As the cynics of the world have long since suspected, everything is bad for you. And I do mean everything. Turns out that even the things you thought were good for you are bad for you. Exercise, water, sleep, organic fruits and vegetables, yoga, multivitamins… if these things are not handled with laser-like precision, they’ll kill you sure as shooting.
To confirm, just open up any periodical’s Wellness section (aka, the Scare the Shit Out of You section) and you’ll find evidence of the latest medical report urging you to cross out yet another seemingly harmless thing from your To Do, To Eat, or To Take list and place on your ever-growing list of things to avoid.
The latest addition on the To Avoid list is spray tanning. If you’ve read my blog before, you might be familiar with my spray tanning addiction. So you can imagine that when the FDA decided spray tanning causes cancer and other DNA mutations, it was a dark day for me. Or more specifically, a very pale day. It’s not like I thought getting hosed-down with chemicals in a small enclosed space was exactly good for me, but before the FDA and it’s infernal obsession with consumer protectionism, I was content to avoid thinking about any consequences beyond my semi-exotic, orangeish, not-quite-natural-but-better-than-looking-like-a-corpse glow.
But now I am forced think about genetic alterations and damaged DNA. And it really ticks me off. Now I must balance my desire to have a healthy glow with my desire to actually be healthy? What kind of crap is that? I’ve already been warned-off ever sitting in the sun without SPF of at least 1,000, and now they’re telling me my beloved sunless spray will turn me into a malignant she-goblin? It hardly seems fair.
But fair or not, danger lurks around every turn. And not just those into the spray tan booth. Also on the To Avoid list courtesy of Wellness sections everywhere are:
- White rice
- Diet soda
- Regular soda
- The sun
- The epicurean trinity: Fat, sugar, salt
- Too much sleep
- Too little sleep
- Talking on a cell phone while driving a car
- Talking on a cell phone while walking down the street
- Holding a cell phone anywhere in the vicinity of your brain
- Keeping your computer on your lap (Toasted lap syndrome. Apparently, it’s a thing.)
- Working too much
- Working too little
- Being too serious
- Pop rocks (Some sick punks are hiding illegal drugs in these now.)
- Hand sanitizer
- Hair spray
- Teflon cookware
- Red food dye
- Red meat
- Being a vegetarian
- Being a vegan
- Movie Popcorn
- Not reading enough in long form
- And, living to old age (though I should hardly think this would be a problem given the above list.)
The problem is that after a while all the warnings fade to white noise, like a constant hum in the backdrop that no one really notices. It’s like the parent who says “Be careful” every time their kid walks out the door. At a certain point, the kid just doesn’t hear them anymore.
As for me, I’ve become so overwhelmed by warnings of certain doom that I vacillate between being afraid to do anything at all and not caring what I do. If the experts are to be believed, it would seem both paths lead to the same ultimate destination anyway. The phrase “Why bother?” comes to mind. But mostly, the whole discussion just makes me want to crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head. (Then again, I’d better not. Dust mites.)