It seems like every day there is a new study or a new test result that proves something is very, very bad for you. From cellphones to plastic water bottles, almost everything has become taboo. John Tierney, of the International Herald Tribune, is as sick of it as we are (though, as a member of the press, just as guilty) and has taken it upon himself to make a list of things you should stop worrying about - it's summertime after all!
He leads off with the ever-pervasive fear of hot dogs. I've never been happier to see the much-maligned food on listicle in my life. Everybody knows that hot dogs are the food you hate to love. So, let's just get over the hate and feel the love. Hot dogs don't cause cancer and a recent study shows that saturated fat isn't always the cause of weight gain. (He explains more, but really, that's all you need to know.)
Second on the list is the carbon footprint left by your car's A/C. I, for one, had no idea that was even a carbon worry - for two reasons: one, um, you're already driving a car and two, i live in New York. Anyway, as it turns out, opting for an open-window policy instead of A/C causes enough aerodynamic drag (thus, increasing your fuel consumption) that the whole thing evens out.
Number three is something about tropical fruit and the carbon footprint of shipping it, but he lost me at kiwi. I love those damn fruits so much that there's no way I'm saying no. Who eats apples anyway? Mangoes are where it's at.
Number four touches on the whole "cellphones cause cancer" debate - which is far, far too complicated for me to even address. The bottom line? Try and cut down, but don't kill yourself. (Or, do - depending on how you look at it.)
Five and six go hand-in-hand as far as I'm concerned: plastic water bottles and plastic bags. Plastic bottles - do people really stress about this? It's not that complicated to get yourself one of those fancy metal bottles or to, you know, use a glass. It really shouldn't be causing you that much worry anyway. And as for plastic bags - like the Environmental Protection Agency says, paper bags ain't so great either, so unless you're extra awesome (which, ideally, you should be) and using cloth bags, stop stressing at the check-out. Let's be honest, you probably drove to the store (blasting your A/C, no less) anyway.
Ha ha! Number seven is about shark attacks. I know it's shark week on Discovery and all, but this is kind of like being worried about getting struck by lightening. It's probably not going to happen, and if it does, there wasn't a whole lot you could do to prevent it.
Hmmm, eight has got me a little torn. John says we shouldn't be worrying about missing ice in the Arctic. He points out that this summer there's more ice than last summer, but agrees that doesn't necessarily rule out a long-term problem. I agree with that, but I also don't want people thinking everything is hunky-dory. The compromise might be to worry, but don't worry yourself sick. Just do the best you can.
And number ten has got to be a joke. There's something about unmarked wormholes -- as opposed to marked ones? -- and alternate universes. If you're worrying about that, I'm not sure that any "10 Things To Stop Worrying About" list is really going to help you.
On that note, what do you worry about? Agree / Disagree with any points on the list? Let's talk this out, people.