I’m going to die. At least that’s what my twitter feed tells me. Every day. Today it’s because I’ve used Tylenol. Yes, the 10 years of heavy drinking is not the worst thing that could have happened to my liver. It’s the acetaminophen that will getcha. Or at least the spelling, man look at all the vowels it uses. Couldn’t fit a “u” in their somewhere while they’re at it? Anyway, yesterday my fate was sealed. According to this report combination drugs with more than 325mg of acetaminophen can lead to liver damage. This isn’t the first sign of danger. A couple months ago, family members were in a tizzy when they heard taking over 4 grams per day could cause an overdose. Damn, what was Walter White messing around with that ricin capsule when he just needed to keep some extra Tylenol in his pocket. #SPOILERS #OTCDEATH
Funny thing. 4 grams is 4000mg. (I think, my math is just awful) Most people will take two 200mg tablets every few hours. So yes, if you use two pills every two hours for 10 straight hours then you may cause liver damage. You also may be dead from whatever is causing you enough pain to overuse the pills that badly. For Christ’s sake, go to the hospital. You have appendicitis. Stop taking so many pills. If they didn’t work the first time…yeah, go ahead keep taking more, chief. Also noted in this study was that by drinking alcohol, you increase the risk of liver damage without even needing to hit the 4g marker. SHOCKING. Contrary to what your Irish Great-Grandmother told you, whiskey does not cure everything. Even if it does feels that way.
I admit acetaminophen seems to have higher risks associated with it than other OTC pain relievers. But probably less than rat poison. That is not how the media presents it. I guess “Pain reliever if taken in large quantities while drinking Jameson may cause liver damage” is not the catchy headline CNN is looking for. But it’s all scare tactics. And page views. Yet somehow people can’t always see through it. When everyone with half a brain unfortunately catches a Fox News report that says something like “Studies Show: Knowing gay people reduces the quality of your life” people are usually savvy enough to be weary of the results. But when Huffington Post runs something like “Studies Show: Avocados help avoid cancer”, it’s sadly not unreasonable to see a run at Whole Foods.
Any moron who has taken a basic statistics class (C+ Baby!), or umm…read 200 articles about the Baseball Hall of Fame Voting over the last two weeks can tell you that statistics can be misleading. You do a study on peaches, and can probably find some useful stats good and bad about them. And if your study is funded by the Golly Gee Georgia Peach Corporation, you may also leave out a few that don’t help your case. Likewise if you really like Jack Morris, you’re going to talk up the categories where he out-pitched his contemporaries, and de-emphasize the crap out of the ones that show he was barely an average player. We all know that the researcher can have an agenda, or the media outlet, or the family member or friend who wants you to stop drinking so they don’t have to clean up your vomit anymore. So they will compile some evidence based on hard numbers to back up their argument. And you curse them out that it can’t be true, please don’t make me give up Margarita Wednesdays, these numbers are bogus. But statistics don’t lie, people do.
I’m personally just exhausted by the amount of information. I’m not trying to be the old man who says screw it, my dad smoked 4 packs a day and ate bacon every morning, and he lived forever. But there needs to be a line between ignoring everything you read versus throwing away everything in your house that will supposedly cause you cancer. Your dishware, your windows, your soaps, they will kill you. There was a hoax going around that your refrigerator magnets will give you cancer as well. As for the things inside your refrigerator, studies shows that milk, soda, apples, grapes, farmed salmon, hot dogs, canned tomatoes, popcorn (how did that get in the fridge?), microwave dinners, pickles, charred food, and well meat in general increases the risk of cancer. Conversely, you can eat garlic, broccoli, tomatoes (hey, wait a minute), strawberries, carrots, spinach, etc and fight the C word (no not that one (cunt (yeah I said))). These foods may stop you from getting certain types of cancer. They may also stop you from becoming a huge fat ass, but apparently that wasn’t enough motivation.
Cancer is always the attention seeking one. Who do they think they are? Building off everyone’s insecurities about death and old age, health risks in general seem to grab people the most with their “studies”. It’s constant. The foods. The habits. All dangerous. Somehow people are living until they are 150 years old, yet we need to monitor everything we do like we’re infants. With Peanut Allergies. In a crib made of sharp metals objects. Inside a volcano. Sure most of it is common sense at this point, (wow drinking causes memory loss? I didn’t pick up on that when last night I got hammered and couldn’t remember a thing this morning), but if you can make a living researching how I’m better off eating a carrot than a cheeseburger all the more power to you.
Still I’m skeptical of where this information is coming from. And you should be too. When a study tells you that most car accidents happen within 10 miles from your home, do you stop driving? No! Because common sense tells you most of your driving happens within 10 miles from your home. The information is entirely meaningless. When people are scared about marriage and they quote the study that shows 50% of marriage end in divorce tell them its Bullshit. It’s based on someone who couldn’t understand the statistics 40 years ago. Sure, in reality it’s still like 1 in 3 marriages, but I don’t know, don’t marry a C word (see above) and you’ve improved your odds right there. Don’t live in fear because of some numbers that you haven’t taken the time understand what they mean or where they come from. Or spend your life constantly changing your diet, lifestyle, and every imaginable earthly possession as you find out how dangerous it is supposed to be. Even though whatever device that you’re reading this on will probably kill you anyway.