Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Porcupine's New Year

You know what they say. They say you shouldn't do that. They say that's bad for you. Oh, yeah - they say that's about the worst thing. You need to do this now.

Really? I didn't know that. Hm.

You know what? I've just about had it with them. You know who I'm talking about. The people who told you not to eat butter 20 years ago. The ones who said how much better margarine was. The same ones who are telling you now that margarine is full of trans-fats. Now you're supposed to eat butter again. But not too much. In fact, you really need to eat more olive oil. That's the thing - olive oil. Unless it isn't.

And coffee. The caffeine will really stress you out. Don't drink too much coffee. It causes cancer. Unless it doesn't. In fact, a cup or two of coffee a day may prevent cancer. You know what you need? Red wine. That's the thing. Red wine. Full of antioxidants. You should drink a glass or two of red wine a day. Then you'll always be young, rich and healthy. You'll practically live forever. Unless you don't.

Grandma never would have put up with this crap.

You know what I'm resolving this year? I'm not going to listen to anything they say anymore. To hell with them. Quite frankly, the evidence seems to show that they don't know what the hell they're talking about. I've had it with them.

They think we're all too stupid too remember what they said last year. Or the year before. Or the year before that. Well, I've had it with them. To hell with them.

How long did they tell us to put our children to sleep on their bellies? Always on the belly. That's the thing. Unless we're supposed to put them to sleep on their backs, right? That's the new thing. Always on their backs. Back to sleep. And that's what it'll be until they change their minds again.

When you think about it, how did any of us ever survive childhood? With our sharp edged metal toys? With our lead-painted cribs with the slats too far apart? Riding bicycles without helmets? Without seat belts or car seats? How did we ever manage?

With parents who actually smoked in our presence? Remember that? When an ashtray was part of a restaurant table setting? "You're too young to smoke!" How many of you remember hearing that? A whole bunch, I bet. It's a wonder we didn't all just drop dead on the spot.

Remember the four food groups? Having a square meal? Remember when bacon and eggs was a good breakfast? When a nice juicy-red steak was a good dinner? Remember? I bet you do.

Once upon a time, a man named William Howard Taft was elected president. Remember that? OK, most of you probably don't remember the Taft administration, but you might remember that the guy was huge. Think he could get elected today? Not a chance. The poor guy would be stuck somewhere sweatin' to the oldies. Instead of being the subject of graduate theses, he'd be signing up for Weight Watchers.

When you really look at it, the medical profession hasn't done too well for itself. I mean, it was only in the 1860s that they decided it might be good to wash hands between surgeries, maybe even wipe off the saw. Or what about this:

The days of our years are threescore and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow.
- Psalm 90:10

Yep. Psalm 90 numbers our years between 70 and 80. You know what the current life expectancy is in the U.S. of A? 78. And most of that statistical "increase" is due to lower infant mortality. Sorry if I sound unimpressed. Sure, we don't die of polio or smallpox or pneumonia so much anymore. That's good. Now we have an exciting new list of things to croak us. MRSA, AIDS, E. Coli ? No, thanks.


I spent an awful lot of time with my grandparents. I know the good old days weren't really, but you know what? Maybe they didn't live quite as long but they had more fun doing it. They didn't go around worrying about the numbers: blood pressure, blood sugar, A1Cs, cholesterol, LDLs, HDLs, triglycerides and all the rest. A day out in the sun was a good day. They didn't consult "the experts" all that often and were happier for it.

My grandmother was pretty diabetic. One of my jobs was to fill syringes for her, which she found hard to do. One of my other jobs was to bring her two fresh glazed doughnuts every visit, without fail. To her, a life without doughnuts was not a life worth living. Who am I to say she was wrong?

My grandfather, on the other hand, was a clean-living guy. Early to bed, early to rise, never smoked, never drank, and practically lived on nuts and berries. Not because of any "experts," mind. That was just who he was. He worked for the Postal Service, not in factories full of chemicals. Yet he died at 72 from what I call "cancer of the everything." So much for the experts.


