Worst News of the Year

Worst News of the Year

Here’s what’s gone wrong so far–and it’s only April

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It’s only three months into 2008, but so many bad things have happened, I’d like a do-over. But like the Democratic primaries in Florida and Michigan, I’m afraid the answer is no.

Given the state of the economy, I expect there’s more to come, so here’s a roundup of the worst news of the year so far, in the hope that we can move ahead unfettered into the next disillusioning developments of 2008.

I’ve listed the items in the order that they affect me on a daily basis because that’s what’s important, right? As Laura Linney said to Paul Giametti in the HBO John Adams series, “I’m living politics, every time I open the cupboard [something, something, something, which I couldn’t focus on because she looked so good in a snood], and there’s no coffee–that’s politics, John!

1.Totally Toxic Toro

Sure I’ve been reading about mercury levels for years, but I convinced myself that the FDA would keep it out of our food if it was really dangerous and that at least the tuna I was eating had lower mercury levels, because I was getting it at well-known establishments. OK, who am I kidding? I eat tuna sushi from delis. But now that we know even Nobu’s tuna is full of the toxins, I’m screwed. Of course, I was ordering tuna as part of my high-protein diet in order to remain thin and spend less money on healthcare, but that brings me to No. 2 on the bad-news list.

2. Live Long and Prosper? Not so much…

The news that being healthier actually costs you more was shocking to me, because the notion I’d embraced had been the basis of my life. I’ve been trying to follow the restricted-calorie diet, because I’d live longer, and it would be cost-effective too. I haven’t eaten pasta in years following this regimen. I feel betrayed and like I’ve wasted a lot of time eating the insalata mista in Italian restaurants when I should have ordered the rigatoni al tre funghi. What a waste.

3. Don’t Stretch, Don’t Tell

Some news just shouldn’t be released to the public; we should be informed on a need-to-know basis. How can researchers take this illusion away from us? Ever since I developed my own debilitating and expensive case of “boomeritis” –the term many doctors are using for sports injuries incurred by people who approach exercise with the same enthusiasm they had in high school–I have faithfully stretched and warmed up before playing tennis. Yet another waste of time. My new warm-up will be lifting my doughnut, or better yet, owing to No. 2, I’m likely to stop playing, as I was doing that to live longer anyway.

4. Wake Up and Smell the Coffee, If You Can Still Afford It

Due to all sorts of inflationary factors, including rising transportation costs, coffee prices have risen. Sure, gas increases will cost me more in the long run than the increase in a cup of coffee. But if I can’t afford my two cups of espresso in the morning, that won’t matter, as I won’t achieve the proper caffeinated state in order to leave my abode. I’ve heard that on Crank you can get a lot done, but eventually it rots your teeth, and my dental plan is very limited, so not a good option.

5. Eliot Spitzer Never Called Me at 3 AM

I’m personally disappointed in the New York Governor, not because of what he did but because I’ve lost so much time Googling every new story about him. I lost a few days just wondering about the identity of clients number one through eight. Moreover, I would have had sex with him. He’s very appealing in that way that totally unattractive but powerful men can be sexy. And as far as the news of his requesting to do things that might be deemed unsafe, I doubt that there’s anything he wanted to do that someone like me, who has worked in theater, hasn’t done already–and I would have kept quiet about it. Had I been servicing him, it probably would have taken up less of my time than I spent reading about the scandal. Meanwhile, it has also given rise in the Jewish community to the dredging up of that oft-repeated refrain, “It’s bad for the Jews.” Which brings me to…

6. With Friends Like These…

I’ve been getting e-mails from friends and family members whom I love and who, to paraphrase Barack Obama, I can no more disown than I could my own grandmother. They express the fear that Obama’s well-documented concern and questioning of Israeli treatment of the Palestinians means that if elected he will not be a good friend to Israel.

My own grandmother died believing that Roosevelt and Nixon were both good friends of the Jewish people. When will we members of the tribe embrace people who give voice to complex and challenging views that many of us actually worry about, and/or agree with in private, but fear to express publicly?

7. I’ll Do You If You’ll Do Me

Maybe it’s because I’m from Florida, where every day is a bad hair day for a curly-haired person. Or maybe it’s because I’m still angry that when I was in high school in Miami Beach, there was a mandatory class called “Americanism versus Communism,” which celebrated things like our ability to order items from the Sears catalog (no kidding). I would rather have spent that time doing something useful, like playing more tennis when I was young enough to not injure myself. But I can’t, and they can’t, and I am somehow comforted by this news.

8. Tonic in the Tap

The news that California’s water has been found to contain anti-anxiety medication is a total bummer, because it turns out that it’s not the medication I’m on. It’s so depressing that I will probably have to up the dosage of the anti-anxiety medication I am taking and down it without water so I can avoid an adverse reaction.

And Finally…

Those little things–continuing wars, job losses, the miserable housing market, the mortgage crisis, stagflation, and the news that John McCain needs Joe Lieberman’s help on foreign policy–will, I predict, somehow turn out to be yet another example of item No. 6.

And April has just begun. Happy spring, everyone!

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