Cheap thrills

When my dad was young, he went to a somewhat impoverished boarding school in India.

(As my dad tells it, in this school, the boys and girls were separated and could hardly interact with each other at all… except for once, at the end of the semester, when they could take their autograph books around and get all their friends to sign them. Of course, for the boys, this was their chance to talk to the girls. So you can imagine a young boy going up to a cute girl that he’s had his eye on all semester and nervously asking her to sign his book. She smiles and complies. “What a wonderful semester we’ve had,” she writes, and signs it, “Love,” — at this the young boy’s heart leaps — but then: “Your sister, Sharmila”. Aughhh! He is crushed. Haha. Those adolescent years…)

Anyway, since they didn’t have a lot of money or resources, my dad and his friends had a concept called “cheap thrills”. The idea is simple: do something that’s so painful that when you stop, it feels really good. The classic case was going to the bathroom. If you had to go pee, you held it for as long as you could: till you felt like you were going to die, and them some. Then finally, bladder distended, you staggered to the bathroom. Ahhh. Such relief. There are few greater visceral pleasures. And free, too! Hence: “cheap thrills”.

When my dad told me about this concept, I found it awesome and funny. (And, relating to my last post, an argument for window seats :). Of course, while the classic peeing technique is still valid, I’ve developed my our cheap thrills: hiking for fifteen miles a day with a heavy pack, for instance, to get that feeling of incredible relief when I finally sit down in the car and strip off my shoes, or take that hot shower when I get back home.

I’ve got a new cheap thrills gimmick running, and it’s kind of driving me nuts at the moment. It’s a biggie: I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life wearing nerdy glasses and irritating contact lenses, and now I’m going to get LASIK surgery. I had hardly considered it before this summer, but once I did all the research and decided on it, it really pulled me in. And now I’m dying to get it. The only problem is, the surgery keeps getting postponed, for one reason or another. (Actually, the initial consultation also got postponed, due to a minor infection of my eyelid — something I’d never had before in my life until the week of the consultation!) I was supposed to have surgery last week, but postponed it because I was little nervous about having it so soon after travelling: I got back into town from Boston at midnight on Tuesday morning, and the surgery was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

So it was postponed till today. I got up this morning (!) and got a call: they have to postpone it now because one of the lasers needs recalibration! (Actually, they gave me the option of getting a slightly different procedure instead today, but after much thought and consultation with my parents, I decided to postpone.) This was really frustrating, especially since you’re not supposed to wear contacts a week before the surgery, so I’ve been wearing glasses exclusively for the past couple weeks — all for naught. The worst part is that since I’ll be out of state the week after next, the next surgery date I could get is August 30th. So far away! It’s definitely a good exercise in patience. I’m hoping, though, that the thrill at the end of the ride will be worth it.

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6 Responses to Cheap thrills

  1. wingerz says:

    my other favorite cheap thrill (maybe because it’s the only one that i’ve heard about) is biking as slowly as possible!

  2. ratatosksv says:

    Yeah, I think I’m going to have to stop my “cheap thrill” – playing DDR for a half an hour (or more) after I know I should stop… Yeah, last time I tried that, my calf muscle didn’t find it such a thrill.

  3. ccho says:

    Your glasses are hardly nerdy. Anyway, good luck with the LASIK — I was thinking of getting it done, but I have a slight astigmatism and my vision is pretty bad so it may not be possible.

    • aj says:

      Maybe they’re not nerdy now, but they definitely were in fifth grade :).

      Anyway, I have pretty bad vision (-5 to -6 diopters), and pretty bad astigmatism too, but they can fix me with the latest technology. So I’m guessing that it’s possible for you, too.

  4. joyousx says:

    hahaha! my friend john & i used to always say “…but it feels so good when it stops!” i love the practical application of that concept.

  5. Anonymous says:


    i miss you like WOAH.

    your little sis