4 Ways A Normal American Day Is Absolutely Bonkers To Others
In polite society, we call the weird things people do "quirks." We use this word because calling someone "fucking creepy" or "unfit to be around" is usually somewhat confrontational and you don't want to anger some of these people. People who pick their nose and play with it, people who eat mayonnaise on the bus, people who represent presidents and lie every time they open their mouths. There's a rich tapestry of weirdness. But there are some things everyone seems to do that, if we stopped to ask some friends from a faraway land about, they'd think we're all absolutely nuts.
Eating Junk Food
If I could sustain life on a diet of Pepsi, burritos, and Jack Daniels, I probably would. But I know that in real life, I'd survive probably a week doing that, so I only bust those things out on special occasions, like Wednesdays. In between, I'll enjoy the odd burger, Dr. Pepper, and monosodium glutamate smoothie as my whims dictate. Point is, I like consuming utter trash, as do most people. 50 million people per day order fast food in the U.S. alone. Per day! That's literally more than the population of Canada. And that doesn't include all the people who buy junk food at the grocery store and just eat it at home. Soda alone clocks in at 650 eight-ounce servings per capita per year, which is almost two a day for everyone in the country.
We joke about how shitty our diets are a lot; McDonald's is staple fodder for stand-up comedians lamenting how we all pretend we don't like it, and yet they serve a billion burgers a day, so someone must be eating it ... which, now that I think about it, basically makes McDonald's the Nickelback of food. And the sad part is, it's mostly just us. Sure, McDonald's sells billions per year, but the vast majority of it is eaten by Americans. One in four Americans eats at a fast food place every single day, ensuring a never-ending stream of fried potato shits and processed cheese sweats.
For reasons that can probably be best summed up by shrugging then turning on Netflix, the U.S. is way more tolerant of shitty food than other countries, down to a basic government policy level. Things like blue food dye are A-OK over here, and we'll readily slather that cerulean turd-batter on cereal and in drinks like it was the nectar of the sapphire gods. Several European countries ban it and numerous other additives we all enjoy for their circus-like curb appeal outright, because why the hell do you need to color your blueberry energy bar blue? Shouldn't it be blue already?
The craziest part about our terrible diet is that, as rich in resources as we are, with the ability to get fresh produce all year round, as well as grains and meat and exotic things that don't even grow on this side of the planet, Hostess still produces 500 million Twinkies per year. Meanwhile, one person in four in Sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished, and about 795 million people worldwide don't have enough food. Now, obviously we can't give them a bunch of oranges and canned tuna to balance the scales, but you can see how they'd look at the abundance we have, and then our insane willingness to skip over a nice tomato in favor of a cheese-stuffed sausage on a stick, and wonder what the fuck is wrong with us.
America produces around 220 million tons of trash per year, which is 4.3 lbs of waste per person every day, enough to fill 60,000 garbage trucks each and every day. That's a whole lot of fucktons of Snickers wrappers and empty lube bottles. The global average for waste is 2.6 lbs per day, meaning America is number one again in a field it probably doesn't want to be recognized for. Why so much trash? Ask the geniuses who individually wrap bananas at the grocery store. It's in its own fucking wrapper, man!
The counter to this is that we do recycle some stuff. We're up to a whopping 34.6 percent of waste being recycled, which is 1.5 lbs per day. Unfortunately, that's not super great compared to a lot of other countries -- like Italy, which is recycling cannoli at a rate of 36 percent, Germany, which repurposes bratwurst at 65 percent, and Sweden, which takes ... I dunno, hot blondes, and turns them into meatballs at a rate it claims is 99 percent, but has an asterisk on it since a lot of that trash just gets burned. But still, they're keeping that Nordic playground pretty spick and span compared to the average dumpster that seems to have vomited on the side of most roads in America.
Given the resources the U.S. has and the global issues with pollution, it seems a little batshit that we don't put more effort into recycling, but there are some people in this country who would stay in bed if you told them their house was on fire just to spite your nerdy fear of the elements. Getting everyone on board with recycling isn't going to be easy. But when you contrast all the shit we toss out, from food waste that could be composted to food waste that just gets thrown out not because it's bad but because it's not pretty, with the places in the world where they can't throw trash out because they have nothing in the first place, we seem kind of like callous pig-people, possibly from that awesome Twilight Zone episode.
And that's not to say anyone needs to feel bad because they were lucky enough to be born in or move to a place like America, which has a hell of a lot of stuff to go around. It's just to give some perspective on what an ass-backward world we live in sometimes, where one person can buy a new model of car every year, while another person needs to plow their dirt farm with the same three-legged mule for 15 years straight.
How much do you love meth? Be honest, I won't tell anyone. If statistics are to be believed, more than a few of you probably put meth in your cereal, because that shit is delightful. Between 2000 and 2010, America spent about one trillion dollars on illegal drugs, or a modest $100 billion every year. Nearly one in five Americans between 16 and 64 used an illegal drug in 2013. Now, a lot of that was probably pot, but one in 20 was illegal opioids, so we're still enjoying some of the hard shit.
