'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
NEW STUDY: TV WATCHING REDUCES LIFESPAN
Did you read the recent news report about the medical study that indicates watching a lot of TV can cut years off your life? No, of course you didnít read that report because you were too busy watching TV.
The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and it found that every hour spent watching TV can reduce a personís life expectancy by almost 22 minutes.
Whoa, thatís a lot of minutes. Iím not sure if I believe this report. If itís true, then I have been dead for seven years.
It turns out TV itself does not reduce oneís lifespan; itís the various activities that commonly occur during TV watching, the most common activity being inactivity. So a person doesnít lose approximately an hour off his lifespan by watching a three-hour football game on TV, he loses an hour off his lifespan by sitting on his butt shoveling cheese nachos down his throat for three straight hours. OK, itís not actually three STRAIGHT hours. There are many moments when instead of shoveling nachos he is chug-a-lugging Budweiser.
Well, Iíve already watched a million hours of TV so far during my life (give or take a few hours). Thereís nothing I can do about the past. But maybe Iíll avoid reducing my lifespan any further by doing jumping jacks throughout each TV show I watch in the future. Yeah, that could happen. Sure, and me being picked to be the next pope could happen, too.
Sensational health reports always get my attention. Especially reports like this one, which directly impact two of my most favorite hobbies: watching TV and not being dead. But then I remember all the other sensational health reports during the past few decades that turned out to be baloney. (Mmm, baloney. I think Iíll have some baloney while watching TV tonight.)
If the constant barrage of health warnings were actually true, the American population would be extinct by now. Whenever there is a dire health warning, a few years later a new study comes out with the exact opposite conclusions.
For example, a glossy magazine just showed up in my mailbox, published by Prevention Books, a company that sells health and nutrition books. The front page of the magazine says: ďFrom cardiologist Rob Thompson, MD Ė a shocking discovery has BUSTED the myth of forbidden foods. Scientists have just created a NEW list of foods you need to lose weight Ė and it includes white bread, chocolate cake, cookies, butter, and even pure sugar. Almost effortless weight loss without calorie counting, starvation, or sweaty exercise. This is pure weight loss heaven!Ē
So, what do think of them apples? I mean, what do you think of them cookies, huh? If itís right there on the cover of a glossy nutrition magazine that showed up in the mail unsolicited, then you know it must be true.
Do you really want to know what takes years off your lifespan? Iíll tell you what: worrying about what takes years off your lifespan. If the health nannies stopped wagging their forefingers at us, and instead did something usefulólike passing the plate of cheese nachosóthen weíd all be a lot better off.
The key, of course, is moderation. Too much of anything is bad for you. This goes for TV, cheese nachos, Budweiser, and baloney. (I almost wrote ďcookies,Ē but apparently cardiologist Rob Thompson, MD, says the more cookies the better. Woo hoo!)
So tonight I will practice moderation. While watching TV, for every baloney sandwich I eat, Iíll do a jumping jack. That sounds about right.
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