A: No. It’s psoriasis. The difference is that dandruff is caused by a fungus while psoriasis is a disorder in which the body tells the skin cells to die off too early, causing build up, itchiness, and inflammation. Psoriasis is not contagious whatsoever. I have it on my scalp and my face.
Q: Are you aware you’re overweight?
A: Yes. Very much so. It’s a little hard not to notice. It’s something that I’ve struggled with for most of my adult life. My self-image is not consistent with my physical appearance and there are some self-esteem issues that are a result of it. However, I do make efforts to bring my weight down and they are effective for the most part, but mostly in maintaining my current shape. I do exercise, though on a very erratic schedule, and I do keep a mind to a healthy diet. Some of my struggles are against genetics (stocky Norwegian build), personal medical history (three months on prednisone after a major allergic reaction when I was thirteen), and life habits (sedentary tendencies, particularly with regards to computers). As an adult, the least I’ve weighed was 175 lbs my senior year of high school. College and the following periods of underemployment/unemployment saw my weight rise and I’ve been trying to work against it since. I also have functionally flat feet, which makes high-impact exercise (such as running) difficult and quite painful. Ironically, I participate in martial arts. Now that I’m working again, I am more likely to add exercise into my routine, but I want to be genuine and serious about it. I’ll probably join a gym or martial arts dojo sometime soon, once I figure out how to schedule my free time outside of work.
Q: Do you have a cold/flu/etc.?
A: Most likely not. I have moderate nasal allergies, year-round, that make most days interesting. I am allergic to pollen, mold, dust, pet dander, and strong chemical and floral scents (particularly if they are synthetic or cheaply made). The first four on that list will most likely make me sneeze, have a runny or stuffy nose, and/or have an asthma attack. Chemical and floral scents will make me experience something akin to a migraine focused very sharply on bridge of my nose. As a general rule, I take anti-histamines before I get to work and I carry some in my backpack in case I don’t make it the entire day. I also try to keep a box of tissue nearby (or packet of tissues in my pocket) at all times. I can’t prepare against chemical and floral scents and therefore just avoid them as often as I can.
Q: What is your religion?
A: Christian. More specifically, I identify myself as non-/inter-denominational, with a strong Seventh-Day Adventist and Messianic Jewish background. However, I keep an open mind to other points of view and opinions. I will never press my beliefs on anyone, but I am usually willing to talk about it if asked. I am constantly re-evaluating what I believe. I find that unquestioned beliefs are stale and serve to deaden faith in God. I find my faith in God in the uncertainties between questions. It’s a paradox. That’s a whole other conversation, though.
Q: Why do you talk to yourself/inanimate objects?
A: That’s a good question. The trouble with answering it is that there’s always a lot of psychology involved. The simple answer is that voicing my thoughts occasionally make it easier to think or vent whatever emotion might be flickering past my mind. I assure you, I’m pretty sure I’m roughly about as sane as anyone else. Then again, who really is sane?
Q: Are you aware that you smell sometimes?
A: Actually, no. As I mentioned above, I suffer from allergies most of the time and thus my nose is constantly waging war on itself. I rarely smell anything that I’m not directly allergic to. I am, however, aware that I am a bigger man and as such take as many efforts to reduce my smell as possible (i.e. showering daily, wearing deodorant and cologne, etc.). In truth, if you notice anything like that, please let me know (tactfully and in private would be best). Otherwise, how would I fix it?
Q: Are you easily offended?
A: No. Not really. There are certain subjects that tend to be more hot-button for me than everything else, but it’s really, very hard to offend me. That which does offend me tends to be matters of behavior. I put a great deal of stock in respect and civility towards other people. I expect the same from others and become offended when that is trampled on. However, it’s likely that my reaction will only be to walk away. I also understand that there are different understandings of what it means to be respectful and civil, so I’m constantly giving people the benefit of the doubt. Though, there’s definitely a limit to what I will tolerate. Basically, you have to be doing it on purpose for me to get offended.
Q: Do you feel you always have to be right?
A: Absolutely not. I actually assume that I’m wrong most of the time. However, I only have the information I have and that’s what I put forward. I am particularly partial to classical style argumentation (put forward theory, disprove theory, learn, generate new theory, rinse, and repeat) and collegiate debate. I look at it as presenting the information that I have and I want you to do the same and together we figure out what’s working. If you think I’m wrong, tell me why. I have very little attachment to my opinions and will not be personally or otherwise offended by having being proven wrong. That said, be prepared to back up why you think you’re right. This is my default mode of communication. All that said, I still make an effort not to lapse into this style of communication when it’s not appropriate. I do understand the importance of having multiple methods of communication and I do employ them as often as I can.
Q: Why do you always dress up the way you do?
A: To be honest, I don’t feel I’m dressing up. This is just my standard wardrobe. This is what I wear around the house (if I’m not in pajamas). I find jeans uncomfortable and I feel weird wearing shorts. I prefer solid colors and slacks. I’m not trying to make any statement or be on best behavior, only to lax when I get home. This is just what I wear.
Q: Why are you always sleepy/groggy/tired/etc.?
A: I’m an insomniac. My particular insomnia manifests itself as difficulty getting to sleep and an irregular circadian rhythm. I combat this by forcing myself into a set sleep pattern and by using sleep aids (Unisom, as of late). The downside is that I don’t always get quality sleep when I force or drug myself into it. As such, I’ve built up a significant sleep debt and my body is not happy with this. Thus, I’m tired a lot of the time. Caffeine sometimes seems to have the opposite effect than it should, plus dependency on caffeine makes withdrawal tough and more tiring.
Q: Why do you seem down a lot of the time?
A: I am medically prone to depression. The causes of depression are difficult to pinpoint. It can be from an imbalance in brain chemicals, from situational influences, and/or from negative self-talk. I do as much as I can to combat these influences, but I’m really only able to affect my self-talk. I can only do so much about my chemical balance and the situations that I find myself. I constantly monitor what I tell myself in my mind and work hard to balance those thoughts against reality. After a lot of practice, I am able to redirect or stop short most negative thoughts. It’s certainly not perfect, though, and thus there will be lapses.
Q: Do you have a girlfriend/wife/lover?
A: No. It’s really complicated, but, simply put, no. For reference’s sake, I am completely heterosexual. Basically, I am exceptionally picky – which I often feel very hypocritical about and try to work on improving myself as a response – and I am unwilling to enter into a relationship that I don’t see at least the potential of marriage. I play for keeps.
Q: Do you have a sense of humor?
A: Yes. It’s mostly a snarky, facetious, deadpan, self-deprecating style of humor that’s really hard to catch if you aren’t paying attention. Puns and absurd connections also play a strong role. The best examples would be in the comedy of Eddie Izzard, Terry Pratchett, and maybe Hugh Grant. English. Heady. I also laugh at the discovery and/or uncovering of truths. This is still part of my humor, but a slightly different section of it. Plus, I laugh at the absurdity and silliness of many of the things I do or find myself doing out of habit or instinct. I actually laugh at myself quite a bit.
Q: Is that ink on your nose?
A: Nope. It’s a scar of some kind. No doubt a leftover from acne during puberty. I assume that it’s a collapsed capillary or vein.
Q: What’s that in your teeth?
A: Chance are, it my cavity. My family never had enough money for any dental work or a dental plan of any kind. As a result, I’ve never had a chance to see a dentist. I try to take care of my teeth, but there’s only so much I can do. I hope to see a dentist soon enough, now that I might be able to afford it.