It’ll give you cancer.

Don’t read this blog…it’ll give you cancer.

What? You think I can’t make a claim like that, without substantiated scientific evidence?

I beg to differ.

See, if the internet can tell me that literally everything I do (or don’t do) causes cancer, then I can warn people away from my blog in hopes of saving them from deadly carcinogens. Better safe than sorry, right? Who knows…10 or 20 years from now, they may discover that reading satirical or sarcastic text causes cancers to form deep in the bowels of your brain.

Why am I so hostile about this stuff?

It’s simple.

I’ve lost loved ones to cancer. I’ve had loved ones survive cancer. I’m no stranger to the subject as a whole, and it’s a very serious thing. Its very seriousness comes from the simple fact that we don’t understand it. We, as a human race, have not uncovered the mystery behind this raging monster. We’ve found ways to slow it down, sometimes, to put a cramp in its style if only for a moment, and on rare occasions eradicate it completely. But the question is – is it ever completely gone? Once cancer has been identified, and every emergency measure has been performed, can we really say it’s gone?

No.

Doctors can pronounce someone “cancer-free”, but it’s about the same thing as saying “you don’t have a cold right now” – then the next day you start sneezing, and voila, all the visible signs emerge. I have a relative who was just diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, and the doctors say that based on the amount of cancer in his body and how far it has spread, it’s probably been growing undetected for ten years. TEN YEARS.

I think it’s irresponsible, given how feeble our grasp of cancer is (especially for those of us not even in the medical field), to spread information about what does and does not cause it. There is a flood of information out there, all of it supposedly backed by scientific proof, to say that everything we do or every product we use is responsible.

The fact of the matter is, none of these claims can be valid, without verification of how much and what type of exposure to a product/chemical/activity causes cancer. And that’s where science is failing us at the moment: we don’t know exactly what or how much. If we did, we’d have a cure for this thing by now.

I see mothers freaking out about products their family uses, because they read an article about how those products “may contain suspected carcinogens”. They scrap the products, and race out to buy something all-natural and organic instead. And while I certainly don’t think there’s any harm in going organic, I do think there is grave harm done by reading these articles. We, as readers, don’t process the “may” or the “suspected” or even the “contain”: we read “carcinogens” and our brains go into automatic flip-out mode. We try to mentally tally how long we’ve been using these cancer-causers, and wonder what the chances are that we will now get cancer – or if, gasp, it may already be too late.

From a health standpoint, I firmly believe that there is as much harm done by these articles as by a 6-pack of soda, a bottle of non-organic sunscreen, or even a once-in-a-great-while cigarette. The stress we put on ourselves by being determined to evade cancer’s deadly grasp is absurd. I watch these mothers riddled with guilt over the fact that they used a certain brand of shampoo on their child’s head. It’s as if they truly believe that they have failed their child, as if Junior’s skull is now full of carcinogens and it will only be a matter of years before he is admitted to the terminal ward.

I read an article that attempted to explain just how grossly misleading these carcinogen claims are. It tackled the issue of diet soda (specifically the kind sweetened with aspartame). Essentially, in order for the carcinogenic potential of diet soda to be realized, a person would have to drink 40-50 cans a day (yes, per day!) for decades, and never consume foods with antioxidant or nourishing properties. Then there’d be a chance of developing cancer.

Now, I have no way of knowing if that article held any validity. For all I know, it was something planted on the internet by a company that manufactures diet soda. But that’s the rub with all of these articles, whether positive or negative – there is no way to know if the information is valid.

Some people would argue that it’s irresponsible not to report every possible carcinogen, and/or take every precaution. I can understand that point of view. But I can’t agree with it, if only for the fact that I believe mental health is every bit as important as physical health. Why are people willing to flood their bodies with stress hormones as they try to rid their lives of every possible carcinogen? If we know that prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, and decades of smoking can cause lung cancer, is it not reasonable to think that years of bathing our insides in unhealthy stress hormones could also cause cancer?

It’s the price we pay for having such advanced technology. The internet, while a priceless resource in many ways, allows us to be too informed. (Yes, folks, sometimes ignorance is bliss.) It would behoove all of us to take a step back and focus most on living lives that bring us peace and fulfillment. That’s not to say we can’t be careful – and indeed there are some causes of cancer whose validity can no longer be denied – but let us also be careful that we don’t trade one deadly habit for another.

 

Lovely, dahlink.

I think there’s been a mistake.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, a grave error was made in my lineage. I am supposed to be a British royal. I just know it.

See, my idea of a rousing good time is a stormy day, a book or a craft project, and a fabulous cup of tea. I’d much rather spell words like “favourite” and “neighbour” in proper British form – with the u’s, naturally – and so I do. None of my very American friends have ever questioned me on this, which I both appreciate and find amusing. (They may know well by now that questioning my decision on anything is a question best left unspoken. They also may never have noticed.)

I think the American style of speech is garish and downright ugly – it slices and skewers words to make them sound cheap and unimportant. I would speak like a Brit if I thought I could get away with it, but that is an everyday decision more likely to garner questions in my country than a simple change in spelling.

I dream of throwing delicious (but economically sensible) parties, of wearing silly “fascinators” just because I can (see: Princess Beatrice), and smiling graciously at everyone I meet, no matter how much I may not want to. (Masochistic of me? Perhaps.)

It’s true that I spend much of my free time perusing websites about places and people I may never see/meet. Some of them, I’m sure I will. But no matter, I love feeling hoity toity and delightfully silly sometimes. That may be the largest appeal – knowing that being a British royal is something I could never, ever achieve.

And frankly, I’d make a terrible royal anyway.

For every moment I spend daydreaming about lavish to-dos and princess lessons, I spend an equal amount of time appalled by the speculation, gossip, and venom that surrounds these people. Poor Pippa Middleton can’t catch a break, and she’s not even “royal”! (Quick side note: Folks, you need to calm down about Pippa’s supposed “book deal”. The woman is a party planner; she’s writing a book. Publishers want to offer her a lot of money for the book, primarily because she’s beautiful, successful, and – oh yeah – sister to the Duchess of Cambridge. That’s not “cashing in”. What is she supposed to do, NOT write a book about what she does for a living, just because her sister’s a princess? Psh. I’d argue that journalists who can’t successfully use spell check shouldn’t be allowed to write, either. But then we wouldn’t get our precious “news” about things like Pippa’s “inappropriate” book deal, now would we?)

Kate Middleton is well-loved for a reason: because she makes a lovely royal. She’s gracious, beautiful, poised…everything a princess (or duchess) should be. And for every thing that Kate does right, I would have the palace PR in a frenzy. I’m uncouth. I speak my mind. If someone pisses me off, you’re damn right I’m going to have a hard time keeping my facial expression pleasant. Sometimes, I’m just plain cranky for no good reason. And I’ll be damned if I’m wearing nylons every day of the year.

So, really, I don’t want to be a royal. But I would like a valid excuse to act like an old British woman at least half of the year. Does this odd age-inappropriate trait of mine (at age 27, no less) mean that I’ll be club-hopping in Mexico at 70? It might.

From what I’ve seen, many Brits – of the common variety – aren’t overly in love with their country. Many of them despise the idea of a royal family, loathe the endless days of rain, and feel that their country, as a whole, is too “stuffed-shirt”. (Hey – here in the US, we can’t even show boobies or “bums” on TV! Who’s a bunch of stuffed-shirts now?!)

What is it they say? The grass is always greener?

Well, I live in one of the greenest, most rain-soaked parts of the US (in fact, we receive significantly more rain than many parts of the UK), yet yearn for another shore. So perhaps the grass is…less green?

Something like that.