You may have seen the “news reports” today about how Five Hour Energy drinks HAVE BEEN BLAMED FOR THIRTEEN DEATHS! AHHHH! SOMEONE CALL THE GOVERNMENT AND START BANNING STUFF QUICK BEFORE MORE PEOPLE DIE!
Of course it’s not until you actually read the article under the sensationalist headline that you discover the fact that “have been blamed” simply means “uncorroborated incident reports were filed with the federal government”. And those “thirteen deaths” have to be looked at in the context of the hundreds of millions of bottles that have been sold. So the real headline is “Less Than a Half of a Half of a Half of a Percent of Five Hour Energy Drinks Sold Have Possibly Hypothetically Caused Fatalities In Individuals Who Likely Had Pre-Existing Health Problems Or Who Consumed Way More of It Than Any Sane Person Would, According to Unsubstantiated Reports”. And of course another way of putting that headline would be “We Don’t Have a Story But We Need You to Click on This Article Because We Get Paid Based on Web Traffic”.
I don’t like the trend I see materializing. Now the FDA is on a crusade against energy drinks and they embark on this crusade with the tacit approval of many Americans who just sort of assume the stuff is dangerous because, you know, it’s got like caffeine and chemicals or whatever in it. What are we thinking here, America? The government hasn’t prohibited enough substances already? We need them to start working on caffeine? Why? Because coffee can kill you if you drink 900 gallons of it in 6 minutes? Where does it end? When every vending machine in the country is stocked with vegetable juice and saltine crackers and I’m in prison for treason against public health for smoking a cigar on my back porch?
It’s ridiculous. We walk around convinced that everything is killing us meanwhile we’re living longer than ever before. I wonder, if we made the world as bland, dull, sanitized and joyless as possible how many years could we all tack onto our already substantial life expectancies?
Conversely, if the government backed out of the “public health” game entirely and all the sudden people were smoking in bowling alleys and bars and buying large sodas in New York and kids were being served french fries at school and I could walk down the sidewalk with a beer in my hand, how many years would that shave off of our collective life expectancy?
Whatever arbitrary number you come up with, it’s a trade I’m willing to make. Life is meant to be lived not wrapped in a protective plastic coating like Grandma’s “nice” couch she’s owned for 32 years and nobody has ever sit in.
There’s no point in preserving something you’re not using.