You Are What You Eat
Meanwhile, according to annual surveys from Mediamark Research Inc., the median age of readers of a collection of more than 90 popular magazines in a variety of categories increased from 39.8 to 41.8, between spring 2002 and 2007. The median age of newspaper readers is probably somewhere about 90 by now.
Clearly there is a connection between last century's mass media and aging. For example, since you are actually reading something (this column), you will die pretty soon. I'm sorry--I don't make the rules. On the bright side, since your kids spend all of their waking hours in front of video games or ignoring you with their iPod ear buds selectively shutting out anything you shout about "homework," "garbage," "cleaning your room," or "cutting the grass," they may live forever.
For years we were warned about the evils of watching too much TV. It would make you stupid. Check. It would make you a lardass. Check. It was the real "opiate of the masses." Check. It would make you a Republican--whoops, sorry, that is only Fox. It would make you violent and sex-crazed. Check. But nobody said anything about it making you older. What's that about? What's worse, so does reading magazines. And a newspaper subscription is, well, a virtual death sentence.
Geez, nothing makes sense any more. Used to be, "don't eat eggs." Then a couple years later, whoops, it's OK to eat eggs. There was a whole diet built around eating steak. Now, they say you might as well swallow a box of carpet tacks. I remain convinced that it's only a matter of time before we discover the TRUE carcinogens all along were green vegetables, tofu, fruit and beans, and that the ONLY thing that has kept you alive has been auto emissions, tobacco, alcohol and chocolate. In the same spirit, it is clear we now know that traditional offline media will age you faster than a summer at the beach without sunscreen.
Since you pay for municipal tap water marked up 4,560% and sold under exotic labels, and do enough Stairmaster to run from Sheboygan to Calabasas without moving an inch, and you tell your doctor you really only have "two drinks a day" during that annual physical, it is my duty as your health advisor to more clearly outline the impact of various media on your well-being.
Cell phones: Ignore warnings about them radiating your brain with overuse, but DO NOT ignore a driver coming at you with a cell phone to her ear. Someone will ask you for your next of kin in short order.
Internet: Can become temporarily addicting, especially if you are into Second Life, Bejeweled or pornography. Boredom eventually sets in--and you go online just to see what time the movie starts and if the R rating includes nudity.
Radio: Exists only to wake you and make you look like an asshole to other drivers when you air-guitar "Whole Lotta Love." Increasingly, only plays salsa.
Movies: Will make you feel like a schmuck for spending $3.19 a gallon to get there, $20 for two tickets, $12.50 for some popcorn and a couple of drinks--only to be surrounded by ringing cell phones, people who talk out loud throughout, and a floor so sticky, walking on it pulls your shoes off.
Books: Can contribute to feelings of superiority when announcing loudly to dinner party that you have just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns. But can also tap into deep-seated insecurities when those who didn't skip over middle eight chapters engage in intense discussion of same.
CDs: Ages you by the second unless you assembled playlist and burned in past four days. Referring to actual "purchase" of music results in automatic octogenarian status.
Video Games: Gives false illusion of ability to reproduce observed stunts in real life. Results in repeated orthopedic visits.
Reading "Over the Line": Increases virility, improves vocabulary and provides overall sense of well-being. Unless you happen to be featured therein.
The story you have just read is an attempt to blend fact and fiction in a manner that provokes thought, and on a good day, merriment. It would be ill-advised to take any of it literally. Take it, rather, with the same humor with which it is intended. Cut and paste or link to it at your own peril.