We are an extremely gullible society, believing any health report and following any trend if an expert assures us it is valid.
Unfortunately, our standards of “expertness” aren’t really up to par. We tend to believe any news anchor, medical reporter, or lifestyle columnist that comes along. No good can possibly come of this. That lack of attention to detail is how the fitness movement, the theory of global warming, and the scourge that is decaffeinated coffee all got a foothold on us.
Global warming. In the case of global warming I suspect that the entire “theory” was actually invented by a couple of bored scientists who wanted to pull a fast one on their lab partners. Chuckling maniacally, they circulated a memo claiming that hair-spray or some such nonsense was going to bring about the end of the world through a bizarre chain reaction involving icebergs, the rain forest, and Aqua Net – and then sat back for some belly laughs when the other scientists stumbled onto their practical joke.
Except, their bad luck, the Associated Press picked up the memo on a slow news day and to the scientists’ everlasting horror they now had to make it seem as if they were SERIOUS about this global warming thing.
To this day they devote every waking moment to convincing us that global warming is a “very real threat” and we are all only one aerosol spray away from becoming toast. This despite overwhelming evidence that the average American cares more passionately about gas prices than global warming. (Unless, of course, global warming will somehow impact gas prices).
Unpopular science. Meanwhile, these scientific scare mongers became addicted to their 15 minutes of fame, and increasingly sought to scare the beejeebies out of us.
Thus brought the brief and inexplicable lifesaving aspect of oat bran (which fortunately passed quickly, in more ways than one), carcinogenic lipstick, poisonous apples, and the dire threat posed by eggs, just to name a few.
Of course, after years of maligning eggs, they also came slinking back to tell us that eggs were incredible, edible, and not likely to kill us after all. Clearly, someone owes the nation’s chickens, and anyone who ever ingested a powdered egg substitute, a huge apology. Still, we did not learn.
After spending a decade nagging us about how we must consume eight, 8-ounce glasses of water daily in the pursuit of health, happiness, and world peace, it would appear that this particular “fact” has been an urban legend all along.
Much like the one about the guy disguised as an old lady who waits in your car at the mall to grab you, or wait, was that under your car to slash your Achilles tendon unless you are warned off by the choking Doberman? Whatever. The point being that all are accepted as fact and just as wholly unreliable.
Duped. Here we sat, dutifully consuming 64 ounces of water per day, never passing a rest room without stopping in, and floating through our lives with our legs crossed and a slightly pained look in our eyes for no darned good reason. We, my waterlogged friends, have been duped.
The greatest indignity here is that this wasn’t even science gone wrong. Instead, it appears that after spending years hearing from doctors, fitness experts, and other such shifty types that it is crucial to consume our body weight in water each day, no one can actually find a single scientific study that proves this theory. How did everyone manage to miss that?
Look, we expect this kind of free and easy way with facts from our friends. But shouldn’t we expect a little more substance from those who harp on our health?
Have I honestly been wandering around with my legs crossed all these years because so-and-so heard from her cousin, who was married to a mailman who had a neighbor who was a doctor that eight 8-ounce glasses was the gospel?
Fine. Good. Two can play at this game. Starting today here’s a new “fact.” Ice cream is a health food, double cheeseburgers are low-cal, and aerobics will, in fact, kill you. Pass it on.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt continues to wear lipstick and eat eggs with wild abandon. She welcomes comments c/o P.O. Box 38, Salem, Ohio 44460 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)