I was bemoaning lack of anything to write about to my daughter — she just happened to be in the room (within bemoaning distance) — and she said, “Why don’t you write about your guilty pleasures? Like, make a list.” Hmmm.. a listicle? I haven’t done a listicle in a while, have I? Sure, why not, at least a short list.
A guilty pleasure, by its very definition, is one that you are not proud of, but love nevertheless, like watching the Kardashians or reading the Fifty Shades trilogy. It is never permanently harmful, like doing heroin or eating daily spoonfuls of butter, but rather a trivial addiction that neither betters nor worsens your life.
For example, I love paper maps, especially of far-away (from me) places. Because landscapes change so rapidly now, a paper map is nearly useless as soon as it is released. Yet I truly enjoy putting my finger on the dot that represents, say, the town of Waterford, Ireland, and tracing a large road (a highway?) N9 upward, past Luceswell, past Ballyhale where N9 continues more northwesterly but N10 continues on northward towards the town of Kilkenny. I’m not sure this fits the definition of guilty pleasure — there’s not a lot of guilt involved in traveling on obsolete maps, but there is definite pleasure.
I love magazines, and this is trending toward the guilty zone. I know I’m not the only one — in a world where Kindles and Nooks dominate, there are still tons of actual paper magazines, specializing in everything, from cooking to travel and entertainment, from men’s and women’s health to knitting and architectural design. And yet… and yet… even as I hold a magazine in my hands that is at least 5 years old, I love everything about it, the glossy advertising and helpful advice of cleaning up after your pet and how to entertain on a budget from your tiny apartment. The only reason I am not currently navigating through narrow corridors carved between mountainous stacks of newspapers and magazines is that I live with an actual sane person who gently steers me away from such behavior.
One of the greatest pleasures of my life is to read and eat at the same time, but I just can’t feel guilty about it, even though I am told I should. This is the second rule every dietician insists is horrible — distracted eating while reading, watching TV, playing games on the computer — the first rule being drink a lot of water. More. Drink a little more water after you drink the water. OK, now top it off with a titch more water. But, if you are reading (or watching TV), you have no idea of how much you’ve eaten, nor enjoyed the food as much as if you did not do another activity while eating. To this I say — balls to you! How about this — I pre-measure what I put on my plate, and not throw a feedbag over my face? Say, I have some shrimp, a portion of rice, a salad, and put the rest of the food away, then sit down and, placing a book to one side, with a book sap so I don’t have to hold it down, slowly eat while reading. This way, I would have eaten a regular portion of food, and still enjoyed my read. This is one thing I am fairly uncompromising on. Perhaps I am wrong here, but I will not change my eating and reading behavior. I’m not proud of my unwillingness to change, but I have put my foot down. Good day to you, sir! I said, good day!
Now we come to TV guides — a particular magazine for a particular purpose. I love them! I absolutely love TV, and I don’t actually need TV guides, but I have been a bit obsessed with them since I was a teenager, cutting out pictures of Telly Savalas (I never said I was a normal teen-ager), and Starsky and Hutch. I love reading about new shows that are planned, and actors (I don’t actually respect a lot of actors, but I never mind looking at them. It’s not like I actually want to meet most of them, but so many of them are a pretty bunch.). It competes me. But what a waste of paper and absolute non-essential yet trivial information! This is my true guilty pleasure. As a subset of this, I tend to collect Sunday newspaper comics, but it takes me a while to get to them. Just today, I read comics from a 2016 newspaper. Oh, that silly Marmaduke!
I should also mention my weakness for officer supplies — pens and notebooks and sticky notes and little plastic flag tabs. I love them, I have many drawers saturated with all of those things. I have absolutely no need to ever buy another pen in my lifetime — yet I still do, from time to time. Bad hoarding habit or guilty pleasure — sometimes the line is razor thin.
If you are willing to share, please comment on your own guilty pleasures, because I would love to hear them. Until then, see you in the funny pages.