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MARTHA SEZ: What — me worry? It’s a mad, mad world.

January 19, 2017
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

What do you worry about?

1. Being hacked by the Russians

2. Leaky gut syndrome

3. Republicans

4. Mortality

5. The Wall

6. Possible Neanderthal ancestry

7. GMOs

8. Everlasting perdition

9. Democrats

10. Probable Neanderthal ancestry

Everybody is worried about something. I am not sure that I worried any less when I wasn't watching television, but I worried differently. For several years I didn't watch television at home. Then I tuned back in with Keene Valley Video.

I was sitting in my living room watching "Breakfast at Tiffany's" when I heard someone outside on State Road 73 calling my name. I went to the front door and looked out, and lo and behold it was my friend Peg sitting in her van, holding up traffic.

"Hey, Martha! Are you watching television in there? What are you doing watching television?"

"Hi Peg! Yes, I just got cable!"

It is so great to live in a small town. You almost don't need television.

That was 18 years ago, and since that time I believe that my quality of worry has improved, becoming more organized and specific. Television, and later social media, told me what to worry about, encapsulating great tracts of worrisome material into terms that are brief and easy to remember, like the Smurfette principle or Chinese restaurant syndrome. I would never have known the term marionette lines were it not for morning television. Marionette lines-like the ones Howdy Doody and Phineas T. Bluster had on either side of their mouths-are right up there on my worry list now. I try not to assess their progress when I look in the mirror, but I am sure they are etching their relentless way deep into my face, in the same way raging rivers carve channels through solid rock.

While genealogical DNA testing has become increasingly popular, some people worry about what they will find when they send in their samples.

If you checked "Neanderthal ancestry" on the worry list, you will be relieved to learn that, while scientists have discovered that most of us do indeed carry Neanderthal genes, it turns out that Neanderthals weren't stupid and ugly after all! After scientists learned that they have Neanderthal DNA, they naturally came to see their good points.

My brother took the test and found that, in addition to the English, Irish and Scottish forebears we have always taken for granted, we also have some Finnish, Asian, Native American and even Russian ancestry!

My sister can't take this in. She says she thinks my brother is adopted.

Sometimes I worry that people out there in television land are cynically brainstorming ways to worry us all sick so they can control us and make us buy products we don't need.

I must watch television programs favored by the elderly, because their sponsors are constantly asking questions like, are your teeth/false teeth clean enough? If they're false, are they cemented into your jaw securely? If you're between the ages of 45 and 85, have you chosen a casket yet? Will your family be left having to pay for your funeral? Why have to look for a bathroom?

People are afraid to eat and drink, because the experts keep changing foods that are good for us. Are eggs in or out? Margarine, once considered more healthful than butter, is now bad because of trans fat. Foods which never contained cholesterol were suddenly labeled "Cholesterol free!" during the fatty food scare. Then the label "Contains no trans fats!" became popular. No, the food contains lard, but animal fat is all right again. On the other hand, it is very difficult now to find lard if you want it. Foods that never contained gluten in the first place are labeled "gluten free!" As if humans hadn't been eating bread, which contains gluten, for thousands of years.

Yes, you say, but the flour used to be different, because it wasn't made from genetically altered grain. Many scientists say that genetically altered grains and vegetables are not harmful to people's health, but that stance is not to be tolerated on television, let alone on social media.

There is a whole aisle at the supermarket devoted to bottled water. I say, why take it on faith that the water in those bottles, from all of their different sources, is going to be any purer than the water that comes out of your tap?

"They test it," you are probably saying. Who are "they?" Are you sure?

What - me worry?

Have a good week.



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