Taking our Health for Granted

Carrie Rubin recently wrote a post – It’s Easy to Take Our Health for Granted until It’s Taken from Us – describing her mother’s unfortunate ongoing health issues.  Unlike me, Carrie’s mom has retained a sense of humor through all this adversity.  In comparison, I would bitch, moan and complain about every insignificant problem – ingrown toenail, flea bite, that zit that always arises at the end of my nose – in the vain hope that it would ward off more serious problems.

As Carrie points out “Many ailments like [her] mother’s aren’t due to our poor behaviors, and many of our poor behaviors aren’t due to a lack of willpower. Our health is such a priceless commodity […] and yet we humans purposely do things we know aren’t good for us.”

So why do we systematically take our health for granted?

Faulty logic – Many of us don’t like going to the doctor. We argue (I argue) that the results are the same:  Either the doctor tells us that we are fine in which case we did not need to go or the doctor tells us that we have a problem in which case we wish we had not gone.

Avoidance part 1 – We avoid the obvious, men in particular. The fact that we can no longer stand up straight or bend our knees or that we donate blood whenever going to the bathroom is of no significance.  If a man loses his arm, he will still not want to go to the emergency room saying “It’s okay; it will grow back.”

Avoidance parts 2 – Studies have shown that daily exercise increases longevity by three years. Of course, most of that extra longevity was spent exercising.  Take out the extra time exercising and you only increase your longevity by three days.  In the words of www.despair.com , “Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.”

Pleasure seeking part 1 – I was touring Yosemite National Park a number of years ago and watched what I thought were bugs crawling up the side of El Capitan, the granite monolith extending about 3000 feet from base to summit. With strong binoculars, I realized that there were several teams of climbers scaling a shear face of rock.  It was far easier for me to watch than to participate.  Thrill seeking activities come with the risk of injury, sometimes fatal injury.  On the other hand, if you are going to die of something, make it something you like. ***

Pleasure seeking part 2 – Why do we consume in excess items that are injurious to us like cigarettes, alcohol or drugs? Because, we argue, they make us feel good.  If one of these is good, then two, three or forty-nine of these must be better.  Besides, they create jobs for the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as stimulate the economy.  If we collectively stopped consuming these items that are bad for us, we would send the financial system in a tailspin.

So, put up your feet, sit back on your fat butt, take a swig of rotgut, a drag on your cigarette, and watch endless reruns on the TV knowing that you are doing your part for the health of the economy.  Sacrificing your own health was never easier.

Taking health2



***Registered trademark, watermark, patent and copyright of Curmudgeon-at-Large. If you use this phrase without my permission and without sending me big bucks, a million fleas will infect your armpits.  I point out that it is not easy to train a million fleas to attack and infect armpits.

Fallen Arches Redux

Writing the romance_picture copy    Fallen Arches title copy      Fallen waldorf


I am on a short (several week) break.  In my absence, I direct your attention to Fallen Arches.

Fallen Arches is my silly effort at poking fun at romance novels.  Both Carrie Rubin and Diane Henders have been kind and big-hearted enough (and foolish enough) to allow me to take their novels and turn them into mincemeat with my perverted version of heart-throbbing and head-aching romance.  See The Minot Misery and Corned Beef on Spy, respectively.  Madame Weebles‘ post on Search Terms: WTF Edition and Alex Trebek inspired me to write a parody entitled Double Jeopardy.

[As an aside, I do note that no one has asked me to do this a second time.]

Other vain and misdirected efforts include an envious vampire, a lonely housewife, and a would-be gangster.  I have sought out every genre from dinner parties to detectives to outer space to mystical transformations. I have written them based upon search terms and multiple choice: No theme is beyond my ability to reduce it to crappy pulp.  They are all listed under “Romance Novel?” in the Types of Gripes.

But, as you know, I’m not original and I am always looking for material.  If any of you wish to have your novels, journals or articles reduced to mushy, illogical, sentimental rubbish, then please send me your ideas and I will ruin them post-haste (or whenever I feel like it).

