When bad health is good

My Venezuelan wife adores an Instagram account run by a couple whose circumstances mirror our own. The creator is an American man who is married to a Venezuelan woman. He posts short skits that make fun of the couple’s polar opposite cultures and personalities.

In one video, a spontaneous party has erupted after dark at the couple’s house. Venezuelan friends are showing up with food, drink, and festive energy. As the night drags on, the husband is desperately trying to get people out. He’s conspicuously washing dishes, turning off lights, and clapping guests on the shoulder while thanking them for coming. The video concludes with the husband opening the front door to successfully escort some folks out. At the same moment, a new visitor strides through the open door in the other direction, gripping a bottle of rum and giving the husband a warm kiss on the cheek.

My wife thought this video was hilarious and couldn’t wait to share it with me. She asked if I thought it was funny too. I said, actually no. This is my life.

I met my wife nearly a decade ago, and the best thing that has happened for our relationship is that she and her friends got old. More precisely, their lifestyle has caught up with them. For sure, everyone now is exhausted by kids. But also, their health is in decline.

In Venezuela, abundant sun, sand, and shellfish protect the inhabitants against the consequences of excess. In the United States, however, every community is vulnerable to health propaganda. “I follow all the health guidelines,” people think to themselves. “I avoid red meat, use vegetable oils, take a statin for my cholesterol, slather on sunscreen, and I am up to date on my shots. I’m surprised I’m falling apart — must be my genetics.”

My wife and I hosted a Venezuelan couple for dinner last Saturday (they left at 8 pm). I’ve started playing a new game with acquaintances. I tell them my age (50) and they think it’s a joke. When they see my straight face, they ask for my secret, and I describe my lifestyle choices.

To them, the information is all new. And why should they know? Big Food and their physician enablers fill the airwaves with absurd claims (i.e., soybean oil is good for your heart, grains lower cholesterol, mammal meat causes diabetes). Our media watchdogs, funded by this industry’s advertising, have every incentive to go along.

For my wife, my kids, and even random yahoos, I don’t try and argue the specifics. Health is the perfect case for demonstrate, don’t explicate. I model the behavior for optimal health, and I am able to persuade not with my words but rather the result.

Similar Posts