Mint condition

You know how some people can’t stand cilantro and say that it tastes like soap? There’s actually a reason for that (you can read about it here). I, however, love cilantro. It’s right up there in my “Best Herbs” Top 5, coming in at number 2 behind basil. What’s at the dead bottom of my list is mint. Just like some people feel like they’re dining on Dove body wash when they eat cilantro, I feel like I’m chowing down on a tube of Colgate when I eat mint. Zest to them; Crest to me.

When I reveal this to people, I am always met with a combination of incredulity and pity. “Not even Thin Mints?!” they ask. I gather Thin Mints are the pinnacle of minty goodness. I wouldn’t know. To me, it’s like eating a chocolate cookie doused with copious amounts of mouthwash.

I have no idea if there’s a scientific reason for this. I suspect there’s perhaps a genetic component, though, because my mom hates mint, too. Or maybe it’s just that we’re both weird.

What food do you hate that everyone else likes?

Me, that's who.

Me, that’s who.



I don’t have a clever title for this one

Because I have written about my depression before, I felt like I should say something about Robin Williams’ death. Honestly, though, I feel bombarded by all the media surrounding him right now, and it’s kind of left me in a sad, emotional, weird place. I think writing about it will only trigger my own depression.

I will say, though, that I am angry at people like Rush Limbaugh, Shepard Smith, and random Facebook posters who believe Williams was unhappy because of his political views or that he was a coward or that the only cure for depression is to accept Jesus Christ. I wrote about this very thing a few months ago and you can read it here.

If you are struggling with depression, please reach out. Even though depression will tell you that no one cares or you are not worth saving or this is just the way things are, don’t believe it. Text a friend, contact your therapist (or find a therapist), go to this website to chat with someone who can help, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you know someone you suspect is depressed, check on them. It may seem intrusive or awkward, but I guarantee they will be grateful for your concern.

I’ll leave you with this because I think we could all do with a few minutes of happy right now:

C’mon, get happy

My therapist recently suggested that I create a playlist of songs that make me happy so that I could listen to it when I’m feeling anxious or depressed. She asked me to think about music I like. The first artist that came to mind was Neko Case. But with lyrics like “My true love died in a dirty old pan of oil/That did run from a block/Of a Falcon Sedan 1969” and “Carved your name across three counties/Ground it in with bloody hides/Their broken necks will line the ditch,” her songs are maybe not the best example of happy music. So I thought a bit more and came up with Aimee Mann (“Life just kind of empties out/Less a deluge than a drought”). Nope. Sleater-Kinney (“My falling shape will draw a line/Between the blue of sea and sky”). Uh-uh. Clearly, these are not artists known for their catalog of feel-good ditties.

When I couldn’t come up with anything that I was willing to say out loud, my therapist told me that a lot of her clients liked show tunes, which made me wonder if she treated a lot of gay men but didn’t give me anything to work with. I’m just not a fan of musicals. Finally, I told her I liked the Beastie Boys. I don’t think she knew what to make of that, and I suspect she wrote in her notes, “Shannon is so depressed and/or unintelligent she can’t even recognize happy music.”

On the drive home, I tried to think of songs rather than bands. I considered and quickly rejected a whole slew of songs, the most uplifting of which was “Ode to Billie Joe.” I don’t know if I was just confusing “good songs” with “happy songs” or if my taste in music is an indication of severe depression.

When I got home, I Googled “Feel good music,” and got songs like “Walking on Sunshine,” “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” and, of course, the ubiquitous “Happy.” Sorry, but that’s just not my groove. I looked at my iPod to see if I had any music that didn’t involve death, destruction, or despair. The Beatles. Okay, that works. They Might Be Giants. Of course. Barenaked Ladies. Now we’re getting somewhere!

I was finally able to come up with a playlist of songs that are perhaps not as peppy as “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,” but they make me happy. Here’s a little sample of what’s on my playlist, which I had intended to share on Spotify, but because I’m technologically impaired I cannot figure the hell out how to make happen. I’ll keep working on that, but in the meantime, tell me: What songs make you happy?