I read an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the other day talking about being a green parent.
I wasn’t reading it out of particular interest. I just happened to be in a position where I was, um, isolated and out of things to read, if you catch my drift.
One of the blurbs I caught in the article called for parents to spend the extra bank and buy an actual wooden crib rather than one made out of wooden composites. The reasoning behind it was that the faux-wood incorporates some sort of degrading something or another that releases a microscopically insignificant amount of a form of formaldehyde gas which can potentially harm the environment and (brace yourself) possibly your baby!!!
Cue the dramatic score.
Every day, something comes out in the news that’s good or bad for you. I realize that I’m certainly not the first to talk about this. I will admit it. In response to a newspaper article like this, I feel it necessary to have my opinion tossed on the pile.
We live in, as Hunter Thompson said, a Kingdom of Fear. It seems like every five minutes, there’s something else to be afraid of in this country stemming largely from the Western philosophy’s deeply instilled fear of death. Were it not for this looming dread, we would largely not care.
The paranoia of our society has some people tilting so hard at those windmills that they wind up walking around wearing surgical masks as if there’s going to be a pandemic-level outbreak at any given moment. These same people also fool themselves into thinking that it’s going to drastically increase their survivability if they wear a surgical mask everywhere they go.
We are so afraid of death that we have teams of scientists working around the clock to figure out the next big thing that could very well kill us all. The History Channel has been running specials pretty much every weekend regarding different methods of apocalypse, all of which end with the utter destruction of humanity with so-called “experts” touting that just about every one of them is right around the corner.
If you ask anyone from the World War II era, and there are quite a few still around, what things were like as far as health concerns, they’ll probably be able to tell you that four out of five doctors preferred Lucky Strike brand cigarettes. Some of the more gruff gentlemen, especially those that served, would tell you that if you smoked those cigarettes with a filter on them, you were a pussy.
We’ve come along way from there to the Truth campaign (which, incidentally, is sponsored by Big Tobacco).
To the modern generation, these old-timers must seem like cavemen.
They ate bacon and unprocessed red meat with reckless abandon, they drank like fish, they smoked like chimneys, their water was not necessarily purified, there were no airbags, they did not use Purel every five seconds, and they absolutely did not fist-bump. Even after all of that, it may shock some people to hear that they have survived. They lived well into their later years, most of them. Sure, some died at 60, but others are now over 90, my grandmother included.
These people are made of iron. Why? Certainly not from being overly careful as to what they ingested. There are some in their 90s who refuse to give up smoking. More power to them, I say. You’re fucking 90. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.
I saw an advertisement that came out of the 30s proclaiming jar-kept tapeworms as a miracle diet. Not that this was necessarily a good thing, but this just illustrates how little they cared about what they put into their bodies back then. I’m sure everyone who took up the tapeworm diet was pretty well rotten in the ground before I was even a consideration in the eyes of the universe.
My real point here is this:
Are we, by being overprotective of ourselves due to an overlying fear of death, setting ourselves up for doom? There are enough people in the world who do not realize that washing your hands every five minutes with anti-bacterial soap, or pouring on the Purel after touching any surface, could be contributing to the mutation of dangerous strains of bacteria that may someday overcome these such antiseptic agents. That study is real. Look it up.
Are we, by processing our food and irradiating things to make sure that all we ingest is pure and 100% germ free, setting ourselves up for a plague by weakening our immune system to the common, everyday, here-to-fore disregarded germs we would have normally taken in on a regular basis eating older school food? It already happens when one of us from the world of processed foods (myself included) eats or drinks something considered “organic”. The lack of preservatives and other germ-preventing agents gives me a stomach ache just thinking about it. That’s not a disgust factor, that’s just real. It’s happened to me and it ain’t pretty. If you try to grow an apple tree after the apocalypse (if you happen to be a survivor) expect this pain.
Are we, by taking too many preventative measures against every conceivable cause of death, not just tempting fate to come up with something ultimately more sneaky and horrible with which to kill us all? Stop global warming and you’ll still have to worry about the giant asteroid. Stop the giant asteroid, you’ll have to worry about nuclear holocaust. Create world peace, you’ll wind up back at global warming again.
The more we fight, the more we attempt to preserve ourselves and try to stop the death train, the crazier the causes of death are going to become. Hear me out, here.
Once we get to the point where we can stop the potential world ending scenarios, the peace of mind is going to last a grand total of five minutes before someone else comes up with something to worry about on a global scale.
What’s the conclusion, then?
Stop worrying about dumb shit like what’s in your damn crib. It worked for you and you turned out ok. Your kid should be just fine if you can’t afford the extra hundred or so bones in this fucked up economy. The whatever microscopic gas released from its decomposition will not harm or kill you, your baby, your dog, the spiders that live in the corner of your room, or the ever-present microbes crawling on the rail of the crib itself.
When you die, you will die, and there won’t be much you can do about it. Kick and scream though you might, to die is to die. You can’t really object when it’s your time.
Scary as it sounds, it’s the flattest of all facts. Ben Franklin said the two constants in life are death and taxes. Well, you can dodge taxes forever if you’re smart, but death is completely unavoidable.
I’m not saying it’s a good thing, I’m just saying not to worry about it. Death is sad, yes. Death is scary, yes. But there’s no sense in letting it dominate your life. If all you worry about is injury and sickness and death, you are NEVER going to have a life. Ever.
Sorry to be such a downer on my third entry here, but it’s something I’m passionate about. Bear with me. I only hope to inspire the carpe diem philosophy. I promise, there will be a brighter and more fun entry ASAFP.
Keep fighting the good fight. Until you drop.
I have to say well said. Im a big propriter of this shit your talking about. The same green bullshit that is scaring parents is the same thing that (as George Carlin once said) is leading to the Pussification of todays youth. Overprotective partents leading kids to have no fucking immune system and then wondering why things are so bad with thier health when thier older. I grew up believing a little dirt never hurt, and now at the age of 25, i rarely get sick (with the sole exception of my appendix exploding, which had nothing to do with germs). When i have kids, i want them to roll in the dirt in a rain storm. I want them to drop shit on the floor and impliment the five second rule. Wait check that, fuck the five second rule, no mold, eat it. My overall arching point i guess in what im trying to get out is, like you said, people need to fucking stop being so scared, and just let shit happen.
I feel like you’re kinda mixing up two different things – being green for the environment, and worrying about a childs safety. I completely agree with you about not freaking out about what your kid is exposed to, however I do believe in being green. Some people take it to another level, but I do try to go green with certain aspects of my life. I try to bring my reuseable bags to the grocery store when I think about it. I don’t really throw much away that can be easily reused, instead I donate my unwanted things to a goodwill. I choose to walk to places that are close by, rather than getting into a car.
If you’re worried about your kids future, you should worry more about what you’re doing to the environment rather than worrying about germs or whatnot that your kid is exposed to.