Spoiler alert: contrary to popular belief, I am not going to live forever. I know that this admission may be shocking to many of you. After all, given the advances in modern science and my (parents’) high-level income, there seems to be no reason that I ever have to bite the proverbial bullet. Except there is. There are several reasons in fact, a variety of medically poor choices I have made about the way I live my life, that will undoubtedly lead to my ultimate demise. Despite slurring the words “I’m gonna live forever!” each and every time I down a shot of Rumplemintz just to remind myself that going to the dentist is a terrible waste of time--see the part about medically poor choices above--the sad reality is that one day those words will become erroneous. One day, I am going to die.
But while death may be coming for all of us starting the moment we first arrive, we don’t have to hasten its pace. I don’t have to continue on the path I’ve been rather willingly going down. I can game the system. I can play the odds. I can use nerd stuff I don’t understand like science and numbers to figure out what I am doing that will eventually kill me and then, conversely, to stop doing those things. I can gather information and then make one of two fundamental choices: change everything about myself and the way I live my life. Or die. As of this moment, I choose to not be dead. So, long story still not brief, these are the things I will need to sacrifice in order to make that happen. These are the things I will need to give up in order to stay alive.
A Small List Of Things Science Is Making Me Give Up In Order To Not Die
1) French Fries-So it turns out that consuming my 4th favorite kind of potato (behind mashed, tater tot and raw) more than 2x/week pretty much ensures that you will die before you reach Jesus’ death age. Or something like that. Either way the scientific community has made it pretty clear that eating the only good thing France has ever done for society on any sort of regular basis will cause you to more less instantly pass away. This will hurt me, since McDonald’s is in my top 7 favorite restaurants within a 40 second drive of my office, but hey, I will just go for breakfast now instead. Because I’ve read this fry study backwards and forwards and I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t say that the hash brown patties they serve at McDonald’s breakfast are bad for you. In fact, I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t mention said hash brown patties at all...
2) Sitting-Sitting has been branded by many health experts as “the new smoking,” which is kinda of ridiculous considering it doesn’t give anyone any sort of buzz unless you count that tingling you get in your buttcheeks when you realized you haven’t moved in the past 6 hours. Nevertheless, the health risks imbedded in a sedentary lifestyle are obvious: heart disease, type II diabetes, even cancer. The solutions, however, are harder to find. Realistically, I sit for more than 14 hours/day, and I am not sure how to change that. I would rather get said diabetes, even if that means never drinking Mountain Dew Code Red again, than work at a standing desk. And walking the 0.4 miles from the office to McDonald’s seems like such a waste when I already own a 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the brass at Mac D’s won’t let people stroll through the drivethrough anyways. Damn managment 1-percenters. Serving delicious and nutritious grub, while never doing the other stuff necessary to help people live longer and healthier lives.
3) (Even) Moderate Alcohol Consumption-In the past several years I have started to moderate my drinking habits, doing things like switching from cans of busch to a mix of bottles and cans and ditching whiskey in favor of vodka and water so that I can be hydrated enough to go rock climbing hammered while never once touching a Michelob Ultra. But it appears as if even those great strides may not be enough. Science, which used to champion the kind of moderate drinking I am currently practicing, is now poo-pooing any sort of alcohol consumption whatsoever. Even moderate alcohol consumption, supposedly, can have a long term effects on the health of your brain, a fact that presents another unsolvable conundrum. One one hand, no I don’t want Alzheimer’s disease. I like remembering when flag day is or what the color orange looks like. But on the other, I also don’t want to be the guy drinking sparkling water at a 40th birthday party in ten years and muttering “is this really all there is to my existence?” while refusing to eat the fries that came with my completely healthy triple cheese burger. Sure, drinking may contribute to your brain turning to mush. But as you can tell from this post, mine isn’t that solid to begin with so...bring it on.
4) Eating Food Off The Floor-So this has now turned into a post about how I will die on my own terms, very quickly, because giving up all of my favorite things seems too painful to even consider handling. That’s why I am going to eat creamed corn for dinner, and not worry about how much of it I spill on the floor. It will be still be good down there until I finish the stuff on my plate. Scientists may differ on whether or not eating off the floor is good for you, but they all seem to agree on this: the sticker the food, the less bacteria it will attract while lying on the hardwood surface you haven’t wet Swiffered in somewhere between 14-17 days.
5) Heroin-When compared to the bits of information concerning french fries, sitting down, booze and floor eating I shared above, which really rocked my world, I find the fact that heroin decreases life expectancy to be far less shocking. For one thing, I am 100% convinced that needles are the literal manifestation of the devil. For another, according to the interwebs, constant H use can cause someone to be severely constipated. And, while I am admittedly no proctologist, I can’t imagine that walking around with all that fecal matter stuffed up inside of you can lead to an extended and more productive life. Now, with that all being said, here’s the rub: while I have never used heroin, and opioid abuse is no laughing matter in modern day America, I will say that taking the chance to try it completely off the table is kinda annoying. Why? Because that means I can’t hang out with John Travolta at an Elvis themed restaurant without facing a significant amount of temptation. And I, like Uma Thurman before me, am very susceptible to temptation. If John Travolta and I hit any sort of dance floor, it’s going down.
This all raises the question, what is living longer worth? Giving up on your John Travolta centric hopes, dreams and movie reenactments? Staying sober at your child’s youth sporting events? Possibly the second one. But my point remains the same. When it is all said and done there are small changes I am willing to make. Eating hash brownies as opposed to fries. Walking on the treadmill instead of sitting underneath it while I watch Bones reruns at the gym because I don’t have cable. Not doing heroin unless I have a once-in-a-lifetime chance I cannot turn down. These are the steps I will take in order to prolong my life. Everything else I wrote about above? Nah, that ain’t me. And if it causes the grim reaper to visit my door a bit earlier than expected? So be it. Bet an icicle will have already taken me out anyway.