America leads the world in illicit drug use, nearly 5 percent ahead of Australia and Spain and 6 percent ahead of Canadians, who have to use cocaine just to survive their winters and smoke pot to freshen a room when Febreze is unavailable.
Turns out the U.S. also spends about $50 billion a year fighting the war on drugs, meaning the entire drug industry is a money pit that we're throwing our cash into before adding a flaming turd strapped to a tank of gasoline. $50 billion is higher than the GDP of 109 countries in the world, including Croatia, Lithuania, and Iceland. Poor, innocent Iceland! That's a lot of PSAs about cracking eggs and brains and shit.
If we take a hop, skip, and a jump over to Portugal and look at their drug problem, you'll see something stunning. Portugal has three drug overdose deaths per one million citizens. In 2014, America had 14.7 deaths per 100,000, which is 49 times higher. Oh, and Portugal decriminalized drug use years ago. Now, if you get caught with more than a 10-day supply of any substance, you may be subject to a fine or referral to a treatment program (or you have to at least share your stash with the cop who catches you while you both discuss how crazy DuckTales was). Overall drug use seems to have slightly increased after the change in laws, but deaths and complications dropped like a stone, and fewer new drug users seem to be picking up the habit. It's almost like people realized drugs are bad, mmmkay?
On the other end of the spectrum is Sweden, which has very harsh drug laws. Nearly half of all criminal offences are drug offences, and if you are even suspected of being high, you can be forced to take a urine test and stand trial. Just imagine a cop talking like the Swedish chef coming after you for smoking a bowl, all "Yoomy yoomy, der weed ist der illegal!" Ha ... classic.
But the result is that Sweden has the lowest rate of drug use in Europe, since everyone is scared shitless of even smelling some weed on their meatballs (making this my second jab at Swedish meatballs in this article. I thank you for your patronage). Only 9 percent of students in Sweden have tried weed, compared to nearly 40 percent in countries like France, and they took the American approach to the War on Drugs and went crazy with it. But it seems to have worked.
Now, you can debate what social situations lead to drug use in Portugal and Sweden in the first place and what support systems they have set up that help maintain this current level of low drug use, but the point is drug use may be prevalent everywhere, but it's super prevalent in the U.S., and it's not because we flavor our crack with peanut butter, which I know firsthand and am still miffed about. So forget weed altogether -- no one dies from that -- and just focus on things like prescription opioid abuse, heroin, cocaine, and whatever else it is that's killing tens of thousands of Americans per year and nowhere near as many people anywhere else. The only reason I can come up with? We really love getting totally fucked up.
While toilet paper is a fairly modern invention (at least the commercially available kind), wiping your ass on paper in general dates back to the Middle Ages. And before that, mankind literally used whatever fit in their ass -- rags, grass, moss, sponges, fruit peels, ceramic, stones, or just a smooth, bare hand when all else failed. Wiping your ass is as old as ass itself. It's also sack-of-ass-wipe-stones stupid, when you consider it. Aside from softening a piece of broken ceramic into a quilted, two-ply piece of Charmin we haven't evolved much when it comes to crack sluice technology. We landed on the moon in the 1960s, yet still are unable to keep our own hands out of our dirty asses. You call that progress?
The invention of the bidet is probably the most reasonable thing mankind has ever come up with, yet North America is really resistant to adopting the technology, as though we feel a squirt of water on the ass is weird. That's weird. No, let me just bundle up a handful of easy-tear tissue and use it to smear feces around the hole it came out of until my ass isn't clean in any medically sound sense of the word, but I'm mostly assured that I won't leave tiny skid marks wherever I sit. If your face was as clean as your ass gets when you wipe it, no one would ever kiss you again. Or some people would, but they're the sort of people you don't want near your face. Your shitty, unclean face.
There's a reason we have to toilet train children at a young age, and it's not that we want them to avoid a life of pants-shitting. It's because if the kid got old enough to think rationally, they'd laugh with scorn at your foolish ass-wiping suggestion. Look at it from the kid's perspective -- if they touch a bug, you make them go wash their hands with soap and water. But when Taco Tuesday turns into Woeful Wednesday, you expect the poor kid to just jigger a handful of tissue against their turd cutter and call it a day. "Go on, Junior, polish that pucker!"
If you wash your face and wash your hands, you should absolutely wash your ass. Dogs have the benefit of running free with no ass cheeks, letting their turds rocket from the crypt like guided stink missiles, and even they leave some residue behind that makes you think twice about letting Rover on the sofa. How is your turd eking out from between a pair of sweaty compression pillows a more ideal situation? It's not. Face it, ass-wiping is weird and archaic. Long live the butt spritz.
Lest you think this is just the rantings of one disaffected ass wiper, know that upwards of 75 percent of all mankind is paperless and 60 percent don't even have access to toilets. Ass-wiping is in the minority. About four billion people just don't do it, and probably think the rest of us are silly asses for even suggesting it.
Bidets are actually super easy to install, check this one out.
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