Here's the question: are we any better off for listening to experts? What are we giving up and what are we getting in return? I think we're giving up more than we think and are getting not much in return. For example, you know what I can't say to the porcupets when we go out? Why don't you bring a friend. Remember that? Everyone piling into the car for a day out? Not anymore. I once had to drive past a friend and her kids walking in the rain and I couldn't offer them a ride. No room with all the car seats. No extra car seats either. I'm not so sure this is a good thing.

It seems to me that lots of folks want us to live in fear. That way, they can sell us a load of vague promises at a premium. And speaking of premiums, have you noticed what it takes to be considered "healthy" by an insurance company lately? You practically have to be an Olympic athlete or an active-duty Marine. I think it's time we all said enough. I've had it with them. To hell with them. How about something for normal people?

What if, instead of car seats, we all drove a bit more carefully? How about that? How about if we made the insurance companies take a chance? They're just gamblers, after all. Why should they get to rig the game? Want to know my cholesterol? My blood pressure? Too bad. Roll the dice, guys. Good luck. What if we accepted our threescore and ten and left it at that? Well, at least we'd have more fun and less Alzheimer's. That might be a start. To hell with them.

Why not try some of the following for 2010 and see how it goes:

  • Cancel your physical
  • Skip your meds
  • Blow off the gym
  • Smoke
  • If you don't smoke, start.
  • Have coffee and doughnuts for breakfast
  • Have a burger, fries and a coke for lunch
  • Have a dinner that comes straight from the fryolator
  • Have a huge sundae for dessert
  • Often
  • Drink more beer
  • Gain ten pounds
  • Eat fried chicken and biscuits on Sunday
  • Butter everything
  • Stay up late
  • Call in sick
  • Sleep in
  • Take the kids to the beach in the back of a pickup truck
  • Ignore the experts
  • Drive the speed limit in the middle lane
  • Smile

Maybe it would help. Maybe not. It's worth a try, though. I can't say we've been getting too far doing things
their way. It's a sad day when Marilyn Monroe would be considered chubby and the President has to sneak a cigarette outside the White House. If that doesn't say it all, I don't know what does.

That's my advice for 2010. To hell with them. Do something fun, guilt-free, see how you feel. Happy New Year and please pass the butter.

Very Truly Yours,




Suldog said...

PREACH, Brother Porcupine! AMEN!

(I'd test your theories, by doing all of the things you list instead of what I normally do, but all of the things you list are what I normally do, for the most part. The only one I don't do is pile the kids into the back of the pick-up. That's because I don't have any kids or a pick-up.)

Ananda girl said...

Hahaha... you hit on one of my great peeves! Here's another one for you. They now tell us diabetics that coffee is good for us... drink up!

They have been driving me round the bend for a long time. I agree 100%. Great resolution. Wish I'd thought of it.

Michelle H. said...

"Often?" I like that. It applies to the entire list. I've never made resolutions. It sets up for disappointment. I whole-heartedly agree. To hell with them!

lime said...

hey, i'm already off to a good start. i've been off work this week and i've being staying up late, sleeping in even later, buttering everything and living on chocolate.

Land of shimp said...

Ah yes, the tyranny of "them". The ubiquitous they, pretending to be omniscient, but changing the rules of the game constantly. Contorting themselves with nearly constant contradictions.

Today's gem? And I am in no way making this up, please see the yahoo homepage for proof: An article that says that women who eat full fat dairy, specifically full fat cheese (only an ounce a day, but of course, can't be allowed much fun by them) have a healthier Body Mass Index.

Eat. Don't overdue it. Take a nap. Take a walk. Have a drink.

Want to know how to defeat the tyranny of "they"? Don't worry so much. Drives them crazy. Makes them eat high carb foods, processed ones.

Get 'em.

Cerulean Bill said...

A very nice post. And Cricket, thanks for your comment.

Unknown said...

goodness! Sounds like a plan!