Sunday, June 08, 2008

We're All Gonna Die!

Life used to be much simpler: Ward and June Cleaver could solve any problem in half an hour, you never had to worry about baseball scores on a Monday, and people with severe food allergies died.

Now it's a whole new millennium and I can't get peanuts on an airplane anymore. Today I read this news story about a girl who travels the world disrupting her classmates' dietary plans. First she made her school in Germany institute a policy just in time for her to move to South Dakota. Then her South Dakota school addressed her food allergies, so she moved to West Virginia. Now her school has a food allergy policy, but she says it's not strictly enforced. Says the girl: "Having peanuts in my face is like having a loaded gun held to your head."

Wow. She takes my safety seriously. But I think she meant to say it's like having a loaded gun held to her head, which again is not true because peanuts in her face will kill her, while a loaded gun, despite what media personalities scream at 6, 7, and 11, cannot kill anyone. A gun is like a washing machine: deadly when used against your person, but otherwise harmless.

The girl's mother, jealous of her daughter's skills with hyperbole, says, "Every day I send her out I never know whether or not I'm going to have to go and get her, whether I'm going to be called and told that she's in the emergency room or if she's going to make it that day." That basically describes everyone's everyday life experience. I might expect to hear on tonight's Kansas City news broadcast, "New in the first five minutes: life is a terminal event."

We can all rest assured that something is being done: a minor celebrity has taken up the cause. Of course, he's no Tom Hanks, who could get a bill passed by both houses of Congress in ten minutes, but country music singer Trace Adkins has a popular diet, so you know lots of people are listening when he speaks. Adkins hits the nails squarely on the head when he says, "When I was a kid, I didn't know anybody that had any food allergies." He then proceeds to miss the point entirely when he says, "We're doing something to our babies that are [sic] causing them to develop these allergies."

I think fatalism has gotten a bum wrap lately. There's something to be said for the notion that sometimes people die and go to Heaven. When we stopped believing in Heaven, that was no longer an acceptable answer to life's problems. Now we have to take every possible step to prevent every possible death. If you could die from being in the same room as a peanut, maybe that's Darwin's way of letting you know He wants you dead. (It turns out Darwin is just another name for what I call God, like Allah.) Not everyone gets to live to 90. Some people can't survive a post-Halloween bus ride, and I don't know that that's such a horrible thing.


Cristin said...

How can you have all the products at a school "peanut-free"? What I mean is, there is always going to be someone allergic to something... that doesn't mean you can banish everything that someone might be allergic to, or they'll be nothing.

Nancy said...

i am deeply deeply terrified that we'll end up with a kid with a peanut allergy. not because i'm concerned for them (of course, i would be, unlike my husband with his survival of the fittest, you should be dead way of thinking) but because I LOVE all thing peanut butter.