Be afraid. Be very afraid.


I like to think that when it comes to fear, I keep things in perspective. And when my rational mind can’t control my anxiety, I try to figure out ways to deal with it. When I’m about to take-off on the 11am flight from San Francisco to New York on JetBlue, for example, and am unable to connect the statistical improbability of a plane crash with the gnawing feeling of dread in my stomach as we start taxi-ing down the runway, I tune my DirecTV to Comedy Central and stare into Jon Stewart’s blue, smiling eyes until our plane has reached a safe cruising altitude.

Where was I? Oh, yes. This article from Medical News Today that says an ADA-sponsored study recently found that Americans are more frightened of dying in a plane crash, being hit by lightning, being bitten by a snake or being attacked by a shark than they are of developing diabetes.

I’m sorry, oh fear-stricken Americans. But that is stupid.

Here are two reasons why:

-24 million people have diabetes. Want to know how many people die after being attacked by sharks each year? Not that many. Sharks wish they had that many people to munch on — it’d be like a fucking all-you-can-eat buffet. Well, sorry, sharks. We diabetics don’t like boats.

-Ditto the snakes.

With those two fears set aside, think about how many times per day you eat donuts. Hell, even if like me, you do not even like donuts, chances are you are in close proximity to a cruller far, far more often than you are to a rattlesnake. Sure, you’d have to eat a fair number of donuts, plus have an unfortunate genetic predisposition and a sedentary lifestyle, for this to result in your getting type 2 diabetes. But think about it this way: what if diabetes became airborne? And you could catch it just by walking into Dunkin’ Donuts? See? You need to reevaluate your fears.

I must say, though, that while I think that anyone who worries about lightning more than they do about diabetes needs a head check, I don’t appreciate the way the article progresses. I know that diabetes sucks — you don’t need to rub it in with paragraphs like this:

But accidents and animal attacks don’t compare to diabetes. While the impact of a shark attack, lightning strike or plane crash may be more immediate, the reality is, the consequences of mismanaged diabetes can have equally severe consequences that include loss of limbs or even death. In fact, 491 deaths related to commercial aviation accidents happened in 2007 whereas diabetes contributed to 233,619 deaths in 2005.

Um, thanks, Medical News Today. Way to lay down the statistics. I’m okay with worrying about diabetes more than I do about snake bites, but I’d still prefer to keep my fears abstract.

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