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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 21, 2006 / 25 Tamuz, 5766

Did You Ever Wonder, ‘What If . . .?’ Neither did we

By Gene Weingarten


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Today we present another in the highly popular series of "What If?" columns, in which we explore alternative realities to reach universal truths about the human condition in as immature a fashion as possible.

What if money did grow on trees?

Faced with the certitude of the nearly instantaneous deforestation of Earth, resulting in the destruction of our ecosystem and the rapid extinction of humankind through carbon-dioxide asphyxia — all societies would immediately declare their currency worthless. International markets would collapse. Feudalism would return in a new world order based entirely on the barter of goods and services. Parents would tell their children, "What, do you think chickens grow on trees?"

What if you actually could smell fear? And anger, love, hatred, deception, envy, regret, etc. And they all had distinct odors?

All mystery and uncertainty, all strategy and artifice, would leach from personal human interactions. Flirting, politics, friendly discourse, business negotiations, even international diplomacy would fall victim to the universal olfactory lie detector. The very thing that distinguishes humans from animals — our sense of self — would erode, as our innermost emotions became public property. The fragrance industry would become a leading international economic power (France would briefly challenge the United States for world hegemony) as people sought cloaking devices to retain a sense of privacy and individuality. In the end, we would not be able to battle our physiology. The only way to save ourselves would be to eliminate the very feelings that expose us through the implacable tyranny of their scent. We would emotionally deaden ourselves. Earth would become a planet of odorless people who live by reason and logic alone. In that way, and only that way, could we live long and prosper.

What if nothing could float on water?

Let's see. No rubber duckies. Ice cubes would be ineffective, down there at the bottom of a drink. Because it relies on a float bulb, the flush toilet as we know it would not exist. Oh, also, you'd live in a wigwam. The first Europeans wouldn't have arrived here until 1915, about six of them, by blimp.

What if toilet paper cost $100 a roll?

I bet you women would still use it for number one.

What if the bacteria in our gut were sentient and could communicate with us, and began to demand civil rights?

Disaster. Without the biological assistance of bacteria, we would be prone to painful, emotionally crippling, even fatal intestinal afflictions. A coordinated work stoppage would be unthinkable. And yet, we are nearly powerless to negotiate. Destroying them would be suicidal. We would be a hostage sitting at the end of a gun barrel — in this case, the certainty of a lifetime of incapacitating gas, stabbing pains and lacerating, fire-hose diarrhea. Our future would be surgery followed by colostomy bags, followed by death, which would come as a mercy. Such a hostage opens the safe and says, "Take what you want."

What would they want? Intestinal microbes have a simple society. Though their material needs are few, they would pose enormous problems. Inarguably, they would demand an end to the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, which create for them a holocaust. But that would not be the worst of it. The intestinal bacterium is a joyless life form, consigned to the fetid darkness of the human bowel, denied even the pleasure of sex. In the soiled and sordid world of bacteria, the only passion likely comes from the energetic surge from metabolism, the burning of food. They would demand more food — and not proteins or fiber, which are low in instantly burnable energy for the wanton rush they seek — but sugars and carbohydrates, incessant infusions of them to feed their ravenous, voluptuous needs. Enslaved by their extortion into gastronomic excess, we would become pimpled manatees: fat, flabby and — without antibiotics — susceptible to opportunistic infection. And we'd consider ourselves lucky.

What if — like "Aloha" — the English word for "Hello" also had another meaning, but that meaning was "Up yours"?

Well, in New York City, nothing much would change.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Gene Weingarten writes the Below the Beltway humor column for The Washington Post. To comment, please click here.


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