Up to this point I was feeling calm. I wasn't worried about anything specific, although my brain was probably gnawing on some niggling non-specific thing. But I’ve learned to handle those, and besides, nowadays my mind is loaded with senior’s mental farts. So my worries don’t last long enough to get cemented into my brain, and I simply forget what I’m worrying about and move on to another amorphous concern.
As for the public awareness health commercial...its reason for existence? To remind me of a disease I might’ve otherwise forgotten. I certainly hadn’t been thinking about it while watching the CNN horror show.
But, they were right. I hadn’t been thinking about the dangers of hepatitis and the first question that came to my mind was, ‘Am I now better off, physically, mentally or spiritually by being reminded of this disease’?
But, praise the Lord, I’d been freed from my ignorance. Seen the light.
“Here, boy. Yes, you. Catch this fifty-dollar bill and buy me the big turkey in the butcher shop’s window. And be quick about it. I’m so happy I don’t know what to do with myself. Oh my!”
And so on and so on.
Thank you, public awareness people. I will always be in your debt for my chronic low-grade anxiety.
Or when I’m sitting in a doctor’s office, feeling my blood pressure rising because I’m reading all the disease warnings and helpful tips which are pasted all over the waiting room walls, I can now look for the hepatitis one and say, “I know about you. I’ve been informed.”
Then the nurse will call me into the examining room, take my blood pressure, say, “Tsk tsk,” and put in an order for a new blood pressure monitor.
I sometimes wonder if too much public awareness isn’t more useful to and lucrative for the psycho-pharmacy industries’ investors? Just wondering.
There are so many things I already worry about. Aren’t we all surrounded by our own real life worries outside of the numerous public awareness commercials? Which I think have created in our society something I like to call the ‘Baby Seat Syndrome’. Which, in my mind, just means worrying to excess about dangers that statistically have less chance of happening to us than being hit by lightning.
Why, it’s hard to get through a day without my being aware that I’m doing wrong things all over the place. Let me give you an example. Let’s take a day from last week and discover how many times I did things that went against the consciousness-raising adverts.
I also drank orange juice and swallowed some supplements. Oh dear. Orange juice, I’ve been informed, contains the equivalent of a teaspoon of sugar or something ridiculous like that. And the supplements! Well, they’re not properly controlled, or may not have as much in them of what they say they have in them. Or they can cause all kinds of medical problems. Maybe hepatitis. Who knows?
But, I swallowed them anyway. The dangers be damned and the juice tasted delicious although I’ve heard that there may be less juice in the container than you think.
I ate toast which wasn’t gluten free and I put butter on it. Oh god, I’m going to get wheat belly, or already have it, or is that beer belly? What am I doing to myself? And butter! Well that’s almost a swear word for cholesterol and I drank tea, which we found out a few weeks ago is full of insecticides. However, we have switched to another kind of tea that is supposed to be insecticide free, but who knows?
I grabbed a bottle of water and felt guilty about the recycling thing and I’ve heard you can get cancer from the plastics they use. And I ate a banana, which I’ve heard is not as nutritious as you may think. I deliberately avoided looking into this claim, so I could remain comfortably uninformed.
I drove to town and polluted the atmosphere with non-carbon-taxed gasoline. Guilt! Guilt, because I believe we have to cut down on carbon.
I parked the truck and walked into an arena which had just had its ice flooded by an ice-making machine. Which apparently can leave residual gas fumes in the arena for a long time after it’s used. So I was skating to keep in shape, but maybe wrecking my lungs doing it. Oh, I forgot to mention asthma. I’ve heard tell about that too and I know it’s no fun.
I then had lunch at a tea shop. So many choices. All shouting, “Unhealthy! Unhealthy!”
“What would you like, sir?”
I whisper, “Our Father which art in Heaven——“I’ll have the ham and cheese sandwich.”
“On what kind of bun?”
I whisper, “...hallowed be thy name.” I say, in a trembling voice, “Sesame.” You see, I hadn’t heard anything bad about the actual sesame seeds although the buns are riddled with public health warnings.
“Would you like mayonnaise or butter or both?”
Oh god, not both for sure, but which one? Which one? I’m sure you see my predicament. I’m almost positive you’ve heard about Mr. Mayonnaise. Surely you have. What to do? What to do? I chose butter. Why? It has fewer letters.
And I had another tea. Hoped it wasn’t the one with the bug killers in it.
“What size, sir?”
I ordered small. Paid for my lunch and then walked the tea cup over to the dispensary counter. I put a little milk in the tea, because, well, I’ll tell you in a minute, and I used milk because I thought cream was richer and therefore worse. And I used brown sugar instead of white sugar because white sugar has had the proverbial crap beaten out of it by public awareness officials.
“Drink up your milk. IT’S GOOD FOR YOU. BUILDS UP YOUR BONES.”
Well, that was, apparently, stupid advice. Because I’ll tell you what a very intelligent person told me. This person was so smart and intelligent that she had to toss two thousand words from her vocabulary so she could talk to a verbal wretch like me.
This educated hepatitis-informed person told me, in all sincerity and good faith, that milk has been the greatest food fraud ever perpetrated upon mankind. I looked up the word, ‘perpetrated’ and was devastated. Then I looked up the word, ‘devastated’ and was filled with great anxiety. My gosh, to think how long I’d been duped. Hoodwinked while standing in my mother’s kitchen, after a hard day of play, swallowing down an ice-cold glass of milk. Tasting so good, feeling no guilt. Just a little uninformed kid with chocolate chips smeared all over his lips and fingers. Lies! All lies!
I said, “Hallowed be thy name,” before I carried out my next task, which was booking an appointment for my truck to get a safety certificate so I could pollute more air.
I then crossed myself before walking into another coffee shop. I’m a fool and a masochist. At this coffee shop I bought an iced coffee drink. Even though I’d been warned by a person in the know, that the machines that make the drinks aren’t always well maintained and can be filled with bacteria and bug nests, and the soaps they use to clean the machines, to get rid of the bad boy bugs, are cancer-producing and she would never drink that stuff because the friend who gave her this information used to work at a coffee shop and so she’d know.
I then headed home. Sucking the toxic drink through a straw, merrily carbonizing the atmosphere and looking at the beautiful forests on the gorgeous mountains, worrying that I was as bad as the clear-cutters. The scars they had left were visible to my eyes. And maybe, while driving home, I might be crushing bugs and tiny critters under my toxic rubber winter tires, which have studs, which, I have been informed, are destroying the concrete, which will increase our taxes.
Later on, I sat down in the woodshed and drank some beer, while trying to ignore the fact that the woodshed was built with green pressed lumber, which apparently is toxic.
However, I’ve found if I have enough beer, I stop thinking about these public awareness things and begin to enjoy the world I was lucky enough to be born into. Won the lottery, so to speak. And I watch the birds, who seem to be unworried about the toxins in the sunflower seeds. And I realize that the wasps, who are gone now, were the very least of my worries, unless, of course, I raise my public awareness about them, but I have no intention of doing that.
In summary, I realize that many of the awareness issues are important and all of them can affect the lives of some people. Sometimes in very tragic ways.
So, you can look at this blog in the spirit in which it was written, or as alternative news.
William Ellery Channing