It's hard to know what to fear the most stifling a sneeze, germs on the remote control or teaching a child to walk. So many dangers, so little time.
Recently, a notice arrived concerning germs on the handles of grocery store shopping carts. The group spreading the fear was tickled pink that the Arkansas State Senate passed a bill encouraging stores to provide free sanitary wipes for their grocery carts.
Another state government hard at work. (Carry your own wipes, people!)
While you're drafting your dangerous substance list, you might also want to add licorice. Warnings continue to circulate that licorice can cause high blood pressure, lung congestion and irregular heartbeat. The warning doesn't say how much licorice two sticks, three pounds, a truckload or two tons just that it can.
You can also add the remote control, your computer keyboard, cell phone and ice from fast food restaurants to the list of things to fear because they, too, carry germs and bacteria. Truly, it is amazing that any of us are still able to function.
The author of "Why Your Toothbrush May Be Killing You Slowly" argues that the toothbrush may be responsible for heart disease, stroke, arthritis and chronic infections. Makes you want to stop brushing altogether and just buy dentures.
If your killer toothbrush doesn't leave you shaking under the covers, how about this: sneezing is hazardous to your health. A health watch group says that suppressing a sneeze may result in a percussion that can "wreak serious injury to the structures within our heads," resulting in torn blood vessels, brain injury and possible death. (Perhaps the state of Arkansas can pass a bill recommending unsuppressed sneezing!)
Heelys, the tennis shoe with a retractable wheel in the bottom, popular with the older elementary set, have caused a wave of panic by shopping malls managers across the country. Many malls are banning the shoes. There have been no reports of serious injury but there could be. And really, is it ever too early to panic?
And here's one you might not have seen coming: "Are you helping or hurting your child when they are learning to walk?" The publicist sounding the alert on this danger also reminds us we're not all doctors. (So that's why they don't let me in the operating room!) The warning states it is common "to accidentally cause mishap for one's child when pulling on their arm, and tightly gripping their waste (sic) when assisting their first walking steps." Yes, indeed, a terrible situation.
Then there's the news that taking a whiff of food will shorten a fly's life, ergo, it may shorten your life. Although I don't know how often humans sniff "yeast paste," the favorite food of flies.
The most memorable "fear-chilling" moment from snow storms this past winter happened at 5:45 one morning. A meteorologist advised viewers to call family and loved ones who weren't up yet in order to tell them that the weather was going to be bad and they should watch the station's weather reports.
"Whom should we call?" I asked the husband.
"Let's call the kid in Chicago," he said, smiling. "He's an hour behind us, that way he'll have more time to worry."