the manure of optimism

I don’t like to talk. This, medical as my therapist and assorted other adults would have it, health is bad. The spoken exchange of ideas is good. This is all lovely in theory, isn’t it? But actual applied talk is often dull and terribly fucking trying. And this, I have learned, is down to two key factors.

The first is that I am not very nice. The second has nothing whatsoever to do with me and can trace its roots to the garden of hope.

There is a viral weed that feeds on the manure of optimism. There is a popular topic of conversation that has driven me indoors.

Natural effing medicine.

Seriously. Everybody’s smack bang into natural effing medicine. If I had a loaf of ancient grain bread for every person who has offered me a fish oil capsule this year, I could open a bakery. A caring, sharing, giving biodynamic bakery that offers fifty free micrograms of St John’s Wort for every chakra sold. Bakery? Half-bakery, more like. You people with your herbs and your aura colour adjustments and your phyto-chemical pseudo-science whatsits. It’s all very well and good if you keep it within the margins of the commune. But now, it seems, you’re everywhere.

Back when I was a girl, it was only lactating women in cheese-cloth tops who could pronounce the word “chamomile”. Now, it’s every sod; even conservative old pluggers who consider Sarah Palin a bit too progressive and racy. They’re all on the valerian and the slippery elm and the asshatted FISH OIL. Honestly: is there any ailment fish oil doesn’t solve? Fish oil. Fish oil. Fish oil. It’s good for your cardiovascular doozits, your neural thingummy and your mental malarkey. It can cure anything from hives to erectile dysfunction to world effing hunger.

FISH OIL. If it’s so effing miraculous, here’s an idea. Next time there’s a G20 Summit, let’s buy an effing enormous hose and attach it to the world’s biggest vat of precious cocking fish oil and spray it all over the free-market’s most traded currency and we won’t have any more economic disasters because FISH OIL IS THE SHIT.

Fish oil.

Everyone, including the formerly staid, has become an herbal hobbyist. It’s not enough that they’re hurling decalitres of ill-researched, over-priced waste into their own gobs. They want to drench me in it, too.

Once, at the urging of a “friend”, I bought a great big jar of the unctuous dribble. I can’t remember why it was “prescribed”. Probably to curb my burgeoning hatred of natural medicine. Anyhow, after I choked down a few domestic-cat-sized globs of stinky promise NOTHING HAPPENED. Or, nothing aside from the worst farts ever produced by male or female colon.

When did we all become (a) naturopaths and (b) shameless in our flatulence?

A distrust of pharmaceutical companies is reasonable. In fact, it’s terribly healthy. When profit governs research, our health is likely to ebb into the red. But, this is no reason to distrust evidence-based medicine altogether in favour of huge, bollocky fish oil pills that make your fluffies smell like a decomposing dolphin.

If one is not careful, natural medicine seeps into every unguarded crevice of conversation. How are you, Helen? I am very well. Oh, well, then you probably need FISH OIL. How are you Helen? Troubled by the cynicism of our parliamentary system. Oh, well, then you probably need FISH OIL How are you Helen? Ready to manually kill the next shitter who forms the phrase “fish oil”. Oh, well, then you probably need FISH OIL.

I don’t like to talk.

11 comments for “the manure of optimism

  1. October 30, 2010 at 8:07 am

    You’ll be glad to know that I’m currently looking at a google ad on you blog for “Natural remedies for kidney stones- FISH OIL”

  2. Mark
    October 31, 2010 at 2:52 am

    My daughter sent me this in sympathy, after I survived a brief period of having to deal with a co-worker for whom zinc and coneflowers could cure all and a father-in-law who is “allergic to chemicals” (that makes drinking H2O a bit dicey). The co-worker has moved on and the in-law has moved out, but the scars remain. Thanks for opening the old wounds … it was worth it to get a good laugh.

    • October 31, 2010 at 11:33 am

      I, too, once shared a cubicle with a woman who attributed what she saw as my “adult ADD’ to the use of salicylic acid-based shampoo. “You could really concentrate better if you’d just switch to an organic brand,” she said as she did precisely nothing throughout our professional relationship.

  3. Caustic Paws
    October 31, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Helen–You go, gir-r-r-l!! I work in healthcare in the US and if I had a penny for every time someone said, “I want something ‘natural’ to treat my problem . . .” Anyway, if I think the patient can handle it, I’ll say “cancer is natural, too.” Natural doesn’t mean harmless. Many of the so-called natural remedies–vitamin and herbal supplements come straight from our friends in China. The more I read about the horrors that one finds in a poorly regulated industry in that country, the more I worry about what my “natural” patients are putting into their bodies . . . Thanks for the rant I wish I had written!!

    • October 31, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      Well, my thanks, Caustic. While I do understand (a) there are some ailments best treated with patience, rest and sensible nutrition and (b) the pharmaceutical complex works, often, in tandem with organisations, like the American Psychiatric Association in their creation of the DSM, to create disease that might be “cured”, I become unspeakably angry when every shitter and their dog recommends local honey and nasal irrigation for serious and chronic disease. One of my favourite people in the world has MS and I cannot even begin to count the number of people who “helpfully” suggested everything from bee stings to yoga to reiki freaking healing upon her diagnosis. Who ARE these people? Where the fuck do they get off prescribing treatment for a disease that remains a mystery to even the most erudite neurologists? When did they suddenly understand the interaction between immune response and the central nervous system?
      I understand, particularly in the US where health care remains accessible only to the privileged, that sick people are desperate for hope and think that they might find it in a static system of medicine like that in China. I.e. If you have cancer and you want to drown in fresh juice and deer penis, I have no problem with that. The problem I do have is with everyday people feeling free to diagnose, prescribe and generally get all snifffy with seriously ill people who continue, against amatuer advice, to eat gluten or whatever.

  4. Fiona
    December 5, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Don’t start me on the number of people who have told me that my father’s cancer could have been cured if he simply had a “better mental attitude”.

    The man smoked from the age of 16, in restaurants he practically asked for the salad to be deep fried; he was a lifestyle choice waiting to explode. He was also the jolliest man since the bloke in the fat red suit.

    “Hi herbal f**k. Can you spell mutating cells?”

  5. meridaen
    March 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Not many things make me laugh out loud in my own company. This did. Not sure if it was because you were repeating a diatribe I have repeated a million times in my own head, or because I have obviously become that person among my friends of whom every link with even the slightest hint of critical thinking is sent to as to assure me that they aren’t gullible.

    The amount of this shit that has pervaded society is ridiculous. Jesus, I live in a town of about 6K, and we have 3 chiropractors and an acupuncturist. What. The. Fuck.

    Although I don’t really care too much about the supplement/herbal side of things… they tend to be more of a wallet extraction than anything else, it’s the absolute morons that endanger young lives by pushing their ridiculous beliefs onto their children that piss me off. Idiots who send their toddlers to chiropractors to get spinal realignments, or just deprive their children of routine vaccinations, at the very least robbing society of herd immunity, these are the people who take the jam out of my donut.

    So much anger. I need some fish oil.

    Nice post.


  6. meridaen
    March 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Pithy, yet underwhelming.

  7. meridaen
    March 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Damn winking emoticon didn’t work. I assure you it was there.

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