Friday, November 04, 2005

Ice Cream and the City.

I wonder how many people have successfully changed a habit that they didn't like, or deliberately set out to acquire a new one that they wanted.

I used to hate doing dishes. When I was young and single I would leave them for weeks. The mould in the air did wonders for my immunite system. Isn't mould where penicillin comes from?

Being a lazy slob didn't seem to hurt my chances with the girls. But once I got into my first long term live-in relationship, I discovered to my dismay that my boyishly bad dishwashing habits quickly lost their charming effect on my main girl. (Women can be so fickle.) In order to keep the peace, I tried to make myself do my share of the dishes, but I would just forget. A guy's perogative, right? Wrong!

Anyway, this was the source of a lot of interpersonal friction with my girl. Unfortunately, it was not the kind of interpersonal friction that I would have liked. I would keep trying to make myself do them, but I would keep forgetting. Consequence: more friction.

To make a long story short, I had to figure a way to get myself to do the dishes regularly. Before I got turfed out.

After awhile, I came up with a solution -- ice cream!

I loved ice cream. (Still do.) So, I started giving myself an ice cream reward immediately after I washed the dishes. It was good old fashioned behavior modification.

Pretty soon, I was washing dishes morning, noon and night. There was more interpersonal friction -- but this time it was the kind a boy craves. So, I was getting pretty motivated. It wasn't long before, as soon as I saw a dirty dish, I would start to salivate.

And get erect.

Anyway, I was sure I was on to something. I had discovered the secret of self-control. It was rather exciting. I was still in my early twenties and I had figured out the secret to getting myself to doing things I didn't like. And boy was it fun! Then I started getting big ideas. I started planning how to change myself from the underachieving schlep that I had become, to a super-overachiever. All I had to do was find rewards I liked and administer them.

There were some ups and downs, however. After a couple of months, something stopped working. Quite against my will, I started losing the desire for ice cream. And my dishwashing was being taken for granted by the person in charge, so that kind of tapered off too. And bit by bit, my dishwashing habit started to wane.


I got a bit depressed with myself. I had found the great secret, but then seemed to lose it. It all just evaporated! Everything had been going so well.

Fast forward a few years. My number one girl was now my number one ex-girl. And I had moved hundreds of miles away to the big city. I was living by myself in a slum, and feeling pretty slummy.

The place was a mess. Nobody was doing the dishes. Again. Then y'know what. Through a chance encounter, I was reintroduced to my former love. Ice cream!! And you know what else? She had made herself more desirable and sexier than ever. Absence truly had made the heart grow fonder. I had discovered Haagen Daz. At first, I just indulged.

But after a short while, I remembered my experiment. I was tired of living the way I was. Tired of the slob in the mirror. Tired of the penicillin. So I made a decision to once again to take ice cream as a reward for doing dishes. And pretty soon...I was doing dishes morning, noon and night. Ah, love!!

Anyway, it's many, many years later. I am somewhat balder, and I have a little paunch. I live in a cold country where it's winter for years on end. But I am comfortable because I have the same extra layer of fat that keeps arctic animals warm in the cold. I don't actually see any of those arctic animals -- I live in the city, remember.

Anyway, my life did take a turn for the better. My dishwashing habit stuck this time. I even used rewards to change a few other behaviours. I moved up a bit in life.

And best of all, I met and married my only other true love. She seems not to mind my shortcomings. And I think she appreciates how fond I am of doing the dishes.


Blogger Mr K said...

or you could just buy a dish washer....

Hmm, I should probably get into that dish washing habit. Looks like hard work to me, having been raised in a rather messy house I'm kind of used to it.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Imperium child said...

Thats an awesome tale of love, repentance and icecream! However too much icecream cant be that good for you....

Also to Mr K. Yes, yes dammit clean up!

4:51 AM  

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