Scary Knowledge: Why you Shouldn’t Read Stuff

Cleo´s Logo and Poem: Cleopatra´s Last Cocktail PartyThis Sunday afternoon I am finishing Mika Waltari’s The Egyptian, which is a historical novel set in Egypt in 14th century B.C.E. The Egyptian follows the life of the physician Sinuhe and his many loves, adventures and changing philosophies.

The novel is the When Harry Met Sally of the historical novel world, meaning it should be the barometer by which other historical novels are measured. It’s picturesque, cleanly written, its characters are memorable, detestable and lovable and it makes you want to get on a tram and end up in 14th century B.C.E Egypt…especially if you can do so without all the plague and festering.

Here’s why I hate it.

Learning while reading is one of the great perks and joys of reading, that is, unless it’s something you really don’t want to know. Or hear.

The Egyptian is full of deeply profound, sagacious and, most disturbingly, accurate comments about life and aging. As a thirty-eight year old man trying with all his might not to act like a thirty-eight year old man, this is enough to drive me to the comfortable Mecca of silly and inaccurate reading material.

The Internet

I play for a while, learning about world events via friends’ status updates on Facebook and taking quizzes that all end with me being a stud rather than a dud. And then I make a mistake. In my endless curiosity for articles that have numbered sections, I hit a link called Nine Foods You Should Never Eat Again.

This article should have been titled, Damien: welcome to the Contents of Your Fridge. All of my favorite foods make an appearance and are instantly bashed like a reasonable person on a Fox News show. Below are some of my old friends that have been outed.

Frozen Meals

Evidently these are cancer landmines that will explode in my colon. I look in my freezer and find fish sticks and two frozen pizzas. As if in defiant inspiration, I switch on the oven. Might as well set off one of those landmines now, eh?

Microwave Popcorn

Bad news: I love microwave popcorn the way a Mormon loves funny underpants.

Good news: My microwave broke four months ago.

Really bad news: I found a method of cooking microwave popcorn on the stove top.

Great news: It afforded me the opportunity to see what it looked like inside, disgusting slimy faux butter and kernels that resembled salted rocks. It allowed me to realize what it was I was putting in my body.

Awful news: This did nothing to halt my continuous and gluttonous ingestion of said tasty treat.

Glorious news: I found a bag of salted kernels in the cupboard. Looks like I’ve got a post frozen pizza snack!

Cured Meats with Nitrates

There are a lot of words in this section and many of them are hotdogs. The basic gist: hotdogs are bad, hotdogs will kill you, hotdogs are like a street gang for your heart and arteries, hotdogs are responsible for disruption in the Middle East, hotdogs drank too much at my brother’s wedding and made anti-Semitic remarks.

You get the gist. Don’t read – it’s bad for your health.

In any event, the combination of aging woes brought on by The Egyptian and heath concerns brought on by the article, drives me to the one last bastion of security and ignorance:

The Pub

I make a hasty escape with only a notebook and a memoir about books and on the way out grab The Egyptian to help me jot notes for this blog. During sweet forgetful juice (beer) number three beer I find an ironic nugget of truth in The Egyptian’s truthful pages.

What increases knowledge increases vexations.

Couldn’t agree more…who wants a shot?

  1. #1 by Andy on January 7, 2013 - 6:42 pm

    Considering the topic of this particular blog post, you may find it somewhat ironic that your final quoted statement was plucked from the Bible (Ecclesiastes 1:18). I’m sure there is an inappropriate joke which can be made here.

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