Hilary Fannin: Yes, I am feeling overwhelmed. Aren’t you?

In the wake of the American election I feel like I’m waiting for a horror show to start

 Donald  Trump:  appointed Steve Bannon; a man accused of being a white supremacist, an anti-Semite and a sexist. Photograph: M Phillips/ Getty Images

Donald Trump: appointed Steve Bannon; a man accused of being a white supremacist, an anti-Semite and a sexist. Photograph: M Phillips/ Getty Images

 

“Are you feeling a little overwhelmed?” the website asked. “Is life getting on top of you?”

The email that posed the question was resting in my junk box, which I’d opened up to retrieve my gas bill. I like keeping my online utility bills in spam-limbo. It’s amusing to watch the prim little demands, clutching their veiled threats to their paper breasts, sweating it out next to the other less pressing inducements I randomly attract. The frothy online missives inviting me to party with two platinum blondes called Tiffany, a one-eyed mastiff that answers to the name of Ricardo and an ornamental gnome in a PVC bikers’ jacket. 

Whadda you mean, you don’t get that kind of mail in your junk box? You’re obviously hanging out with all the right kind of people or else you’ve cleverly managed to ignite the filter mechanism.

“Yes!” I replied to the computer screen. “Yes, I am feeling overwhelmed. Aren’t you?” 

The vehemence of my response caused the curled-up cat to leap out of her slumber and wander downstairs to get on with knitting herself an iron curtain. 

Non-radioactive slimming knickers

Overwhelmed is too polite a word for how I’ve been feeling these last few weeks. In the wake of the American presidential election I feel like I’m waiting for a horror show to start. And as for Trump apologists who are peddling him as a loveable rogue whose bark is worse than the bite of his cosmetic dentistry, consider the appointment of Steve Bannon as senior counsel to the president-elect, a man accused of being a white supremacist, an anti-Semite and a sexist. Articles published on Breitbart, the right-wing website he oversees, include “Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy” and “Does Feminism Make Women Ugly?” What a charmer eh? I’ll rest easier in my bed knowing he has the ear of the president.

Feeling overwhelmed? Why, yes. I’m drowning in shagging despair actually. 

So, back to the junk box. I opened the link to see what kind of lifeline the website might be offering. A nuclear fallout shelter? A pair of non-radioactive slimming knickers? A seven-day detox diet with cranial massage and a vial of arsenic? 

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the link led me directly to Gwyneth Paltrow’s online publication Goop.

I’ve had my moments with Gwyneth over the course of this writing year, most especially when the skinny lifestyle guru encouraged her disciples, through her preposterously exclusive online publication, to tuck their retro cheesecloth skirts under their well-toned oxters and squat over a bucket of steaming mugwort to spring-clean their uteruses, an activity I happened to find about as dignified and appealing as a weekend away with a teetotalling fruitatarian in a Batman suit. One man’s online heaven, one man’s online hell, eh?

Stripping bark with my teeth

And yes, I find Paltrow and her liberal elitism knee-wateringly smug too. But given the choice between Bannon and Paltrow’s editorial selections, I’ll take the lightly freckled vegan warming her tush over a bucket of buddleia any day.

Anyway, it transpires that all I need to blow away the cloud of anguish and gloom I’m labouring under is a dose of powdered herbs and a gobful of adaptogens. Adaptogens (meaning, of course, compounds, herbs or practices believed to result in stabilisation of physiological processes) are, it seems, getting “a lot of buzz in the wellbeing world”.

I might give the adaptogen lark a go. I’ll start grinding up some roots and stripping tree bark with my teeth, I’ll bring the cat on a dawn raid for some wild mushrooms and cuckoo spittle to enhance my creativity and nourish my nervous system. And if I ever find my way out of the woods again and retrieve my laptop, I’ll let you know how it goes.

No stranger to the cosmetic industry, I somehow doubt that, come January, America’s new first lady, Melania, will be crushing up her herbs and grinding her gnarled roots, potent or otherwise, in the White House pestle and mortar.

Melania’s own laboratory-tested skincare brand (creatively called “Melania”) is a far cry from a dose of aphrodisiacal pine tree pollen.

Melania’s Melania range is made, according to the former model’s website, of 100 per cent pure caviar. Yep, caviar. Caviar and some compound in the caviar complex called a “matrix receptor”, which will improve the appearance of your skin, eliminate fine lines and wrinkles and provide you with a simulated dystopian future, all in one handy little bottle.

Pity the sturgeon. Pity the damn planet. 

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