Reprinted with persimmons from Tompkins Weekly:
By Franklin Crawford, damned fool
I took a Real Age test a few weeks ago. Perhaps you’ve seen these things. You answer a bunch of questions about your health, habits, family history and so on, and a quackadoodle algorithm calculates your “real age.”
Its costs nothing and, unlike exploring your own credit rating, it doesn’t harm your borrowing power. Dr. Oz is big on the Real Age test and it’s easy to see why: He keeps winning. Or losing, which is winning on the Real Age Test. I learned that Dr. Oz is 53, but his “Real Age” is something like 45.
By the way – you know his name really is Oz? He’s Turkish. That’s how he gets away with it.
But what happened to Deepak Choprah? The guy gets no press any more. And what a great name! Remember the joke about him marrying Oprah?
Those were simpler times, the ‘90s, and we laughed and laughed.
Now there’s Dr. Oz. He’s no C. Everett Koop, let me tell you. Koop was a man’s man, if a man’s man looks like a Civil War tugboat captain. Koop didn’t prat about in powder blue scrubs with a stethoscope around his neck. He wore a uniform, dammit, and by gum, he knew how to keep his epaulets from flying off under heavy fire. Koop was appointed Surgeon General by President Reagan, in 1981. Dr. Oz was only 21 back then, which put his Real Age at 12, so I don’t know how he got served in bars.
Koop lived right up until Feb. 25, 2013. He was 96, but his Real Age is impossible to calculate now.
Who remembers the Surgeon General who came after Koop? No one. No one but friends and family of Dr. Antonia C. Novello, the first lady S.G.
Up until Koop, all Surgeon Generals were white men. Novello was the first woman; Dr. Jocelyn Elders was the first Black American woman;
Dr. David Satcher was the first Black American man …
Then there was Dr. Andrew Weill and we all got spontaneously healed. Things like that could happen during the Clinton Administration.
Would you believe it? You can believe almost anything if you want to. Just browse the news rack at your local impulse aisle.
Come to mention it, I have a question: How do you tally up your items on a 10 Item or Fewer aisle? Because, see, if I get four cans of cat food, that’s not four items, that’s one item. The cashier doesn’t care. They are airport security. No one gets kicked out for overload. But scofflaws exist. Oh yes. I’m not talking about people who sneak maybe three extra items onto the line. I’m talking about able-bodied people with carts full of various items, items that can’t be lumped under one unit price.
Let’s pause right there since I mentioned the able-bodied: I received a somewhat hostile note from an anonymous reader about my nuisance wildlife column of Feb. 3. This gentle reader somehow believes I was making light of people born with cleft palates. I’m sorry she thinks that. I’m sorry someone was hurt by their own misconception. Humor that pokes fun at people with infirmities is deplorable, okay? I don’t do it.
Moving right along I must vent my spleen about something else. I don’t drive much. But on a Friday night last month I was running late for an event and, do Lord forgive me, I drove my car. Polar Vortex II had the world in its icy grip. En route, I stopped to get some soda. I will admit something I don’t feel good about: I parked outside the store and left the car running. I was in and out of the place pronto. As I returned to my vehicle, a man in full cycling regalia approached me. He said something I didn’t understand and I asked that he repeat himself.
Says he: “It’s not good for the planet to leave your car running like that.”
You know what? He was right. But on the friendly fields of strife, you’ve got to pick your moments, mister. Because I answer my Real Age tests truthfully, and I do suffer moments of anger.
I am not proud of my exchange with this well intentioned fool. Had I only adapted to the moment, I might have framed a thoughtful response. Because the man was hassling me about my carbon footprint. I should have asked him if he had any children. I don’t have any children. I rarely drive. But do you know that having just one child is like leaving a car running for most of the day, in terms of their impact on the planet, viz, those little carbon footprints? Look it up. There’s an online carbon footprint calculator just like there’s a way to find out your Real Age.
Cars are awful things. But guess what? Having just one child is like owning four SUVs in sheer terms of carbon dumping.
Oh, heckfire. I should have thanked the stranger and let it go. But I did not. My response to him is unprintable and I regret it.
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Events like that age a body considerably. I know because I took the Real Age Test again right after that incident. I was 55 years old then, according to my birth certificate. By the end of the test, I was a whiny two-year old with a spotty beard. Still. That’s a 53-year spread. Beat that, Dr. Oz! And pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.
- Chad Coles, who oversees reprinting operations here