Wednesday, December 08, 2010

'Beware of waking up in the morning. That may indicate...'

This column on the warning signs of a heart attack is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read, and, once again, illustrates the folly of trying to write broad prescriptives, in almost any realm, that apply to all comers (especially when you're interpreting a complex topic for a non-specialized audience). What you end up with is something like this, which basically implies that everyone is having a heart attack at all times, and therefore we should all be seeing our doctors constantly for evaluation. By extension, this is also the fatal flaw in self-help products that distill life, or even any particular precinct of it, to "7 Keys" or "10 Steps" or whatever.

Ultimately, by trying to be comprehensive, all-inclusive and general, you fail to provide an actionable benefit to any specific anyone.

7 comments:

kevin said...

Hi Steve,

From what I can tell that's just par for the course when it comes to Yahoo articles.

Of greater interest is the top right hand ad telling of a "secret stock trading strategy" which the inventor is letting us mere mortals in on because its soon to be exposed by WikiLeaks.

namowal said...

Ha! This reminds me of the 'signs someone is on drugs' posters that were hung up in my high school. A few friends and I used to go up to them and loudly 'check off' all the symptoms that applied to us.

Boredom? Check. Sleeping in late? Check. Trouble with authority? Check. The signs should have been headed 'signs someone is a teenager'.

I do especially like #10 on the heart attack list. Next time I'm not feeling myself I think I'll let my doctor know about it!

Dimension Skipper said...

"Imagine you're having a heart attack, it's easy if you try..."

Sorry, totally off topic for the post, I just had to point this out here given that the thread of the article is along the lines of fairly recent—within the last month or so?—SHAMblog conversations...

In memory of John Lennon, why 'Imagine' is a terrible idea
By Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post

Dimension Skipper said...

Correct link now installed... Sorry, I tried to correct it earlier because I realized I'd neglected to include the link right exactly as I clicked the submit button, but apparently there was still some subsequent confusion so mea culpa.
__________

"Imagine you're having a heart attack, it's easy if you try..."

Sorry, totally off topic for the post, I just had to point this out here given that the thread of the article is along the lines of fairly recent—within the last month or so?—SHAMblog conversations...

In memory of John Lennon, why 'Imagine' is a terrible idea
By Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post

RockitQueen said...

Steve, THANK YOU! My coworker and I were making fun of this yesterday. Anxious? Must be a heart attack! Neck pain? Heart attack! Don't feel like yourself? Heart attack!!!

Steve Salerno said...

RQ: Thanks for stopping by again to say that.

But you know...I've heard that cynicism and a tendency to write the phrase "thank you" in all caps is a possible sign of heart trouble. Perhaps you should check with your doctor...?

Dimension Skipper said...

Go ahead, folks, poo-poo all you want, but just remember: "emerging research suggests" a possible correlation between poo-pooing and heart attacks.¹

¹ Not intended to diagnose or treat any particular disease or medical condition. Always consult your doctor before beginning a regimen of poo-pooing to determine if poo-pooing may be right for you. Possible side effects of poo-pooing may include (but not necessarily be confined to) drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, thirst, dizziness upon standing, light sensitivity, rash, itchiness, blurred vision, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, diarrhea, constipation, depression, mania, paranoid schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome, M√ľnchausen syndrome, suicidal thoughts, cramps, tremors, ADD, ADHD, ED, PMS, OCD, gout, tendonitis, OCD, tinnitus, OCD, deafness, OCD, as well as falling and not being able to get up. And OCD.

;-)