What's So Funny: How to pick your poison

A recent Newsweek article hammered on Oprah Winfrey because a few guests on her show recommended personal health secrets that might not work for everyone.

Suzanne Somers swears by “bioidentical” hormones to stay peppy, and other guests say spiritual positive thinking cures everything, from personal dissatisfaction to cancer.

The Newsweek article quoted some health professionals saying that providing a forum for this kind of thing is medically irresponsible.

But why shouldn’t Oprah let these people pitch their methods if they believe in them? Can’t people brag about how healthy they are?

It’s our nature to crow when we’re feeling good, and to offer our sage advice to anyone who’ll listen. Those of us who make it past 50 without keeling over tend to assume that 1) our method of survival will work for others, and 2) it will keep working.

So why shouldn’t Oprah open America’s mind to some of our more distinctive survival methods? I say this because I’d like to get increased exposure for the health regimen I put forth in this column a while back.

My method, you may recall, is to rotate my poisons and their areas of attack. At 20 I started assaulting my lungs and liver by smoking and drinking, but after 15 years or so I quit those and switched to fatty foods and colas, which endangered different organs.

After my third kidney stone I said farewell to the colas and now I eat these new giant peppermint Life Savers, crunching about 25 a day. My intention is to switch to something else just before my teeth fall out.

Unlike the Somers’ method, my recipe allows you to indulge in everything bad for you as long as you don’t persist in any single one to the point of catastrophe.

It does require delicate timing.

I’d like to promote it on “Oprah” while I’m still able. Then the audience could make up its mind whether to go the Suzanne Somers way, or my way, or play it safe and take the health-professional route. Oprah can’t make this decision for us, but she can present the alternatives. That’s the American way.

The truth is Oprah has done more good for more people than Somers or I or the Newsweek writer ever will. Even if I appeared on her show, her overall record would still be positive.

So if you know her, you might tell her there’s a guy in Laguna Beach whose longevity secret is booze, cigarettes, ribeye steaks, caffeine and candy, and she should hurry up and book him before it’s too late.


SHERWOOD KIRALY is a Laguna Beach resident. He has written four novels, three of which were critically acclaimed. His novel, “Diminished Capacity,” is now available in bookstores, and the film version is available on DVD.

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