A prescription for living forever
Studies show that 90 percent of Americans will not finish reading any sentence that begins, “Studies show that 90 percent of Americans …”
This is a healthy sign.
For one thing, it indicates you are probably no longer reading this column, which should reduce the amount of misinformation you’re absorbing. For another thing, it means that most of you aren’t wasting valuable time perusing studies that will be discredited within six months. For a third thing, it means you aren’t being ruled in your behavior by the results of questionable surveys.
Except, in a contradictory kind of way, you are, because you stopped reading, which is just what the studies said you’d do. Unless you didn’t stop, in which case it’s impossible to tell if you’re an individualist proudly defying the researchers or just one of the gullible minority of 10 percent who always read to the end of stupid sentences.
So, maybe it’s not so healthy, after all.
As anyone with the brains of the kind of person who’d come up with the sort of study mentioned in the first sentence that you didn’t finish reading can tell, it’s not easy to figure out what’s good for you and what isn’t. Take alcohol, for example. According to research I conduct nearly every happy hour, beer, wine and booze are all beneficial products. And the more, the better. Whoopie! Let’s prove it by putting lampshades on our heads and exposing our private parts to those people taking video on their cell phones.
Unfortunately, my scientific study of the positive impact of overindulging has been undermined by scandalous claims that my sample size (one) is too small and that my laboratory staff (me) is seriously inebriated during the experiments. These claims may be true, but that hardly nullifies my findings, which I’ve somehow misplaced.
Fortunately, I found a Boston Globe article from Nov. 17, 2013, that says boozing it up is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. According to Dr. Eric Rimm of the Harvard School of Public Health, “There’s no question that people who drink moderately have lower rates of heart attacks, lower rates of diabetes and live longer.”
Which is all good except that word “moderately.” It’s not that I have anything against moderation, although the term is regularly misused by everyone from idiots to politicians. (Excuse me for repeating myself.) Too many health fanatics believe that one glass of wine on the weekend constitutes moderate drinking. Not so, says Dr. Rimm. A cocktail every few days doesn’t produce the beneficial effect of reducing the risk of nasty blood clots. To experience that advantage, you have to drink every day.
Moderation has also been interpreted as meaning small drinks, not more than an ounce and a half of liquor, 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer. These portions will earn any bartender who serves them a tip smaller than the percentage of the public that finished my first sentence. Moderation is not a quality highly prized by people who depend on gratuities for their living.
In addition, it should be noted that many cocktails, such as the Zombie or Mai Tai, require considerably more than an ounce and a half of booze if you’re going to make them properly. And what would you use to serve a Martini that met this ridiculously rigorous standard of moderation? A contact-lens case?
But back to the Globe article. Red wine is good for you because it contains something called resveratrol. Which sounds like one of those prescription drugs you should consult your doctor to see if it’s right for you in controlling your embarrassing condition. But it’s not. Resveratrol is a “phytonutrient,” a word that comes from the Latin “phyto” meaning plant and the English “nutrient” meaning nutrient. In other words, it’s plant food. Like fertilizer. Even though it’s supposed to prevent cardiovascular problems and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, it’s still basically poop, and I want nothing to do with it.
Instead, I’ll buy some nuts. According to an Associated Press story from Nov. 21, researchers have determined that eating nuts – any nuts – every day will decrease your chances of dying by 20 percent. I assume that means that eating nuts five times a day decreases your risk of death 100 percent. Which means you can drink as much as you want, and it doesn’t have to be disgusting feces-laced wine.
Confronted with these facts, studies show that 90 percent of Americans would prefer not to finish this sentence and have a Mai Tai instead. The other 10 percent want a Zombie.
And could we get a dish of nuts with those?
Al Diamon writes the weekly political column Politics & Other Mistakes for several Maine newspapers and websites. He’s also the media critics for The Bollard magazine and the beer and booze columnist for Food Etc. magazine. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.