News roundup: drugs, sex, and injuries

March 2, 2019 by Joshua
in Blog

I read the news—more specifically, pages that refresh daily or more frequently—a couple times a month and usually regret it. It usually reminds me that their main goal is to keep people reading, which it achieves by prompting outrage or some other emotion that keeps bringing you back but doesn’t necessarily improve your life.

That is, news is more “want more” than “tastes good.”

Anyway, since I read some news, I’ll comment on some stories.

Sex

On the sex front, Rather than wrestle a girl in the state championship, this high schooler forfeited. The headline doesn’t specify that the wrestler who chose to forfeit is male. Assuming he would be seems to perpetuate that wrestlers are male.

What gets me is the number of commenters who call the boy who forfeited cowardly. Wrestling seems to me among the most grueling sports, making competitors the most vulnerable. For a non-wrestler to call a competitive wrestler cowardly seems only to show their ignorance.

The boy cited religious reasons. While I’m no fan of setting policy on supernatural—which I consider unfounded—beliefs, for people to choose for themselves for their reasons seems their business.

Many commenters said he was afraid to lose to a girl. No competitor intends to lose. Everyone knows you will lose sometimes. To say he is afraid to lose to a girl more than a boy again shows ignorance. He trained to compete to win. To choose to forfeit must have been a grueling decision.

In any case, if there is any root problem, given that girls’ and boys’ bodies differ at some point, making direct competition impossible, I see the lack of girls competing. Where are the other girls to create a competitive division?

For that matter, where are the fans for, say, the WNBA? Wikipedia’s most recent viewership numbers (2017) are the lowest ever. If we want equality, where is the support from women for women’s sports teams?

Drugs

I’ve meant to write on a longstanding trend to call medicine “meds.” The story I read that did so is immaterial except that it reminded me of this Consumer Reports article, Too Many Meds? America’s Love Affair With Prescription Medication: We now take more pills than ever. Is that doing more harm than good?.

I write and podcast about how much more rewarding I find life replacing the cultural values of growth and externalizing costs with enjoying what you have and taking responsibility for the effects of your actions on others.

While people who haven’t questioned received values tend to knee-jerk reactions like thinking any alternative means returning to the stone age, I find enjoying vegetables and sailing compatible with modernity.

By contrast, I don’t think many of them look at the opiates, alcohol, sugar, gluttony, complacency, craving, and other addictions their values foment and normalize.

In particular, calling medicine “meds,” normalizes behavior that, while important in some cases, according to Consumer Reports, which I find credible, is “bad.” For the rest of my comments, I’m talking about use that Consumer Reports calls bad.

As they write, “If you’re like most Americans, you probably start your day with a hot shower, a cup of coffee—and a handful of pills.” Not some Americans, but most.

They continue, “Much of that medication use is lifesaving or at least life-improving. But a lot is not. The amount of harm stemming from inappropriate prescription medication is staggering. Almost 1.3 million people went to U.S. emergency rooms due to adverse drug effects in 2014, and about 124,000 died from those events.”

“Staggering”!

The article says Americans are “taking too many drugs” and “taking drugs that aren’t needed.” Read the rest for more.

What’s wrong with us? Why do we continue to normalize behavior like this: “The percentage of Americans taking more than five prescription medications has nearly tripled in the past 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in our survey, over a third of people 55 and older were taking that many drugs; 9 percent were taking more than 10.”

“In some cases, multiple drugs are “completely appropriate,” says Michael Hochman, M.D., of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. But as the number of drugs piles up, so does the need for caution. “The risk of adverse events increases exponentially after someone is on four or more medications,” he says.”

Again, read the rest for yourself for more depressing news.

And I recommend respecting drugs by not glibly calling them meds or otherwise normalizing them.

Injury

Last year I wrote a piece You’re supposed to get injured in which I observed that while unfit people claimed injury kept them from exercise, that fit people seemed to get injured more.

Like communities in business, competitive sports, arts and music, and plenty of other fields that learned that failure happens on the way to success, I’ve found that injury happens on the way to fitness.

Runner’s World reports Harvard Runner Loses Shoe, Gains Gruesome Injury on Way to Winning Championship 3K. Another runner stepped on his heel during a race, accidentally I’m sure, which led to him having to kick his shoe off to run effectively. Modern tracks are soft to shoes but rough on feet. Look at the foot he won on:

He won the next day’s 5k too. From the article:

“With the help of his teammates setting a comfortable pace in the 5K, Tuntivate went on to win the race with a time of 14:25.32, securing the 20 points he wanted to get his team for the weekend.

“It was a good weekend,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. They paced me in the 3K, and in the 5K, they helped me set a pace, because if we were changing paces, that would have hurt my foot.”

A few days out, Tuntivate is still recovering. He has not run on his injured foot yet, but he feels comfortable enough to do so in the coming days.”

Bravo to a man who dug deep. He didn’t ask for it, but when it happened, he showed that what he was made of and remind us what we’re all capable of.

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