Of Gravity Waves, Diets, Planetary Orbits, Psychological Theories, and Misery


Egypt's largest city, at night
Cairo: Egypt’s capital, the largest city in Africa, and our first married home
(Wikimedia Commons public domain)


I can’t imagine that every psychologist will be happy with this brief article:


“The Six Stages of a Failed Psychological Theory”




Many people will be quite happy, though, with this article, the slightly off-color title of which I’ve chosen not to reproduce here.  I’m not altogether sure that I am, though.


I would be delighted, of course, if decreased teenage sexual activity were coming as the result of a moral renaissance or a rebirth of responsible behavior.  And maybe it is.  But if, as I rather suspect, it reflects nothing more nor better than a general retreat of young people into personal-electronic-device-fueled isolation and solipsism, it may be little beyond a positive side effect of something that isn’t at all to be celebrated.




On a much more cosmic scale:


“Mystery Solved? Gravity Waves Behind Jupiter’s Weird Switching Jet Stream”




And this, from The Onion:


“Earth’s Successful Completion Of Orbit Around Sun Inspires Woman To Reflect On Eating Habits”




But back down fully to Planet Earth:


“This 450-year-old mummy contains the oldest evidence of hepatitis B: It’s a new diagnosis for a centuries-old mummy that scientists once thought had died of smallpox”


I feel a certain kinship with this mummy, and not merely because we’re approximate contemporaries who may well have known each other socially.


I contracted hepatitis A while living in Egypt many years ago, and it was a real learning experience.


I had long thought that it might be fun to come down with a serious but not life-threatening disease that would give me an excuse to lie about and do nothing.  But actually doing so turned out to be not nearly as fun as I had imagined it to be.


We were house-sitting for a wealthy family in Egypt when I began to feel worse and worse and worse.  It was over the Christmas holiday, and I had decided that I would celebrate by reading a light potboiler novel that they had.  But I recall sitting in their overstuffed chair with the novel by my right hand, thinking that, in just a minute, I would pick it up and begin to read it.  I had never felt so utterly without energy.


So we watched the science-fiction movie Alien on their video player (the first such machine I had ever seen).  When a newborn creature that (unbeknownst to the crew and the audience) had been gestating within Executive Officer Kane (John Hurt) suddenly burst from his chest, killing him, I remember turning to my wife and saying “That’s it.  That’s what I’ve got.”


I was unofficially diagnosed at a Cairo branch Christmas party when the branch president’s wife, having watched me sitting morosely in a corner, asked me about my symptoms.  “You have hepatitis!” she exclaimed, cheerily.


It was awful.  My eyes eventually turned yellow and hypersensitive to light, I could barely summon up the ambition to move, and I spent a month or two pretty much confined to our bedroom with the shades drawn, miserable and even unable to read.  I thought that I would go mad.  (Afterwards, on my first excursion outside of our apartment, my wife and I walked slowly about half a block down the street.  I was so exhausted by then that she had to support me on our return journey.)  The Egyptian doctor that we had ordered me to consume vast quantities of soft drinks and hard candies in order to keep my blood sugar up.  I still hate them both.


Anyway, here’s the voice of experience:  I don’t recommend hepatitis to anybody.  It wasn’t nearly as entertaining as I had anticipated.



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