Camel’s back


Sometimes you just have to say somethingShe’s a dear lovely lady who lives down the street.  She just had a double mastectomy for what thankfully was stage 1 cancer which had not spread to her lymph nodes.  She writes gracious letters, as this one was.  She wrote a post script which was the last straw.

I apologize to friends and family who will think this is aimed at them.  It is not.  This is a culmination of almost 30 years of observation and reflection about the forces that bend and shape our society.

The arenas

  • Food
  • Exercise
  • Health
  • Sun
  • Money
  • Child rearing
  • Fashion
  • Education
  • Sex
  • pick your topic

I have previously written on the changes in cooking and health sensibilities, all of which can be documented via cookbooks and diet tomes from the corresponding time periods.  I wrote that as sort of a guffaw on what my sister and I used to refer to as, “We used to know, but now we know for sure.”  The “for sure” is a benchmark which is forever changing, and most frequently in response to an attempt to redirect [your]money.  The methodology to alter your behavior comes in the form of

Alarm Bells

  • It will make you fat
  • Your cholesterol will explodeChicks love polyester
  • Your children will become gun-toting homicidal maniacs
  • It will cause cancer
  • You’ll never pick up women if you’re not wearing a polyester leisure suit
  • The world will melt
  • We’re going to overpopulate
  • The spotted owls are becoming extinct

Alarm bells are other people’s ways of getting you to alter your behavior. As with any good motivator, they are rooted in truth.  OBVIOUS ALARM: If you put 1/3 cup of sugar in each of your 10 daily cups of coffee, you WILL gain weight.  The ostensibly sensible alarms are modified to be evasive, yet allowing everyone to “see” their truths.  The key words to the alarm are small, inserted as a CYA (Cover your Assets) for the writer.  Instead of “1/3 of a cup of sugar,” you can say “regular intake of sugar may cause obesity and has been shown in some studies to break down cellular integrity.”  Now that says, “BE WORRIED,” without really saying anything.  Did the author pour some sugar on a steak and beat the sugared meat with a baseball bat?  Alarms are vague, usually difficult to substantiate, but for “quick thinkers,” sufficient to give us the ammunition to need to change.

A ball and bat together cost $1.10.  The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball.  What does the ball cost?*

Strident warnings are stroked and given validity by the very obvious

“Good” Intentions

  • We’re helping the planet
  • You’ll live longer
  • You’ll be happier
  • You’ll be healthier
  • We want to help you make the right decisions

Now, instead of that massive amount of sugar, you can enjoy those 10 cups of coffee with aspartame and feel smug about the weight you’re not gaining, right?  You may also give yourself props for being eco-minded by reducing your dependence on a soil depleting crop.  Brilliant.  Problem solved.

The ingenious part of this redirection of your money is that it is endless.  Once you’ve switched to sugar substitute, you can sound the cancer alarm bell and move to Agave syrup, which is natural.  Oops, it’s going to hit your system and cause insulin shock.  On to Stevia.  And so on.  If you think there won’t be anything wrong with Stevia because it’s a natural plant product, wait 10 years.  Go ahead, put a reminder in your calendar to check back with this particular post in 10 years and see if I wasn’t right.

Giving the well intentioned social engineer ample room to roll out a new direction for your determination to have everything great is the fact that ANYTHING can be floated as a trial for a time.  In this article, take note of how much money was being made by the cookie diet.  That’s a hunk of change for a few chocolate chips.  Because we’re sensible people, we’d never be sucked in to anything so ludicrous as cookies being good for weight loss, right?

Remember when soy was good for you, a great protein replacement, responsible planet maintenance and useful to women for regulating hormones naturally?  Well we used to know, but now we know for sure that we may in fact be promoting breast cancer with the alternate estrogen.  Oops.

And now the best part – how we facilitate:

Our Arrogance/sinful nature

I can’t speak for the rest of the planet, but Americans sterotypically have a creed, “If some is good, more is better.”

