Hoping for the real truth from the gloom brigade

MIKE ROYKO

November 23, 1992|By MIKE ROYKO

Scientists are engaged in frenzied competition. In research centers all over this country, they are racing to see who can come up with a new study or shocking finding that will be the week's most depressing news story.

If it isn't what we shouldn't be eating or drinking or breathing, it is the end of the world. That's this week's Newsweek cover story: Everything you want to know about "Doomsday Science," and how comets and asteroids might get us, and if they don't, the sun will fry us to a crisp.

But that isn't the worst, since the world isn't expected to end for a few billion years, so we have time to get our estates in order and put on clean underwear.

Of more immediate concern is a study that was unveiled at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

The study said that if you are going to have a heart attack, you are more likely to have it on a Monday than on any other day of the week. In fact, the rate of heart attacks on Mondays is 50 percent higher than any other day of the week.

But not for everyone. If you are a woman at home, Mondays aren't any more dangerous than any other day. (If you wonder what "a woman at home" is, you don't listen to public radio, which is where political correctness is at its most correct. A woman at home is how they now describe what used to be called a housewife, homemaker, wife, mother, etc., in the sexist days of old.)

Nor is Monday dangerous if you are a man at home. Or even a man sitting in the corner tavern, which is far better than being a man at home.

Mondays are dangerous only to the tickers of those who have to get up and go to work. Which shows what a racket scientific research really is. The group that revealed the Monday Ticker Threat spent years studying thousands of people. But anybody who works could have saved them the bother. Every Monday morning, millions of people around the world get up, shuffle into the bathroom, look in the mirror, think about the hectic commute, the hated boss, the tedious job, the long week ahead, and maybe the pain of a hangover, and mutter: "Agh, I could die."

So should it be surprising that many of them do?

This study will receive widespread attention, as all grim scientific findings do. That's why the scientists are in their Gloom Race. They know that good news is ignored. Or even suppressed. Somewhere, under government lock and key, is a study that says the martini is good for you. And two martinis are better for you than one. But that study is being kept secret because it would make millions of husbands happy, and millions of wives furious, and poses a danger to family values.

Most people will overlook the real significance of the Dangerous Monday Study. It isn't that Mondays are bad for you. It's that work is. If people weren't getting up to go to work, the Monday heart-attack rate would probably drop.

It proves that Slats Grobnik was way ahead of his time. Years ago, he heard some experts talk about the benefits of work and the glories of the work ethic, and how it builds character, pride, self-esteem and a sense of purpose.

Slats said: "Yeah? If work is so good, how come they got to pay us to do it?"

Besides identifying Monday as the most dangerous of days, the scientists also pinpointed the most dangerous hours on Monday or any other day. They said you are more likely to keel over during the first two hours after getting out of bed.

So we now know that we are in greatest peril during those 120 minutes when we roll out of the sack, gulp down some coffee, scrape the stubble from our faces (or apply makeup, as in the case of female persons or alternative-lifestyled males), listen to the morning broadcasts of mankind's latest madness, plunge into traffic, and get out there to hustle a buck.

And especially on a Monday morning.

Now that we know of this peril, what can be done to reduce it?

Hah. That is another trick of the scientists. First they say: "We have a new study that shows you are in grave danger." And we say: "Oh, my goodness, what should we do?" And they say: "Uh, we don't know yet."

Well, thank you very much. You go ahead and ruin Monday mornings for millions of people, then you say, in effect: "Well, if next Monday you should suddenly feel like an ape has you in a bear hug, remember, you heard it from us first."

However, the solution seems obvious. Don't get up on Monday mornings. Stay home. Pull the blanket over your head and don't get up until Tuesday.

But the scientists already thought of that. They said people would just start dropping dead on Tuesdays instead of Mondays.

So you can't win, unless you want to stay in bed until Sunday, which is the safest day of the week for your heart. Unfortunately, most of us can't do that.

But I wish those scientists would. Either that, or tell us the truth about the martini.

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