The Atomic Dog is a weekly feature that isn't necessarily about weight training or bodybuilding. Sometimes it's about sports in general, sex, women, or male issues of some kind. At times it's inspirational, but it can also be informative, funny, and even a little weird, but hopefully, always interesting and a little controversial. We hope it reflects the nature of Testosterone magazine in that, just as no man is completely one-dimensional and only interested in one subject, neither are we. If it makes you think or laugh or even get angry it's served its purpose.
There is a sound that haunts the people who live on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya.
It is not the roar of Numa the lion, nor is it the hiss of Histah the snake.
Instead, it is a man-made sound:
It is the sound of bags of shit flying through the air and hitting the corrugated metal roofs of their sheds.
That's right, bags of shit, or as they've become known in Kenya, "flying toilets." The problem is that in an area populated by roughly 2,000 people, there are only 5 conventional, sit-down, closed-door toilets, and they're pay toilets at that.
So, rather than wait in a line of what's often a hundred people, with or without newspapers in their hands, most simply go outside, shit on a piece of polythene paper, wrap it up, and chuck it as far as they can. Given the density of the sheds the people live in, the odds of one hitting your roof or landing right outside your door are pretty high.
The chance that one of these 3rd-world FedEx packages will land on your head probably isn't quite as high, but that doesn't mean residents don't walk around with at least one cautious eye scanning the sky for shit projectiles. Maybe this is one of the reasons why Kenya produces so many amazingly fast runners.
Horrible poverty, poor sanitation, and flying bags of shit? Now that's a problem.
A couple of week's ago, National Public Radio played some of the radio segments from around the world that had been awarded medals at the radio version of the Oscars. One of them was a first person audio "diary" of a young girl with cystic fibrosis. In case you're not familiar with the disease, cystic fibrosis is a fatal illness. Your lungs simply produce so much mucus that you can't breathe properly and as a result, infection after infection sets in until your lungs become gossamer thin. Eventually, they cease to function altogether and you die.
This particular girl, armed with a tape recorder, made verbal entries into the machine over the course of two years. At the time the tape was finished she was 20 years old, which in cystic fibrosis terms, is ancient.
She had seen most of her cystic fibrosis friends die long ago. She was quite cognizant of the fact that she could go at any time.
The audio diary was filled with segments where she'd gasp into the microphone from her hospital bed, explaining to the audience that would some day hear her tapes that the wheezing noise was the sound of her lungs trying to breathe.
She recently received a lung transplant, but now she has to deal with her body's endless attempts to reject the organs. Despite all of this, she doesnt really complain and as she concluded her radio diary, she said that she didn't know if she'd live another day or another year, but she explained that either way, "I guess that's okay."
Cystic fibrosis and the knowledge that your days are numbered? Now that's a problem.
I've got a friend who's at the Mayo Clinic right now. He's suffering from inexplicable kidney failure. I've got another friend who has colon cancer. Another just got divorced.
Failed kidneys, colon cancer, and divorce? Now those are problems.
Someone I know very well experienced a botched penis extension procedure. I now have a I mean, he now has a cork where his penis used to be and when he goes to the bathroom, it just sort of sloshes out. Very unsatisfying. What's more, the residue from the cabernet sauvignon on the corks irritates his skin.
That, obviously, is a problem.
Then there's the other end of the complaint spectrum.
The son of a friend just got cut from his college football team. He was a hotshot in high school, but college is a whole other universe. The son didn't have an inkling of what it took to excel in sport, nor did he have the requisite drive or will. Instead, he dropped out of school and blames the coach for not recognizing his greatness. He's destined to be one of those bitter sons of bitches who spends each day fantasizing about what could have been if not for that bastard coach.
A friend of a friend bores the hell out of us whenever we see him because he's always complaining about how he can't afford a house in today's market and how there should be subsidized housing. "Tell me," I feel like saying to him, "Where in the Constitution does it say everybody gets to have a house? It doesn't. You have to work for it, you putz."
Likewise, everywhere I look, someone's complaining about something. The editorial pages are filled with letters from indignant tight assess about the outrage of the week, which currently happens to be how "morally repugnant" it was for CBS to air the "The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" a couple of weeks back. Man, these people, mostly women, probably turn out the lights and put on latex gloves before jacking off their husbands.
The week before, they were similarly outraged about rap lyrics, or the violence of video games.
The advice columns are filled with letters from losers who can't hold jobs or stay in relationships. They blame everyone but themselves.
Everyone's suing someone. Suing because their feelings were hurt; suing because fast food made them fat; suing because the rectal thermometer they used elicited homosexual feelings that had previously lain dormant.
Psychiatrists' offices are filled with people who blame their parents for every shortcoming they have. Sure, you visit laundry rooms and when no one's looking, steal thongs out of the laundry baskets of babes so you can sew together pungent multi-colored quilts. Did it ever occur to you that it has nothing to do with your mother making you fold her Woolworth's underwear when you were ten, that maybe you're just a sick bastard?
Those aren't problems well, maybe the underwear thing is, but it pales in comparison to real complaints or problems.
And then there are the complaints we get. I don't think a day goes by that I don't get at least a half dozen e-mails complaining about how the letter writer can't lose that last bit of fat around his or her waist and how it's really a problem that's got them down because they're going to friggin' Tahiti next month and they're worried that the native islanders won't get down on their knees and worship them for the gods they are because they're 7% body fat instead of 6%; how they're 5'5" and only 250 pounds and they don't look quite as stocky and fire-pluggy as Lee Priest yet and how miserable they are because of it; how they can't stand the taste of cottage cheese and can't I please think of something else they can eat at night because gosh, cottage cheese is so yucky.
Those are not problems. You know what to do to lose weight. In a take-off of Nike's slogan, just fucking do it. You know how to gain muscle, hell, we've printed about a thousand articles about it. Just fucking do it. If you can't, and you've no underlying medical problem, you're just weak willed. Can't stand the taste of cottage cheese? For chrissake, shove it down your throat, you pussy!
Man, I don't know how we got to be the most powerful country in the world because a good portion of the population is as weak as the urine flow of a man who suffered a botched penis extension operation.
Likewise, we get complaints all the time from a small percentage of readers demanding to know why GROW! doesnt come in guava flavor; why if we're such experts, we don't all weigh 300 pounds and belch fire; why MAG-10 only helped them put on 10 pounds instead of 20; why we're such big sellouts and charge for our supplements instead of functioning solely as some sort of big honkin' humanitarian weight-lifting site. Yep, instead of Toys for Tots, we'll be Traps for Tots, a non-profit organization dedicated to turning our nation's children into an army of no-necks.
I don't want to hear any more wuss complaints from these readers. Legitimate complaints about some policy of ours are fine. Suggestions are fine. Suggestions are welcome. Questions are welcome. Asking for advice is fine. Letters to see how we're doing are fine. Naked pictures of women are more than fine. But complaints about something trivial or moronic? Woe-is-me whining? Some of us need some perspective about what constitutes a problem and what doesn't. There are plenty of people who can't walk, can't get out of a hospital bed, can't find food, let alone get to the gym or worry about how they're going to dress up their cottage cheese to make it more palatable.
And the same goes for the world at large, particularly the U.S. There are truly some things that matter more than network TV showing a little flesh in primetime or whether some semi-literate rapper is singing about bitches and ho's.
If we don't start putting things into perspective, we'll all be woefully unprepared when some real shit hits the fan — or should I say, hits the roof.
Now that would be a problem.
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