NO SOUP FOR YOU!

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans. More than 1.1 million Americans will have a heart attack this year. A quarter of us who shuffle off this mortal coil each year will be felled by heart disease, often due to a high-sodium diet. High blood pressure, Heart Attacks, STROKES — WHO WILL SAVE US?

Have no fear, beefy brothers and stout sisters! The mighty Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, is on the case even as we speak. Fresh off a victory against the scourge of public smoking, he’s fixed a new target in his sights — one of the truly diabolical demons of the dietary dominion:

Soup.

It appears the elevated levels of sodium in some canned foods have incited His Honor into action. The City of New York is embarking on a taxpayer-funded, $500,000 campaign to demonstrate to the denizens of the Big Apple that eating soup is… bad. Subway walls will be festooned with posters depicting cans of Bean ‘n Bacon machine-gunning customers outside the Carnegie Deli. Actually, the posters will depict soup cans overflowing with geysers of salt. It’s more of a kinder, gentler, patronizing tone.

And patronizing is the operative word here. This is a half million dollars which could have sent a couple of kids to college, to the store for a decade’s worth of groceries or even to a Yankees home game (obstructed view seats).

Let’s assume that Bloomberg’s heart is in an appropriately low-sodium place. He’s going to plaster the walls of the electric sewer with posters warning Noo Yawkezz to lay off the salt. Wouldn’t the half million be better spent simply having Bloomberg run around Central Park pelting passerby with broccoli florets? In a city renowned the world over for culinary excess — e.g. those curbside carts where broccoli is most decidedly NOT served — at least Bloomberg would give his loyal constituents a laugh. Remember kiddies: happy = healthy! At the very least, the Mayor himself would be safer. Just imagine this unfortunate exchange:

Bloomberg: See here, Paulie! Unhand that minestrone! It’s full of sodium!

Paulie: Yo, Nico! Get duh sim-ment. Hizzahnna’s goin’ fuh a swim.”

Mr. Mayor — put down the roughage, and back slowly away.

Paulie’s steady diet of cured meats will likely have him swimming with the fishes ahead of schedule, presuming he doesn’t die of — ahem — lead poisoning first. But $500,000 to convince Paulie and the crew that high-sodium diets are bad for you?

Imagine instead of working in “second-hand plumbing supplies,” Paulie is a chef at Teodora. Are we to believe that he’s going to serve up the finest linguine con vongole on the Eastern Seaboard, but dine on cauliflower in the kitchen? Does Paulie play football in Flatbush on Saturday afternoons? He could get hurt. How about $500,000 to convince him to take up knitting? Those needles can be pretty sharp. Better we just take the half million and wrap Paulie and his pals in foam rubber.

Come to think of it, when we consider all the ills which may befall us, perhaps the Federal government could step in. Instead of $500,000, it could be $500 BILLION. We’ll wrap everyone in foam rubber. We’ll spend the rest of the cash on organic vegetable farming. Of course, we’ll be wrapped in foam rubber, so we’ll have to import labor to do the actual farming, get the veggies to the market, to our houses, to our plates and even our mouths. But then, the farmers and feeders will want benefits; and that means more foam rubber.

We’re going to have to take our chances. Despite Bloomberg’s crusade against the Campbell’s Kids, along with similar nanny-state efforts against smoking, carbon emissions and even light bulbs, some people drive their hybrids to the co-op to buy candles, and others pick up the Fatty-Fatty-Fat-Fat Platter at the Stop’n’Gorge after installing new halogens on the F-350. And some are going to grab their chests at 55, and others will check out much later.

Take some advice from Dr. Mark Wiley and Bob Livingston at the Personal Liberty Digest: Try to live a reasonably healthy lifestyle. Although I could use a little improvement in a few areas, I don’t require the Federal government or Bloomberg to spend your money and mine to do it. (Dr. Wiley’s advice is free!) Even McDonald’s doesn’t tell you that the All-Big-Mac diet is going to prolong your life.

Eat healthier. And avoid socializing with “used plumbing supply salesmen.”

Of course, you still might get hit by a car, a bus or someone aiming at Paulie. Memo to Bloomberg:

This is going to cost a lot more than $500,000.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.