As a bachelor with many (too many) years of experience I feel it is my duty to document my experience somewhere. For those of you about ready to embark on the journey of bachelor life or those already on the trodden path, here are some things you might want to pick up along the way.
- A Mini Fridge
- This really isn't a necessity but something, for some strange mystical reason, a guy must have. Typical uses: beer. Typical placement: garage, basement, bedroom, television room - wherever you spend the most time. Estimated cost, $100.
- George Foreman Grill
- God bless you George "look at the lines, that's good eatin'" Foreman. This little bugger is so helpful and so easy to use any guy, no matter how dumb you are, can master one. Doesn't do a good job on steaks with bones in them but is perfect for frozen chicken breasts (don't bother thawing, just chuck'em on), burgers, fish, and just about all meats. Estimated cost, about $70.
- An Outdoor Grill
- You can go propane but you'll find you get the most use out of a small charcoal grill you can take with you in your car or let rust on your back porch/front step. Estimated cost, about $30.
- Crock Pot
- Another gift from the heavens to the bachelor. Just follow the recipes that come with the device. So easy, I was actually able to teach my dumb-ass complete waste of an ex-friend "L" how to cook. See my chili recipe. Estimated cost, about $40.
- Like, duh. Just buy a good one then treat it well and it will outlast you, all the women you are intimate with, and probably every dwelling you'll ever be in (even your casket). Estimated cost, who the hell knows - I bought mine ten years ago.
- Big Screen TV
- Even if you are stuck in the bedroom of your parent's house, you need a big screen TV. The big screen TV represents the following: a symbol of your manliness you can share with friends at football parties, a showcase for your best DVD movies and/or your porn collection, and a constant reminder of just how in debt you really are. Estimated cost, about $3600 (gotta get a good one, man).
Chili ala' Grouch
If you read my "bachelor necessities" above you should have noticed a crock-pot as one of the items there. This is what I use because a) I'm lazy, b) I'm a guy and need the flexibility of a crock-pot to hide my cooking inadequacies.
- Two pounds of ground chuck or ground round (i.e. raw hamburger)
- A can of chili beans
- A can of tomato sauce (name brand, no generic)
- A can of tomato paste
- A can of diced tomatoes (or cut up a bunch of tomatoes, no seeds)
- A can of green chilies (usually found in "Mexican" section)
- One stalk of celery
- One onion
- Two green peppers
- One jalapeno pepper
- Two or more cloves of garlic (comes in bulbs, peel them to get cloves)
- Chili powder (spice)
- Pepper (the kind you shake)
- One bay leaf (another spice) or Chinese 5-spice (yes, a it's a spice too)
- Cumin (a spice)
- Brown the ground beef (this means you cook the hamburger until it turns brown, I had a family member that wondered why his chili had so much blood at the top - he was adding it raw). Here is how I do it: a) throw the wad on my George Foreman Grill, b) insert the sliced cloves of garlic into the meat, c) liberally add pepper and chili powder, d) grill, e) crumble into the crock pot.
- While your biff is browning, cut up the veggies. Put the onion, celery, and jalapeno (and garlic) into the crock.
- Open the cans. Dump in the green chilies.
- Drain the grease from the beef (or don't, I don't care) and put it in the pot.
- Add the bay leaf (or a couple shakes of 5-spice), a pinch of cumin, some pepper, some chili powder.
- Dump in the tomato paste, then beans, then tomato sauce, then rinse cans with about a cup (measuring cup, i.e. a little bit) of water then dump into crock.
- Start cookin (5-7 hours on high, 10-12 hours on low).
- About one (high) or two (low) hours before the chili is done, stir in the green peppers. The reason I do this is because when I added the peppers at the beginning that's all I could taste in the chili - green peppers.
- When done cooking, serve hot and enjoy with a beer. Don't ruin with crackers or I'll shoot you.
Variations: Tex/Mex". Replace can of chili beans, stalk of celery, and green peppers with black and/or pinto beans, a half a can of corn, a red pepper and a yellow pepper. Unlike the chili beans (which usually come in a sauce), you should drain and wash the black/pinto beans.
Dealing with Depression
If you are like me, and (according to some news sources) like over thirty percent of the population in the United States, you deal with depression on (sometimes) a daily basis. These feelings usually manifest themselves in the form of feelings of hopelessness or you might feel tired all the time.
What not to do.
Drugs are NOT the Answer.
When I say drugs I am describing anything from prescription drugs like Prozac to binge drinking. Drugs are only a temporary solution to the problem and usually make things worse. I have seen some co-workers on the drug Prozac and they are both psychos, one step away from full-out fruitcake. I have family members on different prescriptions and they aren't any better. One has been on various prescriptions for twenty (yes, 20) years. The physicians just keep giving him the line "let's try this one". These quacks have no idea what they are doing, they just continue to milk the system. One of my friends smoked marijuana (i.e. pot, reefer, weed) to escape his depression. That loser is still depressed and now half his tenth-grade brain is gone. The common thread is that all of these people are still taking drugs and they are all still just as depressed, if not more than they ever were.
Shrinks are NOT the Answer
If you a rock star or some wealthy Hollywood name, then a "shrink" might work for you. For the rest of us that need to work for a living, you might as well just stop someone on the street or sit next to someone at a fast food joint because you are likely to get the same answers. Basically you pay a "shrink" to listen and make observations but every single session boils down to a prescription (see above). They do not have the answers or if they do they are canned answers you could probably get from a box of cereal or Miss Cleo. I saw a psychiatrist once, and that was enough. There are no easy answers to anything, but there is something that can be prescribed.
Is God the answer?
Maybe… Part of the problem with religion or other social groups is that they remove your self-esteem by placing everything in someone else's hands. Instead of depending upon yourself, being responsible, and understanding your strengths and weaknesses, everything is now controlled by an external entity (i.e. God or insert religious icon here). It works for you if you can completely give yourself. For most people it works temporarily until that first bout of doubt sets in, then there is the possibility
Seriously. Believe it or not, depression is a completely normal state of being just as happiness, sadness, ecstasy, and indifference are. It's okay to be depressed. If you are depressed, chances are good there is a reason why you are depressed. A couple of days later, you might still be depressed or you might do a one-hundred percent turn-around and be glowing with joy. It might even take a month or a year or your entire puberty. It's part of life. Depression makes happy days happier but can be overwhelming at times. Most people that "suffer" from depression have succumbed to it. Don't succumb to it. When the day is done, go over to the calendar and mark off the day because it's over.