Search This Blog

Sunday, June 3, 2012


It was with great interest that I read Edward Morrissey's CNN Opinion  BIG GULP?  MEET BIG BROTHER, about Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban of supersized soft drinks in New York City.  Earlier this week, a friend and I were having a discussion about this very subject.

Years ago when everyone jumped on the smoking banned-wagon (pun intended), I warned everyone who would listen that we need to be careful about personal rights.  Unfortunately, most people don't care unless and until someone proposes to ban something they're fond of.

Recently my family was in a nice restaurant enjoying lunch in New Jersey.  An older couple came in and was seated at a table next to us.  Obviously these people were old school and stored their winter clothing away with mothballs; a horrible odor that I personally can't stand.  When I couldn't think of any way to get up and change tables without making the newcomers feel uncomfortable, I simply, accidentally on purpose, spilled my entire glass of water on the tablecloth, forcing our move to a different table, which my son thought was hillarious.  Should I start a petition to ban mothballs? 

Personally, I can't stand perfume or aftershave, especially when it's applied in large doses.  I don't like the smell of acrylic nails being applied when you go for a simple manicure.  Both of these could be considered second-hand health risks to people with breathing problems.  But you'll never hear me calling for a ban on perfume, acrylic nails, alcohol or mothballs because I believe we have the right to behave as stupidly as we want to without government intervention.  The powers-that-be can argue that sugar, like cigarettes, is a national health concern, but there are so many things that I wouldn't choose to do or ingest that could be considered a  major health concern if you're looking at figures and statistics.

Many years ago when my youngest son was in grammar school, the McDRUG FREE group in Morristown, NJ decided to include alcohol in their list of drugs, adding "ALCOHOL IS A LIQUID DRUG" to all their banners and fliers.  Now, I'm not much of a drinker and never have been, and didn't give this too much thought until I went to the grocery store with my son.   My in-laws were coming for dinner and I added a six-pack of beer to my cart, since Grandpa always enjoyed a cold glass with dinner during the summer.  My young son started screaming for me to put the beer back on the shelf because it was a liquid drug!  I had to explain in great detail that while the McDrug Free group had good intentions, they weren't always right.  As a postscript to this, the children were all asked to sign (along with their parents) a pledge to remain drug and alcohol free.  After a long discussion, we sent a note to the teacher explaining why Bill would not be participating in this particular pledge.  How can an elementary school child have the understanding of a pledge to never take a drink???  When they had the McDrug Free assembly at school and asked each child to stand if they signed the pledge, the students seated near our son wanted to know why Bill didn't have to stand up.  Interestingly enough, our children didn't grow up to be druggies or alcoholics, but they did grow up having a strong sense of themselves and a compassion for others.  Please don't think this is an attack on the McDrug Free or DARE programs, but our "war on drugs" hasn't been very successful....maybe because we didn't call it the "BAN on drugs"?

Almost every moment of every day someone is doing something that could effect our health care costs.   Happy hour, chocolate, riding a motorcycle without a helmet, fried food, riding a bike on two lane roads without shoulders, donuts, tanning salons, bungee jumping, and the list goes on; all have an impact on our health and health care costs.  Don't tennis elbow, shin splints and housemaid's knee add to the health care costs, too?  Maybe we need a ban on housework?  The big question far should the government be allowed to go to curtail our personal freedom?

I grew up in an age when people would buy cartons of cigarettes as Christmas gifts (back when we could still call it Christmas), the same with BB guns, and no one thought twice about giving their son or daughter a copy of HUCKLEBERRY FINN.  We used to have tubes of something called Plastic Bubbles, a horrible chemical smelling substance we could blow into bubbles to toss around.  Every young boy made models with that stinky airplane glue -- I'm not even sure this stuff is still being sold.  We've evolved into being much more health conscious than our grandparents on one hand which is great, but much less so when it comes to things like food additives and preservatives.

Banning things we don't personally like or enjoy has become a way of life.  Books, music, food, activities, pick your favorite.  It's frightening to think that our children and grandchildren are growing up accepting that these new restrictions on personal choice are the norm.

I'm just glad that Mayor Bloomberg didn't attack diet soda or I'd really be in trouble.   While I'm thinking about it, New Yorkers need to definitely ban a fourth term for the mayor.  I'd sign that petition for sure!


  1. While I agree that the government should not regulating frivolous things, I do think they should be banning some things that they aren't... why is it legal for companies to radiate our food and not tell us? Why are the harmful side effects of some drugs hidden from public view?

    I love the pun -- the banned wagon! And what a neat trick... spilling the water. You are a kidder!

  2. Saloma, hi! Spilling the water was my only recourse. I didn't want to hurt the other couple's feelings and it seemed like the perfect distraction to move to another table. I just hate the smell of mothballs, always have.

    Hope you're home for a while and back to writing. Can't wait for your new book!

  3. i think nj is still safe! you can still get a quintuple gulp at your neighborhood morris county 7-eleven!