Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pomegranates and Felons

What would YOU pay for a book (or two) that told you how you could eat just plain old natural foods and dramatically improve your health/stop taking medications/feel younger?

We're always hearing about health trends that sound too good to be true. After reading of all the potential health benefits of pomegranates and pomegranate juice, I'm about ready to try that.

Anyway, the aforementioned books, which shall remain nameless (principally because I've forgotten their names) sounded pretty good to my friend GliderRider and her husband. The books were FREE! (The shipping charges were $19.99, but the books were free.) So they rushed off their order for the books—AS SEEN ON TV—and when they received them, my friend started reading immediately so that she could get her new health benefits right away.

My friend is very thorough, and she started with the Disclaimer, which informed her of several things, to-wit:

1. The author doesn’t have a medical background, the material in the book is just opinion, and it includes stuff he made up just for fun.
2. You should talk to your doctor, not believe made-up stuff you read in a book.
3. Not only is the author making up stuff to sell books, but he is also a twice-convicted felon. He never said the contents of the book were true, did he?

She brought the books to work today so we could see that the Disclaimer actually said these things. We were howling! By the time the other employees joined us to grumble about how much they, too, had spent on these books and vowing to have a book-burning party, patients were coming up to the front desk going, “Are you people drinking in here, or what?”

In my friend’s defense, I recounted to her the time I’d been looking at microfilm while on a genealogy quest. While browsing through some 19th-century newspapers, I enjoyed the ads that blanketed the papers; people were selling every kind of snake oil you could imagine---potions to restore your youth, miracle cures for every possible health condition, and so on.

So I told her not to feel badly—some things never change, and the world will always be full of ingenious people using clever tricks to separate us from our money.

Admitting you’re a felon who makes up stuff was pretty brazen, though.

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