physical effects of negative emotions like fear, anger or sadness’.

So, as my contribution to this whole ‘thing’ going on, I’m sharing what I think are humorous quotes and cartoons about the pandemic as well as some observations about life today.

  • A teardrop tattoo means you killed someone in prison, a toilet paper tattoo means you killed someone at Costco

 

  • Q: Did you get your two shots?                                                                                 A: Yes                                                                                                                                               Q:  Pfizer or Moderna?                                                                                                        A:  Whiskey & Tequila

Half of us . . .

  • Half of us are going to come out the pandemic as amazing cooks, the other half with a drinking problem. There is no in between
  • Half of us are going to use this time to focus on improving ourselves through meditation and getting into great shape, and half of us will have more ice cream after we finish the pizza and beer
  • Half of our recycling bins will return to normal use and half will still be overflowing with empty wine bottles
  • Regarding our bathroom habits, half will get back to normal and half will continue to horde toilet paper
  • Regarding our morning routine, half will get up, shower and go to work and half will wear a nice jacket and matching underwear to work
  • Half will go back to drinking Corona beer and half will never drink that beverage that caused this awful pandemic

Feeling better yet?

  • My husband purchased a world map and then gave me a dart and said, “Throw this and wherever it lands—that’s where I’m taking you when this pandemic ends.” Turns out, we’re spending two weeks behind the fridge.
  • After years of wanting to thoroughly clean my house but lacking the time, this year I discovered that wasn’t the reason.
  • Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well.
  • Being quarantined with a talkative child is like having an insane parrot glued to your shoulder
  • I finished Netflix today
  • Day 121 at home and the dog is looking at me like, “See? This is why I chew the furniture!”
  • 30 days hath September, April, June, and November, all the rest have 31, except for March which was infinite.

I’m putting a drink in every room in my house and calling it a pub crawl

Abort, abort abort! Re-route to 1999 when all we had to worry about was cheesy boy bands!

You know things are different when you work at a bank and two guys with masks come in, but they’re just robbing the place

Hope you got a few chuckles; it’s OK if you didn’t, I’m still going to feel like I contributed something to getting through the pandemic!

 

 

Keeping Sharp in a Numbing World

by Bob Sparrow

As we continue to wade through this era of ‘house arrest’, as a society we have become sedentary bingers.  We sit at home and binge on food, binge on drink, binge on computer time and binge-watch the latest Netflix series.  How is this affecting us physically and mentally?  Significantly!

While we here at From A Bird’s Eye View don’t pretend to have the panacea, we will pass along some information that might be helpful in keeping you physically and mentally sharp . . . or sharper.  Caveat: If you are not sharp to start with, reading this will not make you sharp.

The information herein comes from a book I recently finished entitled, Keep Sharp, by Sanjay Gupta, MD (brain surgeon).  It’s currently a ‘best seller’ so perhaps you’ve seen it or even read it (sorry for the redundancy here if you have).  It’s directed mostly at those of us older folks, who are concerned with dementia, but the principles of a healthy brain apply to all ages.  To be honest, there is a lot of scientific stuff in the book that can get a little tedious, but it helps frame what you should be doing, both mentally and physically to Keep Sharp.

The book first asks the question, “Are you at risk for brain decline?”  Gupta list 24 items that could make you at risk.  Here’s a few:

  • Are you over 65?
  • Do you sit most of the day?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you take meds for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol?
  • Do you have a smoking history?
  • Do you lack social engagement?
  • And of course, does Alzheimer’s disease run in your family?

Yep, I too found myself ‘at risk’.

He also lists a number of myths about the brain, among them:

  • Dementia is an inevitable consequence of old age
  • We use only 10% of our brains
  • A crossword puzzle a day keeps the doctor away

Here’s a brief summary of the five things Gupta suggests to keep your mind sharp no matter what your age:

  1. Move – improve your cardio, strength, flexibility, balance
  2. Discover – take a class, learn a language, play games, develop a strong sense of purpose
  3. Relax – sleep needs to remain constant throughout life (You don’t need less as you get older). Regarding sleep:
    1. sleep aids like Nyquil and ‘PM’ formulas are linked to higher chance of developing Alzheimer’s.
    2. stick to a schedule
    3. avoid long naps
    4. don’t be a night owl
    5. eliminate electronics before bed – computer/tablet/phone screens contain ‘blue wavelengths’ that suppress melatonin.
  4. Nourish – what’s good for the heart is good for the brain
    1. cut sugars
    2. hydrate
    3. eat fish/more Omega-3 Fatty Acids
    4. reduce portions
  5. Connect – Crosswords get a B- for their ability to boost brain function, connecting with others, face-to-face, in person, gets an A (Understand that we’ve had some restrictions in this regard).

Not in the book, but something that I’ve found good for brain health, is a download called Lumosity.  It is a series of games and challenges that help keep the brain sharp.  After completing a number of the challenges, you can see where your brain ranks with other people in your age group. The download is free, but the Premium package (recommended) is about $60 a year.

If this helps just one person become ‘sharper’, then I apologize to the rest of you for this waste of time.

How ever you do it – hope you all keep sharp!

 

Post Script: Not so much as a public service, but because I have nothing else to do, I’ve created a 6-page summary of the book, including all the ‘at risk’ categories, all the myths about the brain, more detail on the 5 categories for keeping sharp, including the Top 10 secrets of slumber, as well as more detail on diet and exercise.  If you’re not someone who will buy and read Keep Sharp, but would like this summary, just let me know in the comment section of this post and I will email it out to you.