Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

The Latest "FEAR OF THE WEEK"


I kind of enjoy keeping up to date on all the things people need to be afraid of. Maybe it's because I always seem to be the one the fear mongers are talking about. It's sort of like I'm the Poster Guy For Bad Habits.
As everyone must know by now, the Fear of the Week for the end of October and beginning of November is being overweight. Now this is an old fear with a new twist so some people may not have been paying attention. That means it bears repeating here as a public service.
This time the folks who spend their working hours coming up with this stuff aren't talking about being grotesquely fat, they are saying a few extra pounds around the midsection is all it takes to come down with cancer and die. It's as bad for a person as smoking cigarettes, or so they are saying.
Now I've never made a scientific study of the subject but I am willing to wager that if they are correct this means 75 per cent of Americans will be dead within a year. If anyone doubts that they should glance around at the people in the shopping malls and other places where people hang out.
A hospital is another good place for sizing up obesity. Not the patients, the staff. On my monthly trip to the hospital a couple of miles away for a shot, we usually have lunch in the cafeteria and it's hard not to notice the amazing number of fat female employees. And a few males, but men come in a distant second in this race.
The point, though, is that there isn't much left to scare people about. It all began on a low key back in the 1960s. Don't eat bacon and don't drink coffee, those are the first two I remember. Then they really came down hard on smoking. And drinking. And not exercising. Then it was being so fat that you hadn't been able to see your feet in years. Now it's a few extra pounds around the waist. Some town is even trying to pass a law that restaurants and groceries can't serve or sell anything but low cholesterol food. Most likely it's a town in California.
So now you can't smoke, can't drink, can't eat anything that tastes good and should spend at least half an hour a day doing pushups and side straddle hops. Otherwise you may die. All this reminds me a routine by a couple of 1920s entertainers, The Happiness Boys. One was afraid he might not have long to go so he went to see a doctor. The doc asked him about all the things mentioned above. One by one he said he didn't do any of them so the doctor said, "Then why do you want to go on living?"
The Happiness Boys had a point there. So what's left to scare people about? Maybe the danger of getting the skin wet. We may be told one bath or shower a week should be the limit.
That would leave only one other thing I can think of: Sex. We've already been warned about social diseases and such, so next it may be plain old unvarnished sex. Want to bet that within a couple of years they won't be issuing warnings about that? No more than once a week, or twice on special occasions.
Being an octogenarian, I'm already well past my sell-by date so I don't pay attention to the warnings about things people should fear other than for amusement. I've never heeded them anyway. In my opinion the writer Jack London had the right idea when he said, "I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."
He died when he was 43, of course.

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