Irony or collusion

My spouse works at a local hospital here in Denver. The street on which this hospital rests houses two other hospitals (hospital row is its nickname).

I happened to be walking home from her work place yesterday when I noticed something odd. As I passed the hospitals, I noticed hot dog carts sitting out in front of two of them. The menus were filled with nitrate-rich processed meat-sicles, ranging from the innocuous American hot dog to Bratwurst to even (for the health conscious) a veggie dog. Along with these "parts is parts" meals the carts vendors sold potato chips and soft drinks and various other foods that have half-lives longer than my life expectancy.

Ironic isn't it? The places we go to heal from whatever ails us are also the places we can go to eat what will cause us to ail in the long run. Unfortunately, the lines were long and the green spaces were inhabited with people in long hospital gowns or worse yet, scrubs, eating the processed pleasure dogs.

It would seem, at least to me, that common sense would prevail and hospitals would search for ways to beacons of health rather than purveyors of empty calories. Then again, without the venders the hospitals would suffer and lose some of their clientele. Ahhh, the mighty bottom line, could the hospitals secretly enjoy the presence of these carts of culinary crap?

Actually, what this is indicative of is the cultural ethos that only treats or manages symptoms rather than seeking to do the hard work of fighting the disease. Now, I realize that labels are being placed on packages in order to better inform the consumer. However, all the labels do is tell people how badly they are eating. The only way to stop them from eating it is to treat the disease of ignorance. Information and knowledge are two entirely different things, and I have to wonder if we have confused to two, or at least merged them in some fashion.

There is no magic pill that cures ignorance; the only way to make a difference is to be different and to think differently. One of these days we might understand that seeking health, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, might provide a more satisfying life than a quick hot dog before we head into the hospital.

grace and peace



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