The Soapbox

Daily Diatribe 4/14/97:"I don't want to know!"

We know too much. I'm sure of this. Half of what's bad for us is only bad because we know about it. This explains the long healthy lives led by the wine-swilling, cholesterol-gorging, and blissfully ignorant French. Relax, mes amis français. I bear you no ill will. I'd like to eat chocolate sandwiches and triple creme brie thrice daily with a jeroboam of beaujolais nouveau right along with you. But I've been forced to read Enter the Zone so I can't eat anything without forcing it through the healthy little sieve in my brain that reduces it to friendly proteins and evil complex carbohydrates. I'm just jealous is all. And hungry.

I've known the dangers of everything ever since I can remember. And consequently, I never managed to have much fun. I didn't run around barefoot (ringworm and fear of wide feet). I didn't play in piles of autumn leaves (head lice -- learned that one the hard way). I didn't cross the street (vehicular manslaughter). I didn't smoke (bad breath and yellow teeth -- cancer was always on the outside of that discussion). I didn't do drugs (fear of doing something of which I would be ashamed -- particularly something involving nudity). I washed my hands before eating and never went to bed without bathing and brushing my teeth. I was raised to be self-conscious, practical, cautious -- basically to make choices as if I might someday be reviewed by a congressional subcommittee or run for public office. Thank goodness I've denounced that approach. I haven't shaken its hold completely, but my heart is in the right place.

Hedonism is healthy. It's part of the Constitution. And you don't have to be a follower of some half-man half-goat guy who plays a wooden flute to apply this truth to your life. I'm not free enough a spirit yet to do anything really zany and gratifying, but I can indulge in little acts of rebellion like refusing to order anything off the menu that has a cute little heart-healthy icon next to it. Sticking the Q-Tips all the way IN my ear. And sampling the seedless grapes at the grocery store when no one's looking -- UNWASHED! (That's a tough one.) I exhort you, fellow straightlaced sensible folk. Take risks! Defy convention! Eat fatty foods! Buy porn when someone from your church is in line behind you at the convenience store! Ask your flight attendant for seconds! Seize the freaking day! Au nom du Père et du Fils et du Saint-Esprit, Ainsi Soit-Il.

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