For more about Allison and her books visit her website at For now, please relax and brace yourself for the occasionally coherent ramblings of Allison's mind.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Common Practices That Really Make No Logical Sense

As I came into the house exhausted, sweaty, and sore, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Why exactly do we spend countless hours and expense maintaining lawns anyway?” Then I thought, “Wait, why do we do a lot of the things we do?” Which leads to today’s controversial list bound to offend someone. I preemptively apologize, but here are,

Common Practices That Really Make No Logical Sense

1: Maintaining a green lawn.

City dwellers, feel free to tune out for this one. Suburbanites, this one’s for you. The next time you spend two hours of a beautiful day pushing an obnoxious, gas-guzzling, dangerous machine around your yard in an obsessive pattern, think about what you’re actually doing. Here’s what a lawn is:

  1. We purposely cover our property with millions of plain green plants. Some people spend a significant amount of time and money fertilizing and watering these plants to help them grow thicker and faster.
  2. Every week we pour time and money into fuel and machines to shred these plants.
  3. We wait for them to grow again so we can shred them again.
  4. Repeat for the duration of the growing season.
  5. In the fall we spend days and significant labor removing leaves from these plants so they look nice again the following spring…when we will shred them again.

2: Bottled Water.

We pay how much and create how much permanent waste to drink some chemically flavored liquid we could get out of the tap for almost nothing?

3: Our fear of sugar.

I’ll admit that this is just a personal issue and many will disagree with me on this one. I understand we’re all worried about our weight. And who knows, maybe completely removing sugar from our diets is the answer (although based on all available evidence, it doesn’t seem to be making a dent in our obesity issues.) Having said that, this nationwide fear of sugar is making it difficult for those of us who can’t consume the chemicals and artificial sweeteners which have taken over.

Before you think I’m nitpicking, here’s some background. I get migraines. Bad ones. Anyone who gets migraines will tell you they’re not just headaches. Your brain actually undergoes measurable changes in the midst of a migraine.

Mine come with obvious stroke systems including blind spots, slurred speech, loss of feeling throughout my body, vomiting, and disorientation. My first one sent me to the hospital in an ambulance because witnesses around me thought I was having a stroke and I couldn’t remember my name.

Let’s just say I try to avoid my migraines at all costs.

Each migraine sufferer is unique in what “triggers” set off their events. Eight years later after my surprise trip to the hospital and CT Scan, I’m still trying to sort out my triggers. Once you can identify your triggers, you can at least try to mitigate the debilitating reactions by avoiding those things that set them off. So far I’ve only been able to identify one trigger with any certainty: artificial sweeteners.

After doing some research I learned I’m not alone. Artificial sweeteners are actually common triggers for migraines and even cause headaches in non-migraine sufferers. If something can cause my body to react as described above, I think I’d rather have the few extra calories from sugar which humans have been consuming safely for centuries.

I now have to scour labels for the opposite reason of the calorie conscious masses: to make sure there are no artificial sweeteners. You’d be surprised how many products are increasingly afraid to use sugar these days and have made the switch to substances that will completely shut me down for hours.

And please, obviously I understand there are many people who can’t have sugar. I’m not talking about diabetics or others who have legitimate reasons to make substitutions. I’m talking about the general cultural shift that turned sugar into a poison. That fear is now collectively trying to replace it with something that is actually a poison for many people. I’m also not saying we shouldn’t limit our sugar intake. Too much of anything isn’t a good thing, but let’s stop mistaking quantity issues for food enemies. It’s all about moderation for most of us.

Ok, enough of #3 before I get myself in more trouble with all the diet soda drinkers out there who are now seething.

4. The Ubiquitous Growth of Storage Units.

We pay money, every month, for the privilege of not using or seeing our stuff.

5. Outlet Malls

We all know, or at least suspect, that the prices really aren’t any better than you could get online or at the regular store. Either that, or the merchandise is manufactured specifically for the outlet version of the store and not of the same quality. We know that, we’re not dumb. Yet, we still drive farther than we should and spend a lot more than we planned on stuff we don’t necessarily love, but seemed like a good deal because it came from an “outlet.” We’ve all done it.

Now we’re paying even more money to put that stuff in storage units.

And that, my friends, is what’s going through my head while mowing my lawn. That, and, “Please don't let me run over a toad again. Please don't let me run over a toad again.”


  1. I too was rushed to a doctor thinking I was having a stroke when I had my first migraine. It was the scariest moment of my life. I have lots of them, but haven't identified my triggers. They're so scary.

  2. They sure are! Especially the first one when you have no idea what's going on. You just think you're dying. Sorry to hear you get them too. At least you can identify with why we try to avoid them at all costs. There's some good information on about migraines and triggers. I learned a lot of helpful tips!