Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

If It Is Printed . . .

. . . it must be true.

One of my favorite news magazines arrived this week in the mail . . . the AARP Bulletin.  It is one of my best sources for blogs, and it did not fail me with its latest edition.  The wife and I began receiving this when we hit the big 5-0, and it has always provided mindless reading while sitting in the library of the house.

Now I know that this drips with sarcasm, but the magazine does get me to thinking from time to time.  In this particular issue (July-August 2014, Volume 55, Number 6) there were several little articles here and there that caught my attention.  And, like the Internet, if they print it, it must be true.

The first one that caught my attention was about “beer and arthritis”.  Seeing how the joints in my thumbs are beginning to cozy up to arthritis . . . and, because I like beer, I thought this article might shed some hope into my sore thumbs.  Oh well, it was a nice thought while it lasted . . . the article was for women.  Basically it stated that researchers at Harvard Medical School (I guess that adds a little clout to the article . . . as if Harvard did not have better things to research than beer and arthritis . . . what about a cure for politicians?) found that if women would have two to four beers a week their chances of getting rheumatoid arthritis is cut by 31 percent . . . at least compared to women who never drink beer.

I mentioned this to the wife over supper since she has complained about arthritis for years . . . despite the smile, I knew it was a “no go” proposition.  She will stick to wine and the benefits is supposedly provides the heart.  Yet, it made me wonder . . . did they use domestic beer (Budweiser or Miller) or did they use any of the hundreds of thousands of microbrews available now?  I would think that the microbrews would increase the odds of not getting arthritis as they are often much more potent than domestic beers.  I also thought that after a couple beers who feels any pain?  Despite my best arguments, the wife said “No”. 

I figure since I have a couple a beers each week . . . despite being male . . . the odds are in my favor that I, too, will not develop rheumatoid arthritis.  I suggested that we have beer with each meal . . . to which the wife said, “No”.  My thumbs are already aching.

I think that they make this stuff up.  Another article stated that according to a Finnish study (Go Finland!) stated that people who are highly cynical are more likely to develop dementia—up to three times more apt to get it.  I understand that all the Finnish researchers were graduates of Harvard Medical School.  Sounds like a bunch of poppycock to me . . . but, I really can’t remember what I was thinking in the first place.  Maybe I have had too many beers fighting off arthritis.

One of my favorite in the latest issue of news from AARP  was one on a website that offers free spiritual support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for free.  The service is called Chaplains on Hand and is a part of the Healthcare Chaplaincy Network.  The site offers a certified professional chaplain—take your pick of Protestant, Catholic, or Jewish—to offer spiritual comfort and support to anyone, regardless of religious beliefs.  In other words, they serve anyone at any time.    The site was created for those who are grieving or facing an illness and for those who provide care to them. At the site there is information, a chaplain who will answer questions and provide support, and even take a prayer request if needed—all for free.  Who needs the real McCoy when you can it one right from the privacy of one’s own home?  You can check out the site at http://chaplainsonhand.org/cms/index.php.

I thought it was fairly biblical in that there were only twelve—count them—twelve chaplains . . . didn’t Jesus have twelve disciples . . . weren’t there twelve tribes of Israel?  Pretty biblical if you ask me.  The site seems to have everything that convenience spirituality offers . . . there is a quiz you can take to determine your spirituality, a place to put prayer requests, plus a whole bunch of stuff that they are selling through the network.  There is also a place to make a financial contribution if one is inclined to do so . . . starts at twenty-five dollars and goes on up to “other” (which must be more than the $500 that was in the previous box).  Most of the clergy I know do not charge people for offering spiritual assistance.  If I walked into a parishioner’s home, offered some pastoral care, said a prayer, and then stuck out my hand for a cash donation . . . well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be at that church for long.  Yet, in this day and age of everything technological, why not one’s spirituality in a time of need.  A few clicks and one is closer to God.

My thought was . . . why didn’t I think of this?

Then the last article to catch my attention was one about the odds of older couples getting divorced . . . in particular when one spouse gets sick.  According to the article, researchers at the University of Michigan looked at 20 years of data on 2,717 marriages of couple age 50 or older.  They discovered that if the wife came down with a serious illness that the odds are greater that her husband would divorce her . . . while if the male spouse came down with a serious illness the wife would typically stick it out with her husband.  I did not know that they did research at the University of Michigan . . . I thought they were a football school.  I don’t understand why they only researched 2,717 couples . . . an odd number that seems to skew the statistics . . . and, I am not sure what this is actually saying.

I mentioned the article to my wife.  Of course she stated women are more compassionate and empathetic, and because they are they are more apt to stick with their spouse despite a grave illness.  Men, she stated, are dolts!  Then she looked me in the eyes and asked, “You are not having any thoughts are you?  You’d stick by side, wouldn’t you?”  Hmmm . . . I think I might have paused too long in answering.  I told her to have another beer.

Of course there were lots of other articles throughout the magazine, but these were the ones that caught my attention.  They must be true because the AARP wasted the ink to print them . . . if they printed them, they must be true.  Besides, the AARP would never lie to a person on the brink of becoming a full-fledged elder of society.  So, as my thumbs ached, I drank my beer in homes of avoiding further arthritis (despite being a male . . . if it is good enough for Mama, it is good enough for me), contemplating what I would do if the wife ever got sick—really, really sick, and hoping that the on-call chaplain is ready for my questions.  They have probably never had a person like me call . . . scary. Besides, I think I have that I am feeling a little under the weather . . . I hear there is a computer virus going around.  Maybe I will contact the researchers at Harvard Medical School . . . surely they can help.

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