NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING FOR SURE

Everybody is worried. We live in precarious times! My gosh, if the food you eat doesn’t kill you, it will certainly make you a fatty. The climate is wacky—is it global warming or something else? And then there are war, pestilence, religious differences, the election, and flesh-eating viruses! If we take the time to think about all this stuff, we would be hard pressed to carry on.

But I have just a little bit of encouragement for you. I have been thinking about pundits lately. They are all over the media right now, some of them even making sense about politics. We have always quaked with fear when listening to the pundits. And you know what? The pundits aren’t wearing any clothes! Wait—that was the emperor—but the principle is the same.

I remember when some medical pundit told the world that fiber was the answer to just about every single little disease. I went right out and bought everybody in the family a salt shaker, which I filled with bran. The instructions were to sprinkle it on everything before we ate it. The shakers had cunning little lids on them, which allowed them to be slipped into pockets, back packs, and purses. This lasted until one of the children was bullied in the cafeteria for putting “fish food” on her sandwich and my husband pulled his shaker out at a Rotary meeting with embarrassing results. A few years later, we read an article about a woman who had to go to the ER for an intestinal blockage caused by eating too much broccoli. Pundits were way off on that one.

Then it was salt. Salt was bad. We tried not to use it—even though we had all those extra shakers. But food was blah, and so our family resumed salty deliciousness, all the while worrying about our blood pressure. Turns out, salt doesn’t really contribute all that much to high blood pressure. They were wrong again!

OMG. The organic argument! Have we been sold a bill of goods on that issue? Recent studies question the validity of organics as more “healthful” than food that isn’t so pristine. I am glad of this, because I have always felt just a little guilty about serving “regular” apples and such. And I gave up on washing them with that expensive fruit and vegetable cleaner. Whew! Now I can just rinse them off and eat them, for heaven’s sake!

What about all of those medical tests we are supposed to get? They are expensive. Some create way too many false positives, sending people for things like unnecessary biopsies and scans. Lately, medical experts have begun to question the value of getting even a yearly check- up. Who would have guessed this? Apparently, we have gotten just a little too carried away with prevention. It seems that our grandmothers might have been right. Just eat the apple a day. Yeah, you have to rinse it. But it’s easy, peasy!

Speaking of worries, I have to remind you that there has always been war. Somewhere. We are a warring species. I know, it’s horrible, but somehow, enough of us have survived all the bombs, trenches, holocausts, and horrors to continue on. It isn’t much, but somehow the world just keeps on turning in spite of human stupidity and evil. It’s worth reminding ourselves when we get scared.

And whenever I worry about global warming, I think of that pundit who kept predicting that the world would end on a certain date. It didn’t. I know that this flies in the face of all those scientists who are predicting climatic endgames, but there were ice ages and hot spells in times of yore. And we are all still here.

It’s a matter of perspective. Whenever I worry about what the pundits are screeching about, I remember that there were those pundits who said that the world was flat and that if humans were meant to fly, God would have given them wings.

I rest my case.

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