Lately I’ve been reading a lot about things that are harmful to our health. Now by this, I don’t mean activities like bungee-jumping or selling nuclear bombs to third world countries. No, I mean the new wave hazards that threaten life as we know it; the really dangerous stuff, like hair dyes and sunshine.
Recent studies have shown that laboratory rats are unable to withstand constant exposure to extreme amounts of hair dye and artificial sweeteners. (I harbour a secret suspicion that some of them also suffer from irregularity, but we’re not being told about that.)
Almost any day now, I expect to read the following story in the newspaper: “Laboratory scientists have conclusively proven that absolutely everything is hazardous to your health. In fact, the healthier you are, the more hazardous everything really is. And if you happen to be a laboratory rat, things are TERRIBLY hazardous indeed.”
No doubt about it, our laboratory rats are failing a lot of tests these days, and I think we’re looking at the problem from the wrong point of view. Maybe things really aren’t so hazardous after all. Maybe the problem is we have a bunch of weakling rats.
What can you expect though? We’ve created a bunch of lazy bums. They get free food and lodging, and never have to work for a living. No alley cats to trim their fat little rat-tails. I can see them now, in their plush air-conditioned cages, sipping tea, nibbling on Camembert (warm, mind you) and watching Lives of the Rich and Disgusting…”Ho hum…think I might take a little spin on the wheel today. Or maybe not. TOO exhausting. How about you, Rodney?”
No matter how you slice it, this is not the typical lifestyle of your average homo sapiens. And I’m not prepared to throw in the towel because a few wimpy lab rats can’t handle the rough and tumble of everyday life. These rodents need a little toughening up. Get them out of their posh surroundings and into the real world. Turn them loose in downtown Toronto without a credit card. Establish a fitness program based on dodging Airport Taxis. Make them drive the 401 in rush hour. Breathe that Hamilton smog!
Three months of living on fast food and caffeine like the rest of us will get them into shape. Clairol Light Ash Brown and ultraviolet rays will simply slide off their hardy little bodies.
It’ll never happen though. We pamper them with booze, cigarettes, luxurious surroundings, free meals, and all kinds of perks. But then again, we do it for our politicians, so why not our rats?