Reading is Ruining My Life

Maybe I read too much. Maybe I take it too seriously. That occurred to me a week ago Sunday when I read the Sunday New York Times Magazine and found out two of my favorite things — sugar and sitting — are bad for you.

Oh, brother. Why don’t they just kill me and get it over with? They’re robbing me of all my little pleasures in life, one by one. I got so demoralized about the whole Sugar Situation that I finally stopped reading the article. Then I went to dinner with my friend, Donna, and she told me she’d read the whole article and it was persuasive. Even honey is bad for you, Donna said. She and I ordered a prix fixe meal that forced us to choose a dessert. We ate the berries, but couldn’t help it when a lot of sugary lemon custard got consumed, too, so I guess we are pretty much doomed.

The week passed with more scientific diatribes about sitting. Sitting! Good lord! I could have sworn sitting showed far more ambition than another of my favorite postures, which is lying. But no. Even when you exercise every day, sitting is still bad for you, they say.

Fortunately, I also read how we hopeless sitters can save ourselves by getting up and stretching and walking. That was the best news I’d read in decades. I realized that all my little trips to pour my coffee, warm my coffee, throw out my coffee, stare out windows, empty the dishwasher and visit the bathroom are quite good for me. This makes me realize that a short attention span and a small bladder — once sources of deep shame — may be something to be proud of.

Also, frequent showers. They must be good, too, since I have to walk all the way to the bathroom. I am convinced I get my very best ideas in the shower. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t, but in any event, I am always very clean.

So far, I haven’t read any uplifting news about sugar, but I’ll keep looking for it. I don’t think my argument that sugar (and carbohydrates) give meaning to my life holds scientific water, but they might make a nice sentiment for a bumper sticker. In the meantime, I have to deal with new survey news I just read that PC users — like me — are boring, traditional and like Jay Leno, instead of Jon Stewart.

Read, get depressed, then rationalize; much of my life has been spent doing that. When my first line of rationalizations fail, I move on to the second and third. I am adept at rationalizing. I will continue to sit and eat sugar, no matter what the scientists say. This will prove I am such a firebrand rebel that I won’t even take the time to try to convince you I don’t like Jay Leno, even if I do have a PC. And now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a shower, where it’s impossible to read.

(Copyright 2011 by Ruth Pennebaker)

Read one of my favorite posts about how to give a woman a compliment without ruining her goddamned day

11 comments… add one
  • I was unfortunate enough to read both articles last Sunday as well. Luckily I take my coffee without sugar. Also instead of getting angry at Pupzilla for needing to go out “again” I thank her for the excuse to get up.

  • I imagine that sometime soon (or already?) there will be a kindle, nook, or whatever which will allow reading in the shower. And then we will have to begin to enjoy sugar while showering and reading, as well. That is just called multitasking-and that is good, right?
    This was a fun post!

  • Indeed, I feel like the more I read … the less I feel OK about what I eat, the things I might buy, how I live my life. Sheesh, a fellow blogger recently went in a rant about how more people load the dishwasher badly because, you know, why not feel inadequate about that while you’re at it.

  • Remember eggs, and how they were supposed to be bad for you – too much cholesterol or something? Well, now they’re just tickety-boo and the more you eat the better. Or something. These warnings come and go, certain foods or lifestyles go up and down, like a hoor’s drawers, as my Irish granny used to say. I’m a great believer in the old saying, “a little of what you fancy does you good,” and to Hades with the naysayers.

  • Just as well I have the attention span of a gnat these days then and am always wandering off. Keeps me from sitting still TOO long at a go. I guess. Of course, I’ve no idea who long is too long. Don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.

  • But sugar mellows you out, right? THAT can’t be bad. 🙂

  • michelle maloney

    The bombardment is relentless! We don’t sit correctly, walk correctly, stand correctly, and certainly we don’t eat correctly we are told all the time. Don’t they realize if they beat us up all the time about what we are not doing correctly (according to the newest newiest), we just get sadder and sadder, thus doing less and less to change. I think I need a glass of wine and something sweet – chocolate sounds good.

  • My goodness! I guess it’s just a matter of time now before Hershey, Cadbury and Mars will be painted as villainous as RJ Reynolds, Lorillard and Phillip Morris by the politically correct. And Dixie Crystals will be big again on the black market like it was during WWII. Teens will be ID checked before making candy and ice cream purchases. But smoking legislation does inadvertently give the populace one benefit– since one has to vacate restaurants, bars, etc, go outside and STAND around to smoke.

  • If you think bathroom breaks, and up for brewing tea saves the sitting doom…than, I won’t worry.

    Bless you for your sugar wantoness… I am the same.

  • Sheryl

    Maybe if you eat sugar standing up you’re safe?

  • Read the sugar story and heard the sitting study — but never would have thought to put them together in this way. It’s true that sometimes it feels like nothing is good for us. So many middle-agers don’t do sugar, salt, fat, carbs, dairy, gluten, meat it can be tough to know what to feed people who come to dinner.

    As for that sitting study: I took it personally. I’m at a desk 8-10 hrs a day, but climb a hill for 90 minutes several times a week. But it’s clearly not enough (and I didn’t need the study to tell me that.) Oy!

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