“At the beginning of the new year, I resolved to leave off writing ‘old grouch’ columns, columns that chronicle my inability to negotiate modern life. But resolutions rarely stand in the face of provocation, and so here I go again.” – Stanley Fish, New York Times, 1/11/10
Oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, and on Facebook, there’s talk that the leak should be plugged with the works of Ayn Rand. Frankly, the idea seems no worse than any other, though I might substitute Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
How to live, while preventable messes pile up all around us?
I read this week that 92 percent of canned foods, from generic to the fanciest brands, are contaminated with BPA, an estrogen-like chemical that’s absorbed into the food from the lining of the can. As for me, I’m having way too much fun on the roller coaster known as The Matterhorn (pronounced “Matter-hormone” over here) to require additional endocrinological chaos at this time. Whee!
So here’s what happens. Eschewing supplies like tuna and crushed tomatoes, I bring home some dry black beans from the bins at the produce store, unaware that the contents of the green-twistie-tied plastic bag apparently bear an uncanny resemblance to chocolate chips. Inevitably, there is that one scary moment when my husband puts his hand in to have a nibble, requiring me to explain, in between paralyzing yet therapeutic fits of hysterical laughter, that while quite healthful, these particular goodies are more easily ingested having first been soaked and cooked.
See? One day off canned foods and I feel better already.
Oh, but there are plenty of other preventable messes with which to contend. A certain form of Vitamin A found in 41 percent of sunscreens causes skin cancer, something the FDA has known about for ten years and apparently forgot to disclose to the public.
And commercial photocopy machines, whose hard drives permanently store all images, including those with personal information, are routinely being purchased second-hand by identity thieves.
Did I mention that babies are dying from ingesting lithium cell batteries, and there are toxins in both the liquid and the powder types of protein drinks?
But wait, there’s great news in the Dropped Phone Call department! That’s right—in areas with crummy reception, your cell phone has to emit more radiation to get a signal, so you see, it’s a good thing when you get cut off. Another fun fact: talking on a cell exposes you to more radiation than listening does. Who knew you could practice conversational consideration and reduce your exposure at the same time?
True confession: notwithstanding the hilarity of rescuing loved ones from rock-hard legumes, sometimes writing is the only thing that gives me a little relief. And writing is probably no good for me, either. At this very moment, the heat from the bottom of my laptop is no doubt interacting with the titanium rod in my femur and slowly cooking my left thigh.
Published in The Piedmont Post, June 9, 2010