Every so often I cop a squat at Whole Foods and flip through a weekly publication called the San Diego Reader. The Reader is the go-to magazine for finding fun stuff to do in SD, and best of all it’s FREE.
In order to make such a widely circulating publication available at no charge, advertiser funding is a must. Crack open this week’s Reader and you’ll surely find the first twenty pages or so crammed with ads for gastric bypass surgeries, anti-aging potions, and a plethora of hair loss cures.
The ads that stand out to me the most are the ones seeking participants for prescription drug trials. You know, the ones that shout out in big letters…
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM SOCIAL ANXIETY?
GOT THE BLUES?
IS YOUR MEMORY NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE?
If so, you’re asked to dial 1-800-GUINEA-PIG to learn how you can take part in a study testing the efficacy of a new breakthrough drug. In fact, they’ll even pay for your participation. Easy money. It’s the best of both worlds — a company pays you cash to help solve your health challenge with the latest in pharmaceutical technology. In today’s economy, for many people, this is a no-brainer.
Then again, subjecting oneself to a relatively untested drug may come at a cost. To be one of the first to consume a brand new combination of chemicals never before encountered by any human body in the history of Earth is quite the precarious situation to be in. You would not believe the stories I have read about these trials — the unforeseen side effects, the sky-high drop-out rates, the deaths.
When I was just a little guy, one of my favorite movies was Weird Science. I wanted to be just like Gary and Wyatt, taking magazine clippings of their ideal female features, hooking them up to electrodes, and creating Lisa, the perfect woman.
Fast forward 20 years and reality is swiftly becoming weirder than fiction. No, the perfect woman has yet to be developed. Well, unless you’re my amazing girlfriend, of course. But if the fossil record is correct and fish were truly the first to evolve into land dwellers, we may be well on our way.
It all began with fish.
Yet again, history is on the precipice of repeating itself. Pandora’s Box is on the verge of losing its lid. The fish is back at it. This time it’s genetically modified and it’s ready for your plate.
The FDA never ceases to amaze me. Just when I thought I had seen and heard it all, the Big Brother of Food Policy has announced that a genetically modified line of Atlantic salmon pending approval poses no harm to humans. When you cut through the doublespeak, this means:
“Pretty soon we will be approving GMO salmon and will require zero labeling for it, so you will have no idea if the salmon on your plate is a Frankenfish or not. Unfortunately, we have no long-term research on this new fish that has never been consumed by human beings in the history of the world, but you’ll be okay. We promise! Actually, even though we’re the federal food police, we did absolutely no research of our own on this fish. We left it up to the company who invented it and also stands to profit from it. Anyway, you’ve been unknowingly eating GMO corn and soy by the boatload for years. You’ll be just fine!”