Monday, June 28, 2010

Quirks: "Seafood Aversion"

This blog entry marks the third in a series called "Quirks." I've often thought about how I have some strange and unique personality traits that I spent a lot of time and energy trying to hide while growing up. Now that I'm older, I'm realizing my quirks are just part of what make me, me. And who knows?...maybe others can relate to some of these. So, rather than hiding my quirks, as I've done in the past, I figured I'd go the complete opposite route and just bring them to light.

Today's quirk: "Seafood Aversion"

Some may say that an aversion falls more appropriately under personal taste, rather than a quirk -- and that may be true -- but let me explain just how deep my aversion to seafood runs.

When I tell people that I don't eat seafood, I am almost always met with the typical response of, "Yeah, I'm not much for seafood either; just fish, clams, and oysters." I then usually choose to re-emphasize my previous statement: "I don't eat ANY seafood." Often times, this is met with a retort of "Right, I hear you. But you like crab and shrimp, I'm sure?"

At this point, my brow is furrowed. "What part of 'I don't eat ANY seafood' are you failing to comprehend?!"

"Any?"

"ANY!!!"

"None?"

"Now you're getting it!"

I'm not sure why, but most people just can't handle the fact that someone who does in fact eat meat, like myself, doesn't also eat any kind of seafood. I don't choose to not eat seafood for any religious or ethical reasons. I just don't freaking like it.

So how did this come about? Truthfully, I'm not really sure. The weird reality is that I've eaten most kinds of seafood before, so contrary to popular belief, I do have a clear understanding of what seafood tastes like. I used to love fish, especially tuna, and I've tried lobster, and various other kinds of seafood. My parents also tell me that when I was a baby, I stuffed my face with shrimp.

So why the sudden repulsion?

I think somewhere along the lines, the smell of seafood just started to gross me out, and the taste followed right along with that sentiment. To this day, I still remember the last tuna fish sandwich that I ever ate. I think I was around 8 or 9. I stopped eating my sandwich half way through, put it down on the plate, and never wanted another one. Ever.

And as for the argument that I've "mentally decided" I don't like seafood and therefore my body won't let me, this has also been proven false. On more than one occasion, I have unintentionally put shrimp or a piece of fish in my mouth, only to spit it out in disgust upon tasting it.

So how deep does my seafood aversion run today? Let's see.
  • Well for starters, if seafood happens to be put on my plate, I usually cannot eat whatever else is on the plate, as the smell is just too much for me.

  • If seafood gets put on my plate and happens to touch what I was planning to eat, then forget it. That's right out! (Side note: to avoid being extremely rude at a friend's house last year, I mentally psyched myself up enough to pick through rice that had shrimp in it -- I somehow got through it while chugging massive amounts of iced tea in the process).

  • If my wife eats any kind of seafood, I ask her -- before she comes near me -- to wash her hands and the outside of her mouth with soap, gargle with mouthwash, and brush her teeth.

  • To me, the scariest part of the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway, was not the plane crash or the thought of being separated from loved ones, but being forced to eat practically nothing but fish and crab for four years.

So is this sounding a little more like a quirk now? I thought so. Overall, my seafood aversion hasn't posed too much of a life nuisance, as I simply just avoid eating it. And thankfully, I have company in this area, as my mother is exactly the same way. In fact, if she and I were ever stranded on a deserted island as the sole survivors of a plane crash, we'd have a tough time deciding who gets to eat Wilson.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Disneyland

Last weekend, I performed at a gig to help raise money for my wife and I to adopt a baby. One of the songs I did was an original that I wrote called "Disneyland." I received some positive feedback on it, so I thought I'd share the inspiration behind the song's development.

For some time, I've been growing increasingly more and more convicted about how we in the United States go to sleep and wake up everyday in "Disneyland." Our worst day is still better than that of 97% of the rest of the world. By and large, we are spoiled beyond belief and live for the next meal, next fix, next high. We claim to be super busy but refuse to acknowledge the needs of anyone else. While millions of kids starve to death every day, we flip out if a restaurant screws up a food order that will only serve to grow our increasingly expanding bellies. We'll spend recklessly on many frivilous things, but if asked to share our excess with the poor and needy, we cry poverty.

As Christians -- of whom I am one -- we've completely turned our backs on Jesus' call to love our neighbors, love and pray for our enemies, and help the poor. Catch slogans are our religion, consumerism is our god, and political victories that further alienate others are our end.

I could not be more guilty of these crimes if I tried.

Disneyland
© 2010 Alan Atchison


Woke up this morning and hit the snooze,
had my choice of fifteen pairs of shoes.
The coffee's hot and the house is warm,
and my brand new car drives like a charm.

Just another day, when everything goes my way.
This is just how I'd like to stay; in Disneyland.

The bills just keep on piling up,
in debt so bad I want to just give up.
The baby's crying and the wife's a nag,
and the dog just puked in my duffel bag.

Just another day, when nothing goes my way.
But thank God I work and live and play in Disneyland.

I go to church every single week,
but I don't care to turn the other cheek.
Looking out for number one, to be sure,
so why should I give a damn about the poor?

Just another day when black and white turns gray,
now please just get out of my way...
Just another day I look into the mirror and I pray,
to Jesus of the USA; my Disneyland.