Friday, March 10, 2006

My Kind of Study



Register columnist

I love the government.

I LOVE it.

The government is like my best friend, telling me that all my instincts are right. That I can have cold meatloaf and coffee for breakfast, and that, no, I don't look fat in these jeans. The government is funding the Women's Health Initiative. And therefore, I love it.

You know those joggers at Bolsa Chica State Beach with bodies so chiseled and sweaty they look like lacquered statues? Yeah. I'm not one of them.

But I'll likely live longer. Or so says my new favorite gazillion-dollar federal research project, the (sigh) Women's Health Initiative.

So far, the initiative has proven that there's little point to eating low-fat diets or taking our vitamins. Oh, and some of the medicine our doctors prescribe might kill us, so nix those, too. (Isn't it just dreamy?) I'm waiting, waiting, waiting for the initiative to rule out any medicinal benefits of exercise. It's gonna happen. I just know it. And when it does, when the Women's Health Initiative tells me that my intense dedication to not exercising makes me a healthier person than all those chiseled Bolsa Chica chicas, I'm going to buy the Women's Health Initiative a diamond ring and I'm going to marry it.

Lacking any initiative of my own, I'm usually wary of things that call themselves "initiatives." But this one's different. This one I love.

Like red meat? Eat it. The Women's Health Initiative says low-fat diets don't protect against breast cancer, colorectal cancer or heart disease. Forgot to take your vitamins? Don't worry about it: Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements don't prevent broken bones. And taking hormone-replacement therapy has more risks than benefits. Yay! See, I love this initiative because I love red meat. And cheese. And red wine and chocolate and, because some of my people came from Eastern Europe, pickled herring. But, more than that, I love when smug, humdrum "common sense" is taken out back and popped in the face with birdshot.

With every WHI finding, researchers are dumbstruck, saying things like, "Well, that's unexpected." And I LOVE that. Because whenever I pick up the paper, I see the results of some $15 million study with findings like "Leaving Ice Cube in Mouth Causes Tongue to Chill," and I think, "I could have told you that. And I wouldn't have needed $15 million to figure it out. Pay my Visa bill, and I'll tell you what happens when someone flushes the toilet while you're in the shower."

But when something unexpected happens, I feel like my tax dollars are actually at work. And when the unexpected validates my lazy existence, it's as though the government were wiretapping my phone and reading my e-mails to make my every dream come true - and not because I have a funny Middle Eastern name.

And so I love the government.

I LOVE it.

Now, be a good little government and fund a study that proves owning a pet monkey increases life expectancies by 10 years. And one that shows a person's intelligence is directly proportional to the number of times she hits the snooze button. Oh, and another that finds sending columnists dark chocolate lowers blood pressure.

Or whatever. Surprise me. I love it.

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