Chico and the Man (chicoandtheman) wrote,
Chico and the Man
chicoandtheman

People Say Ignorance Is Bliss, But I Don't Know...

The Man sez: Coworker 1 is pregnant, and we are all sssssssuper excited for her. Coworker 2 has adopted the position of pregnancy mentor because she has a baby. I have this overwhelming urge to school them on not being ridiculous every time I hear C2 tell C1 crazy bs. I have a very low tolerance for bs (and pain!) so I find myself rolling my eyes in an exaggerated manner behind C2's back many times each and every day. Some of C2's gems include which sex position will ensure a specific gender, a psychic C2 found on the Internet who will commune with the spirits to determine the exact day of delivery of her current and future babies (for a fee), an amber necklace for babies to wear to ease the discomfort of teething (with... magic?), all kinds of folk gender tests for the unborn baby (mixing pee with cabbage water, suspending a ring on a string over her belly, Chinese zodiac calculator, etc) a confusing mix of pro- and anti-hospital delivery commentary, and placenta encapsulation. WHY JESUS WHY??

See, these are not aa couple of people who just fell off the turnip truck. Both of them have college degrees. C2's degree is in biology!! How does that shit happen? The older I get, the more shocked I am to discover how very little critical thinking is applied by the supposedly enlightened people around me. Oh, the humanity. I don't consider myself to be one of the great thinkers of the modern age, but seriously come the fuck on.

But ignorance is bliss. I do not underestimate the placebo effect. The part of me that cannot abide by misinformation (e.x. The time I told my linguistics professor that the textbook he assigned had a pretty glaring error in the first chapter {the number of words for "snow" in eskimo, which is a factoid often passed around but was thoroughly debunked decades ago. By Linguists.} ) wants desperately to shout "Nn, but that thing you just said is so, so incorrect and I can easily disprove you!!!" But there is a new part, a new voice in among the chorus of my inner monologue, and this voice tells me to be judicious. Is this bit of wrong information potentially dangerous? Could it allow for a beneficial placebo effect? Because I've lived a colorless life. I know how difficult it is to look at the world through cement-colored glasses. As disgusting as placenta encapsulation may be to me and as scientifically impossible as the effective mechanism by which it purports to "treat" baby blues, so what? It probably won't harm her or the baby. I would say that it's her money to waste, but C1 is the type of highly suggestable person for whom a placebo is as effective as authentic medical treatments. Snake oil is not a waste of money if you believe its cure. Well, as long as it's not the old timey snake oil that had, like, mercury or lead paint or whatever deadly shit people treated as a panacea. Thus, even though I found plenty of evidence to debunk the placenta's curative properties, I kept my mouth shut.

But I'm not finished. The first consideration is the potential danger in C2's New Age homeopathic BS. Eating your own afterbirth is nasty but not particularly risky for the average woman. The amber baby teething necklace is a prime example of a ridiculously ridiculous "natural" product with real risks. First of all, you're willing to put a necklace on a baby? Like, a string of pea-sized beads around the neck of a creature whose muscles are too weak to reliably support its heavy melon head? You won't put so much as a blanket in the crib with the baby, but a necklace that presents a constant low-level threat of strangulation is totes cool? Huh? This brings me to the second point, which is that "natural" and homemade remedies are of an unknown strength. This means dosing is kinda impossible. Oh, and companies that make "natural" remedies such as supplements (you know, the kind meant for consumption) are not regulated by the FDA. All manner of shit (literal shit. Actual feces) has been found in these unregulated products because, well, no one is regulating the production. Ew. You use unscented sensitive skin BPA-free and eag only organic grass-fed free-range hormone-free everything, but a product that may or may not contain rat droppings is totally cool. For a baby, a human whose developmental process includes putting everything in their mouths. Also, not all things found in nature are good for you. Three just off the top of my head - urushiol oil (poison ivy), mad cow disease (spongeaform encephalitis-causing prions), digitalis (deadly poison in foxglove leaves). Third, how the fuck is a fucking necklace going to do anything??? No, really. Think about this. The rate of absorption through the skin is very low compared to, like, everything else. That's why the skin is such a bangin' organ; it keeps the shit outside outside. It's a quality barrier. When your baby is sick, you don't rub the antibiotics into his skin. You don't apply immunizations topically. I readily admit that there are times when you will do that, apply something topically, but it usually goes on the thing it's supposed to fix. Last time I checked, my gums were not a part of my neck. To sum up, you want to purchase a product whose therapeutic effect is unknown, the strength of each dose cannot be controlled, and it must be used in the form of a choking or strangulation hazard FOR YOUR BABY. Yeah, I think I'll say something.
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