By Dale Eckert
Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in the world who sees through all the health-hype. These days, you can’t pick up a magazine without reading about some nonsense guru pushing his macrobiotic, non-smoking, alcohol-free, marathon lifestyle. Whew! I’m tired just saying that.
And, well, that’s the problem with good health. It’s hard work. Now, I’m all for hard work, so long as it’s well paid. But health? When’s the last time you ever got paid for drinking a Diet Pepsi?
In fact, it actually costs more money to be healthy. Go to your grocery store and compare a package of ‘fattening’ bacon strips to some ‘low-fat’ tofu. Which one is ‘healthier’ and which one’s going to cost more? The boring old tofu, I think. And, folks, it just ain’t worth buying into this corporate scam.
Bacon is tastier.
As far as I’m concerned, there’s really nothing to be gained by staying healthy. It’s wildly overrated.
Now, being unhealthy, on the other hand, has its perks.
Since switching to an unhealthy lifestyle 20 years ago, people’s expectations of me have dropped significantly. So when my kids are like, “Daddy! Come play soccer! Come play Frisbee,” I just ask them if they want to see their pops have a heart attack in the middle of the lawn and they shut up real fast.
I also love the convenience of ordering food at a restaurant. When people walk into Starbucks and have to spew out some ridiculous sentence like, “one non-fat soy latte and a zero trans fat bran muffin with flax seeds, please,” I just say, “anything with caffeine and whipped cream, go go go.” It saves a lot of time.
All of that unhealthy food means more doctor visits, which means more time with free waiting room magazines. But talking with other patients is definitely the highlight. Some of the other people there are pretty inspiring. Last week I met a guy who had been smoking for thirty-eight years and I was like, Whoa, can you imagine? That’s determination, that’s stamina. I talked to my doctor, and he said it was doubtful that I could keep eating the way I do for thirty-eight years, but I’ve never been a quitter. Except for gym class.
The sense of community my lifestyle builds is also incredible: I’ve made some great connections with the staff at my local McDonald’s. I go through the drive-thru at least twice a day, and the kid working at window three always notices when I get a haircut.
Jerry, the McDonald’s kid, even noticed when my skin started looking real pale. He was like, “Dude, what’s happening to you?”
I quickly reassured him that it’s just the accumulated effect of too much smoking, beer, and sleep deprivation. I’m pretty sure he wants to be just like me when he grows up. I always wanted to be someone like me when I was a kid. We unhealthy people have that I don’t give a shit (and can barely take one!) attitude.
Eating fruits and vegetables, running a couple times a week–sure, those things may extend my lifespan, eliminate the searing pains in my gut and chest, and make me a happier person overall. But come on! There’s nothing better than a hot bucket of KFC on a summer morning. It makes me sad to think about all of the things healthy people are missing out on.