Only Natural

Euell Gibbons famously ate wild hickory nuts and yet still died from a rare disease. Jim Fixx rode the early running craze as a best-selling author but dropped dead of a heart attack.

This “eat healthy and get exercise” thing is overrated but I try to do it anyway.

And yet.

Polio is natural, and the vaccine is artificial. Famine is natural. Farming and crop rotation—even without pesticides—is a man-made thing. I’m confused and yet I’m still captivated by the “natural.”

My wife says to me one day, while I’m sitting drinking a beer and watching the big game: “When are you going to start paying attention to your health? I’m already a football widow. I don’t want to be an actual widow.”

So, I lit up a cigarette and I started thinking about it.

That’s when I began contemplating the natural and the unnatural. I figured, if I did things the natural way, I’d die a natural death. That sounded better, to me, than a stupid, unnecessary, unnatural death. My wife was a natural woman. Maybe I should become a natural man.

Now I wear only cotton or wool. I eat food labeled “organic,” saving me the trouble of having a lab in my home or even knowing what “organic” means. I use natural herbs and plants instead of medicines. I commune with nature—not giant TV sports.

Then they found a dark spot on my lung. With advances in medicine, they detected another 17 latent or emerging diseases of consequence.

Now I’m getting gene therapy, hoping to wipe out all those natural diseases in the most unnatural way possible. It should work unless those rowdy nature-lovers protesting outside get to me first. My wife is trying to fend them off with a broom—made of wood and natural horsehair.