Don't You Know How BAD For You That Is?

Monday, December 2, 2013 | 1 Comment(s)

 As I slide the fuzzy ball of Q-tip deftly into my ear canal, I hear my old college friend's voice come booming emphatically from the other end of our hotel room.  "Don't do that! Don't you know how bad that is for you?!?"

And I guess I don't really understand.  I mean, I honestly don't believe there is any chance of me dying of an over-abundance of earwax.  Do you?  Is that your night terror?  Perhaps it might temporarily occlude my hearing, but actual danger?  This is akin to the feeling I get when being reprimanded by a dental assistant. "Don't you know how dangerous tarter build up can be?"

"i've got a tarter buildup."
No.  No I don't.  I mean, if the answer to that question is "false teeth," then yes, I know about the terrors of tarter.  But I have never seen an angry zombie horde whose gingivitis made their mouth fall out of their head before the brains did.  And, all of the elderly people I know complain much more about their reduced mobility, aching joints, and lack of vision, than the nuisance of having to soak their teeth.  While jamming projectiles into your aural orifice or brushing off flossing are certainly not personally beneficial, in my mind the ever-growing list of things that are deemed to be some manner of bad for you has become so infinitely ubiquitous as to render the phrase meaningless.

Bad for you used to mean something.  And I'm not sitting here pining away for days gone by where you got to walk uphill both ways in the snow to work.  I'm just saying that when my mom told me not to stick my fingers in the electric socket because it was bad for me, everyone can see the rational.  "Matt, don't eat the gum off the bottom of the Faneuil Hall public tables!"  THAT is bad for you.  Eating carbs . . . not so much. 

Nowadays it seems that "bad for you" and "good for you" are just life modifiers indicating if you should add or subtract minutes, hours, or days from your mental life-span clock.   But the problem is that we have no control group.  Sure the average life span is elongating, but the average isn't a reliable enough indicator for something so intrinsically personal.  Perhaps the workaround for this particular problem lies in more precise indicators of how "bad for you" various corrosive life choices really are.

They could range from the very mild "not eating asparagus is Level 1 bad for you; meaning that you should only subtract a matter of minutes from your estimated lifespan.  Now, if you continue chewing that cafeteria table gum, you are ranging into Level 11 bad for you (base 10 is for suckers).  At Level 11 you start seeing the days roll off your life-clock; probably even a few important ones.   And then there are the chronic killers, cigarettes and the like.  Hard not to make these the end of the scale, but they aren't. What they are is Level 18 bad.  You can expect your life to be a few years shorter if you smoke.  That's really common sense at this point, and I'm not preaching, I'm just calibrating my new scale.  If how bad something is for you becomes synonymous with shortening your overall lifespan, then chronic killers like nicotine have to climb pretty high up the scale for it to remain accurate.  Of course, having a chronic attraction to jumping from great heights or racing your motorcycle on working automobile thoroughfares remain atop the chart at level 24: you could go at any time.

Forewarned if forearmed, and this relatively simple codification of risk, eliminates the excuse of plausible deniability.  "Oh . . . I had no idea that setting fireworks off on the tennis courts could result in the loss of a limb?!?"  

"Well, you should of.  It says "Level 14 Bad" in big bold letter right on the side of the canister."  

So when my friend action-star dives across the hotel room to knock the Q-tip out from my fingers, while simultaneously screaming a slow-motion, "Noooooooooooo…," I could just turn to him and say,  in my favorite sarcastic tone, "Chill out man, it's only like, Level 2 bad for me. I think I'll live."

1 comment:

  1. Be sure to floss to prevent a stroke. That would be Level 58 bad man. Strokes suck.