  • A 10 year old Chevy Malibu which runs and gets you from point A to point B is good.  A brand new Lexus crossover with leather seats and voice commands is better.
  • A baby stroller is good.  A padded baby taxi/bed/car seat/floating jet ski (for the toddler stage) is even better.
  • Walking 20 minutes a day is good, working out for 2 hours with a personal trainer and having a massage is better.
  • Weighing 130 is good (women), weighing 108 is massively better.

We need to be the best, have the best, know the most and be loved the best.  If it doesn’t come naturally, we will, by gosh and golly, make it happen.

OK, first of all I have to admit I love the make it happen attitude.  It’s what conservatives love about Ronald Reagan.  We are a great nation, damnit, and we can do what we set our minds to do.

The flip side is it makes us gullible.  Arrogance is a sin.  Sin makes us weak and vulnerable.  We are at the whims of the money movers when we are arrogant.  If a 10 year old Chevy Malibu with a fender missing is good enough for me, all the Lexus ads in the world will not persuade me to part with my money.  If I believe I am worth the effort and money to weigh 108 pounds, I will more easily part with my hard earned cash to buy in to the latest, “you can be great” trend.

Leave room for God

When my then-husband and I moved to our house in N. Seattle many years ago, we rented it from the neighbor who was studying to be a naturopathic physician.  25 years before the current organic/natural/local/traditional wisdom folks, this family was living the philosophy.  He raised bees in back yard hives, used nothing artificial on his garden, ate organic from the local co-op, grew his own herbs for traditional Chinese medicines and ate lots of garlic.  OK, that may have been a taste preference, but gees, they ate garlic scrambled eggs.  I should try them sometime, now that I write that.  They also celebrated Inter-Dependence Day on July 4th with a party usually featuring a lot of nudity which we could see from our back porch.

A couple years after we moved in, they had a son, Ryan.  I used to babysit him as the mother was employed at the Center for Human Services (see what good people they are?).  When the son was 2, the father obtained his ND and the family moved to Bellingham to set up his practice.  I heard of them sporadically from our other neighbors, who were the source of the information that Ryan was in Children’s Hospital at the age of 12.  He had very agressive, very deadly cancer.  He was not expected to live.  He spent a year at Children’s, undergoing massive chemo therapy, radiation therapy and surgery to rid his body of the disease.  I am happy to report that he reached adulthood and is in full remission as far as I can see.

The intent of the family and the approach to their health would be laudable, but it wasn’t enough to safeguard the son.  Things happen.

Atheists can check out here. I don’t mind. It’s a choice you’ve made. Christians and Jews, pay attention.

Scripture tells us that God is 1) the Creator and 2) the Sustainer.  Do a search on the word “sustain” and you will find God reassuring us he takes care; we can rely on him.  He doesn’t promise that bad things (like agressive cancer) won’t happen, but he says he will sustain us.

One of my favorite verses is from Hebrews, chapter 1, verse 3:  And He [Jesus, part of the Triune God] is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. [emphasis mine]

In our sinful arrogance, we believe that we can buy into whatever is going to make us bigger, better, stronger, able to leap tall buildings at a single bound and never have homicidal maniac children.  What we do is forget that God is in charge.  We leave the “your will, not mine” out of the equation, and because the wisdom of God far outshines the wisdom of man, we fall short, usually to our detriment.

Here are some of my God baselines for evaluating (noting that God has no financial stake in any of this)

Food:  If God said it was OK, eat it as close to how He created it as possible, in moderation and only when you’re hungry.  Stop when you’re politely full.

Exercise:  God said, “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread.”  Work at your tasks diligently.  It does say sweat, so if you’re an armchair worker, get up and do something which makes you sweat.  Do your exercise in moderation, remembering that we are to glorify God and that more just self-ingratiates.  Please also note that I fail miserably at the exercise portion currently.

Child rearing:  Just freaking turn to the book of Proverbs.  Read it for yourself as well as your children.

Benchmark on all things – check it against Scripture, do it in moderation and give God the glory.  Do not fall prey to the wisdom of man.

*If you answered “10 cents,” go back and slow down.


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