My Books

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The Sky Is Falling

Twinkle, twinkle little drone, why won't you leave me alone?

Twinkle, twinkle little drone, why won’t you leave me alone?

I want an Iron Man suit.

I think a full-body indestructible metal suit is a must-have for the modern wardrobe.

True, it may clank a bit, and the weight may slow you down when you’re fleeing zombies. But then again, clad in your iron suit you’ll have no need to flee. Also on the plus side, when the drone with your name on it falls from the sky, you’ll be able to walk away from the scene of the crash with a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.

Ah, I know what you’re thinking. You’re paranoid, Con.

Well, yes, this is no doubt true. But, also true, the fact is that hundreds of these unmanned aircraft fall from the sky each year, as was reported in a sobering, yet strangely entertaining, article that ran in The Washington Post recently. Spoiler alert: they don’t all crash harmlessly into the ocean.

Like many an optimist, I would like to believe that the people in charge know what they’re doing and that scientists will eventually solve all our problems, etc., etc. Of course, the flaw with this hope is that the people in charge and the scientists are, for the most part, human, and as flawed as the rest of us. Which goes a long way toward explaining why it might not be a bad idea to plan for the unexpected, yet somehow inevitable, arrival of a drone in your backyard, or perhaps on your car.

And that’s when you’ll be so glad you took out the third mortgage and got the Iron Man suit.

Realistically? Not going to happen. Out of my price range. So what’s a Chicken Little to do?

Well, as is often the case, I take comfort in fiction, and science, sometimes simultaneously. While others endorse the soothing homilies of various religions, I’ve never been able to keep my eyes closed long enough to feel at ease with faith-based systems. I’m more inclined to offer my slender prayers to fact-based science systems, even though I realize that those are also prone to human error. But at least they have data.

Data can be so bewitching. It’s like Play-Doh or silly putty. Malleable. One study tells us coffee is bad for us. Another insists it will quicken our wits. Many studies suggest that consuming animal fat shortens life spans. But there’s always another study. And, as Woody Allen joked in his timeless film Sleeper, it may turn out that fried food and animal fat are the secrets to longevity.

Taking this to its illogical extreme, if a food is fried in animal fat it would be a win-win, right?

Not long ago I had lunch in a delightful little cafe in Tarpon Springs where the menu was written in the argot of culinary refinement with confits of this and aioli of that and demi glace this and that. But the most intriguing signs of cutting edge cuisine were the duck fat fries. Thumbing their noses at the cholesterol police, these chubby cuties graced almost every lunch plate. I had to wonder, will lard be pardoned next?

Lard has gone through some tough times since we learned something about heart disease. Could there be new data that hasn’t made it into the popular press? Or is there a lard conspiracy perhaps? A coalition of dairy enthusiasts determined to maintain the butter monarchy?

Well, conspiracy theorists can’t all be wrong, can they? Sooner or later even an unmanned conspiracy theorist lands right side up.

Hallelujah. Praise the lard.

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