Monday, November 12, 2007

Lead Story.

I’ve grown a little weary with the tainted toy tales proliferating the news lately. Maybe unscrupulous manufacturers are cutting corners at the expense of our children, perhaps China is implementing a complex plan to achieve world domination, or maybe it’s just easy money for the pampered talking heads who call themselves news reporters. I don’t really care.

Lead paint is supposed to be bad. Apparently the consumption of lead can lead to mental defects but I don’t know if I buy the science behind that theory. Does lead cause cognitive problems or are the people inclined to eat lead a little slow in the first place? I was a kid once and of all the idiotic things I did munching the stray paint chip wasn’t one of them. I also don’t recall eating too many toys. Maybe spoiled rich kids have so many toys that they eat some out of boredom and extremely poor children eat them out of hunder but I was middle class. We had enough food but few toys. Even if we had enough toys to eat I don't think I would have. None of them seemed to appealing. My little brother also had a tendency to stick things up his butt so you really didn't know what you'd get. If it would fit in your mouth you could bet it would fit up his ass. Even without such a deterrent kids shouldn't eat toys. What kind of inbred little monsters are out there gobbling Thomas The Tank for breakfast?

The way I see it we should use lead paint more often. What sort of world are we creating for ourselves if we eliminate all of nature’s checks and balances? Idiots must die. It’s for the betterment of the species. Do we really want the sort of children who eat toys growing up to clog the gene pool with their moron mojo? I think not.

That is of course assuming that lead is bad in the first place. I think we need a better case study on this matter. Run down a list of the essential nutrients and you’ll find plenty of metals. Do you expect me to believe that Iron, copper, zinc and magnesium are essential nutrients but lead is bad? Please. I take chromium supplements but a little lead might turn my brain into mush? Get out of here. Sodium and magnesium are hazardous metals that will react dangerously with water and they're so good for me I take them in a multivitamin but lead, which has no reaction with water aside from sinking, is bad news. I think we might be giving lead a bad rap.

I’m not a scientist but I know enough about the process to understand they are often wrong. Sometimes a scientist becomes a slave to a hypothesis. They’ll see a fat man eating bacon and eggs and assume that bacon and eggs cause obesity but it’s not until they feed a fit and healthy man bacon and eggs that they realize obesity might be better attributed to cheeseburgers and candy bars. Could this be the reason we think lead is bad? Have scientists been depriving us of another essential nutrient just because a handful of inbred paint eaters scored poorly on an IQ test? Maybe.

They could be right, though. I know mercury is bad news in spite of the really cool name. When we were kids I was convinced that mercury was the key to attaining super speed much like that exhibited by the comic book hero The Flash. I carefully stole a bottle full of mercury from thermostat switches all over school and was prepared to drink it just before recess so I would gain super speed in time for our daily game of kickball. My best friend stole my bottle of mercury out of my book bag when I wasn’t looking and drank it before lunch. Nothing happened right away but over the next several weeks he turned a ghastly shade of pale and his hair fell out in clumps. The doctors managed to neutralize the mercury in his system but not before permanent damage was done. Now he works for the Bush administration as one of fifteen version of Dick Cheney. Interestingly enough all fifteen recruits were acquired through a medical records search for people who survived severe mercury poisoning. The real Dick Cheney is still alive but he has been hard wired into a defense computer at NORAD. My friend is the version who shot Harry Whittington but he did it under orders from Karl Rove because it was just the sort of thing the real Dick Cheney would do. It's a cool job but I don't know that looking like Dick Cheney is worth it.

Until we know more about lead and have some definitive proof that its bad I think we need to take a deep breath and relax. Is this really a problem? Do we have to send the global economy into a tail spin over this? I don’t think so. Tell your kids not to eat their toys. It’s that simple. If they listen you’ve got some bright kids with promising futures, if they don’t you get to purge the dead weight early and start fresh. It’s a win win situation. Now who wants to buy one of these bootlegged Thomas The Tank play sets?