I’ve been told that the definition of insanity is performing the same task over and over while expecting a different result every time. I would think that “stupidity” would fall under a similar definition. Perhaps stupidity is acting the same way over and over while ignoring the eventual risks and consequences. If this is the case, then I’m definitely stupid.
I have extremely high triglycerides…the secret cousin of cholesterol. For that matter, my cholesterol is pretty high as well. All of my uncles have all had a heart attack, my dad had two nearly blocked carotid arteries, and my mother had a stroke. To say that I have a family history of cardiovascular issues is putting it mildly. I’m very much aware that I’m a walking heart attack, yet I just ate a cheese burger with fries for my holiday dinner. In fact, I love pizza, Italian food and Mexican food. And since my work schedule is usually very busy, I tend to rely on processed food to feed me at lunch. See? I’m stupid.
My parents and brother were stupid as well. They smoked…a lot. My mom died of lung cancer, but her life-long fight with lupus contributed as much to her passing as her smoking. Still, if I had a dime for every time she (or Dad or Jeff) said “I know cigarettes are bad for me…” How many times have you heard this? Yeah…stupid. At least Dad wised up and stopped smoking, as did Jeff. After Mom died. Sometimes a real hard slap in the face is what’s needed to get rid of stupid.
While on vacation last week, I witnessed other acts of stupidity. Many folks at the pool or beach were lying out in the sun with basically no sunscreen. What most of these people were applying was tanning oils and lotions with little or no SPF. There was one remarkably attractive woman sitting near me at the pool with glistening skin that was three or four shades darker than her natural skin tone should have been. She’ll look like a leather couch before she’s 30 years old. She might be a rocket scientist for all I know…but she’s stupid.
Not long ago, I might have called such folks ignorant because they might not have been aware of the dangers of tanning…but that’s no longer a valid excuse. Most “sun care” displays at stores now mention the benefits of sunscreen.
|This one is at Wal-mart|
While skin cancer isn’t always listed, “aging” is certainly a scary enough word for most young tanners. And if the displays don’t convey the message, certainly the news nowadays about tanning legislation and the dangers of UV rays have been heard. No, today’s tanner is not ignorant, he’s stupid.
You might say that some are misinformed. After all, the tanning folks tout the health benefits of tanning. I’ve discussed this before…and to believe such nonsense is not a matter of being misinformed, it’s a matter of being stupid.
A friend of mine knew that telling me to stop eating such foods would not work, so instead of repeating this request over and over and expecting me to change, they decided to beg me to see a doctor. Rather than discuss weight (I’m not a big guy anyhow) or my diet, the doctor showed me the lab report on my blood work, then explained how if the numbers increased to a certain amount, I could expect a heart attack or worse. This opened my eyes more than the constant bickering from loved ones. I began to take medication and started to take more notice of my actions. I still have a ways to go, but believe it or not, I’ve come a long way over the last 10 years or so (my fries were baked tonight and I had fresh vegetables as an additional side).
We can’t tell a tanner to stop tanning. If we repeat the message over and over to the excessive tanner, we’ll be engaging in insane behavior. Instead, we need to ask him…beg him…to see a dermatologist for a full skin screening. If he's lucky, the doctor will never find a suspicious spot and he can go on with his potentially destructive behavior. If he's not as lucky, then perhaps he'll catch the cancer early enough to treat. Otherwise, he’ll eventually receive that dreaded slap in the face of a loved one’s death…or a dire diagnosis.
We can’t stop stupidity, but perhaps we can take the sane route and convince those who tan (and those who don’t) to get regular skin checks. Emphasizing that might be the best way to beat the stupid out of a loved one.