When I return, I will give your comments the attention they deserve.  In the meantime, you can waste your time and waste away your brain perusing through the chapters of  Writing the romance_fallen copy.

The Minot Misery

; Novellas of Broken Romance.

[With thanks and apologies to Carrie Rubin.  Carrie, please don’t wish a plague on me.  Read more here about Carrie Rubin’s new novel The Seneca Scourge.]


Chicken feed.  People always laughed when Ben Johnson told them he worked for chicken feed.  That’s what he did: deliver chicken, hog and cattle feed to farmers and ranchers on over a thousand miles of land in the Plains States, mainly the Dakotas.  Yeah, it brought a smile to their faces when he told them but, right now, Ben’s face wore a grimace of pain.  He was focused on getting back to Minot, his home, as quickly as his truck and this damned case of the trots would let him.  What the hell had he eaten to give him something this god-awful?  He squirmed uneasily in his seat as his belly and guts rebelled for the umpteenth time.  He could not get to Minot’s Walter E. Feckle Emergency Clinic soon enough.

The Walter E. Feckle Emergency Clinic sat unobtrusively in a one story building off Second Avenue in downtown Minot, next to the “Why Not Minot?” billboard erected by some civic-minded citizens a few years back.  Walter E. Feckle, a successful plains farmer had, many years ago, used his fortune to create the small clinic that bore his name and had funded positions for its small staff of doctors, including one for blood relatives, like his great-grand daughter, Dr. Beverly Baudot.

Beverly Baudot was the spitting image of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, except not as smart.  The good graces of family connections had gotten her a position at the clinic after a number of less than stellar performances at more recognized centers elsewhere.  Beverly tried to make up in enthusiasm what she lacked in professional knowledge.  Fortunately the clinic was also staffed by other physicians whose skill and professionalism attempted to cover any discrepancies caused by Beverly’s presence.  The head of staff was the handsome but aloof Dr. Brad Zilfer, a Christian Slater look-alike, who Beverly admired and lusted after.

It was the handsome Dr. Zilfer who walked in on Beverly and her patient, Ben Johnson, as Beverly, wanting to impress Dr. Zilfer, explained the results of her tests.  Ben Johnson wore an expression of both concern and pain on his face as his listened to Beverly’s prognosis.

“Yes, it says here on page 178 that all such occurrences should be treated with some antibiotics as well as …”

Dr. Zilfer interrupted with incredulity: “Page 178 of WHAT?!  Are you using a novel to treat this patient?!”

Beverly, startled, responded: “Why, yes, they come in quite handy and this one, The Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin, is very well researched and written.”

Dr. Zilfer’s eyes grew large like a two ripe melons.  “You realize that it is a book of fiction and, however well written, cannot be used to diagnose a patient.”

Beverly retorted “But its medical topics, especially with regards to pathogens, are as good a job of medical research as you can find.  Besides, it’s so much more interesting than a boring medical journal.”

“Dr. Baudot,” Brad became formal in his indignation, “we are physicians, not fiction readers.  We can’t have our patients believing that we get all our information from dime store novels.”

“But I told you, it’s NOT a dime store novel.  It’s a well-written and well-structured book that explains exactly how a pandemic occurs.”

“Pandemic!”  Dr. Zilfer nearly jumped out of his uniform, “We are dealing with a bad case of diarrhea, not a pandemic!  Do you realize what alarms you could raise if you start spreading the word that we have a pandemic on our hands?  We had enough trouble last month when you misdiagnosed that case of measles and we had half the town thinking that we had a breakout of cholera.”

Beverly sighed.  This was probably not the best moment to tell Dr. Zilfer about her reliance on Diseases for Dummies.  She could have prevented her mistake if only The Seneca Scourge had been in print a month earlier.  She hoped Carrie Rubin would be starting her next book soon.


Read more here about Carrie Rubin’s new novel The Seneca Scourge.]