The Nightly Crap Report

Each evening during the 6:00 news broadcast on the local network affiliate station (I won’t name names but their initials are at the beginning of the alphabet), they have a segment called ‘Health Watch’ to show how much they care about their viewers by reporting on what’s good for us or what’s bad for us.  They seem to feel that it’s their job to tell us about any obscure research study that’s been conducted somewhere in the world by anyone with a chemistry set or too much time on their hands.  After all, these are professional anchor people so they should know what’s in our best interest.  Sort of like the government.  We figure maybe 3 percent is news-worthy.  The rest is… well, Bill and I call it the Nightly Crap Report.

Pink slime and meat glue were recent stories – so now we should eliminate our consumption of ground beef, beef steaks, chicken nuggets, McRibs, hot dogs, and just about all lunch meats.  OMG, is Oscar Meyer aware of this?

Then there’s milk.  Once the evil cholesterol-generating twin of eggs, it’s now, like eggs, good for you because it can stave off Alzheimer’s and help us lose weight, all at the same time.  So, for all you people that stopped drinking milk a decade or two ago because it was going to clog up your arteries, too bad.  Not only are you fat, you probably forgot how you got that way.  But there’s hope because, not only is chocolate full of antioxidants and other good stuff, drinking beer and wine are wonderfully beneficial.  It’s a shame it can be drunk only in tiny medicinal doses that fall short of letting you get a happy buzz.

And then there’s the environment.  The air is bad because of too much radiation or too much pollution or too many cow farts or just because no one can see what’s swimming around in the air so it must be bad.  And on top of that, the water is terrible.  But then again, bottled water is even worse because little kids’ teeth are rotting because they don’t drink tap water, which is full of awful stuff but also has fluoride.  So, for today at least, having good teeth outweighs the risk of getting some parasite or cancer.  And we won’t even talk about the gigantic meteor that might (but probably won’t) strike earth a few years or decades or centuries from now.  It won’t matter any way because the Mayans say we won’t make it to Christmas this year because the world is going to end.

But even though this constant barrage drives us to the liquor cabinet, the news reports that make me and Bill the craziest are the stories about the magical healing powers of assorted vitamins and minerals and herbs.  Please don’t misunderstand, Bill and I are strong advocates of taking natural remedies and supplementing our sugar and starch-laden diets with multiple vitamins.  I also think Cranberry pills are a miracle for protecting you from bladder and urinary tract infections.  And Bill takes Black Cherry capsules to stave off his gout attacks – and they seem to work.  The problem is not us.  The problem is Mom.

Any time she sees a news story about a study that shows Hawthorn berry helps with brain function or Biotin will strengthen fingernails or B-12 helps with stress or fish oil is the magic potion for heart health, she wants us to run out and buy her some.  It doesn’t matter that she’s never had a manicure and never will.  It’s irrelevant that her brain function is darned amazing for a sedentary 86-year-old woman.  It’s immaterial that the only stress in her life is when someone lands on bankrupt on the Wheel of Fortune.  And it doesn’t seem to register that each time she sees the doctor, she’s told her heart is in great shape, her cholesterol levels are perfect, her lung function is outstanding, and her overall, general health is terrific.

But she still insists on stocking up whenever there’s another news story.  I think her supplement philosophy runs along the same vein as clapping to keep gorillas away.  She claps and can claim that’s why there aren’t any gorillas parked on the sofa.



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