Saturday, June 26, 2010

I Once Knew Someone Who...

This morning, as Iris and I sat drinking tea an coffee, Iris talked about the friends whom she been in contact with yesterday. Throughout the afternoon, I could tell that we had Holland on the line as Dutch language and laughter filled the house.

Iris spoke of one friend who had gained a lot of weight due to medication that she had been taking. Her friend had been working diligently, but unsuccessfully to lose the weight. So, being the fix-it type of guy I am, I started asking Iris questions about the medications, the circumstances of her friend's weight gain, and what things she had been doing to address it.

Iris asserted that her friend's weight gain was due primarily to retention of water. So, I asked Iris how she knew that. She responded explaining that people who take this type of medication typically gain a lot of weight through increased water retention. So I asked her, "How do you know that?"

Iris responded, "When I used to work in a counseling center in the Netherlands, I knew a young woman who had to take that medication and she gained more than twenty kilos."

I said, "I understand that she gained twenty kilos, but how do you know it was from water retention?"

Iris said, "Because she gained the weight very quickly and, when you looked at her, she looked like someone who was retaining a lot of water."

So I asked, "But how do you know that it was water retention and not increased water intake or increased appetite or slowed metabolism?"

Iris responded, "Well, she didn't feel hungry and she worked out regularly."

But I Already Tried That!
At this point, it started getting really interesting. Everyone I've ever met who couldn't lose weight but insisted he was eating well or eating less, was not. There are people who switch to salad not realizing that they're adding thousands of calories in salad dressing. There are people who assume that good oils magically have fewer calories than bad oils. There are people who believe that raw sugar is somehow fundamentally different than refined sugar. They believe that they've changed their diet in such a way as to effect weight loss, but that they haven't.

Further, most people I know who say that they work out regularly have decided that the word regular, off the shelf, is a bit boring. So they've adapted it to encompass a bit of randomness.

After pausing a second, I said, "So, what you're saying is, because you once knew a woman who gained a lot of weight while taking this medication, because her weight gain looked like water retention, because she said that she hadn't been feeling hungry, and because she said she worked out regularly... because of this, you know that your friend's weight gain is due to water retention and that there's not much she can do about it?"

We both laughed and I said, "I wonder if this is how they're addressing the oil spill in the gulf? I knew a guy once had an oil spill and he tried thus and such. Didn't work!"

I Once Had a Friend Who...
And then I told Iris about a friend I had when I was in school in Boston. She had driven home to visit her mom in Worcester. After pulling into the driveway, she realized that she had parked too closely to her dad's car in front of her, blocking him in. So, she quickly reversed the car, backed up a bit, and then jumped out of the car to go see her mom.

In her excitement, she'd skipped the all important steps of turning off the engine and putting the car into park. As cars are prone to do when left unattended while running in gear, her car began moving, in this case, backwards. So, she did what anyone would do after exiting one's car while it was still running and in gear; she tried to jump back in and stop it.

Unfortunately, her re-entrance was not as clean as her exit. Rather than ending up in the car, she ended up under the car, or at least her calves did. Fortunately the drive way and the tires were both a bit soft, and she escaped with only minor injury.

After telling Iris my story, I said, "I knew a woman once who ran herself over with her own car. Perhaps someone should pass a safety law forcing automobile manufacturers to place multilingual warning labels complete with diagrams on the back of sun-visors."

I know, it's silly. And yet, as I think about it, there are so many things that we try or that we avoid, that we believe or that we deny, that we recommend or warn, simply because we once knew someone who...

So What?
What beliefs do you carry around and even proffer that are purely anecdotal, based on having once known someone who? What life decisions have you made because, old uncle Harry once tried thus and such and look what happened to him? What career decisions have you made because, Susan down in accounting tried to start her on business and, well... What things have you given up on because you once knew someone who... Even if the someone is you?

Happy Saturday
Teflon

1 comment:

  1. I have been thinking along these lines lately myself....how few thoughts really originate in "original" thought. :) Almost everything we think seems to have originated in the words or actions of others. It is an interesting safari when one goes hunting to see what one truly thinks.

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