Remember when more doctors chose Camels over any other cigarette? No, you probably don't, because you're no doubt younger than I am. But kids, take note: There was a time when smoking was really, really good for you. Just ask the physicians who hawked them on TV.
Your primary care doc preferred Camels because they soothed the throat. Track stars puffed on Lucky Strikes. Lovers liked Tipalets. And pre-President Ronald Reagan – you know, the movie star – wished his fans Merry Christmas with a Chesterfield dangling from his mouth.
Smoking was awesome! Hell, it was the best thing since slavery!
But oh, how times change. Those docs with the soothed throats now have laryngeal polyps. The track stars who puffed on Lucky Strikes? They're having trouble just climbing stairs now. And the lovers who reached for fancy-looking Tipalets after sex? They don't have sex anymore.
To that end, we at Creative Loafing — ever Charlotte's go-to media outlet for cutting-edge public health issues — bring you our report on the Top 10 things (plus one bonus) that are good for you now but later will kill you. Or maim you. Or cause a pandemic of monumental proportions. It was a tough decision, because we know that beneath the killer trends we offer here, many others are under scrutiny: agave sweetener, bottled water, e-cigarettes, political conventions — the list goes on.
Make no mistake about it: You are now eating raw foods, sanitizing your hands, practicing yoga, driving electric cars, checking your e-mail on iPhones, listening to nerd rap and taking that hip punk brat of yours to the Chick-fil-A at your — and the world's — peril.
Don't say we didn't warn you. — Mark Kemp
1. Raw foods
Raw foodies. It's their fault that you want to give yourself 50 lashes after super-sizing your fries. It's their fault that you can't look the pizza delivery guy in the eyes when he hands over your stuffed-crust, extra-supreme pie topped with 17 meats, nacho-bacon asiago and crushed cigarettes. You'll be glad to know there is an end in sight for those commies. Studies have shown — and by studies, we mean scenarios produced in CL editorial meetings — that consuming large amounts of organic roughage will eventually lead to fiber balls of death in the intestines that will produce farts so noxious, entire populations will be wiped out from just a tiny toot, giving new meaning to silent but deadly. Their extermination powers will be so potent that Manhattan Project scientists will slap their mamas. Obviously any producer of such an anus atom bomb would perish, too. Namaste, motherfuckers. — Ana McKenzie
2. Hand sanitizer
It smells so good. It feels so soothing. So what if the effectiveness of hand sanitizer is dubious? Big whoop. We're Americans, after all, and the idea of bacteria, germs, and fecal matter invisibly lurking on our hands is... well... just gross. So we pump away. And pump. And pump. And as we pump, that futuristic super bug is working out like Clubber Lang. Evidence already shows that hand sanitizers actually make our immune systems weaker — and thus our bodies more prone to illness. Twenty years down the road, and — voila! — super bug wipes us all out, epic disaster movie-style, closing credits and all. — Anita Overcash
3. Hot yoga
Here's hot yoga in a nutshell: you and about 1,000 near-naked people cram into what could serve as a hallway closet and contort yourselves into human pretzels, all while vents blast India-in-summer-degree heat. You're so sweaty your eyeballs sprout pores, and you know you're doing it right when your spine feels like it's about to snap. A successful class is one in which you don't hallucinate, pass out, or strangle Daffodil, your 90-pound instructor. Ever on the cutting edge of torture devices, the U.S. military will eventually draw the gas-chamber parallels and turn your friendly neighborhood yoga studio into an interrogation chamber, forcing Guantanamo's finest to complete so many classes that they divulge all of al Qaeda's plans to the tune of "The Star-Spangled Banner." — A.M.
4. Online technical colleges
Motivating that overachieving demographic of Jerry Springer and Steve Wilco fans is so easy, it's scary. Commercials airing during those time slots tout that a high-school dropout can enroll online and be in scrubs, "learning on the job," the next day. I don't know about you, but the thought that my ER nurse may have changed her life with one phone call keeps me in the gym with a seatbelt on daily. If this trend takes 20 years to get you, consider yourself very lucky. — Emiene Wright
The iPhone is like Dexter, America's favorite serial killer. Methodical and purposeful, the Apple device chooses its victims carefully. First, it was Motorola — remember the Razr? iPhone killed it. Rumor has it that Blackberry may be next. iPhone is taking them out left and right. With such stealthy deadliness comes a certain degree of elitism. Admit it, iPhone users: Whenever you see the rare someone with a Blackberry attached to his or her hip, you curl your lip in disgust.
Before long, even you, dear iJunkie, won't be good enough to hang out with Siri. With each upgrade that barely changes the interface, Siri is getting smarter and smarter. Sure, she may tell you she doesn't have the answer to your question, "Why do you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway," but trust us, she does. Oh, she does. And because of your complete ineptitude — after all, you can barely multi-task alone — one day the iPhone is gonna tell you to drive off that parkway, straight down the side of a mountain, and you're gonna do it. — Kimberly Lawson
6. Punk kids
You see them at Earthfare, Smelly Cat and the Chop Shop: punk papas, riot women and their offspring — faux-hawked babies in rock-band onesies. It's so cool, right? They're passing on their subversive values to the next generation. But that adorable little girl in the "Oh Bondage, Up Yours!" Tee is going to kill you one day. Just as surely as you painted your nails black and slathered on eyeliner, she will hit 14 and be Royally Pissed at every anarchist ideal she ever swallowed, and will swing hard in the opposite direction. Remember: Nothing's worse than a vengeful Junior Leaguer. — E.W.
7. Frozen yogurt, aka froyo
No doubt, at some point in time, the makers of junk food got together to discuss the futures of their respective industries, probably over mai tais at a Mexican resort. Mr. Mountain Dew slammed his fist on the table, exasperated that his product, while delicious, could not appease humankind's vanity. Where the soda industry saw a solution in nasty diet drinks, the ice cream industry saw a revolution, or more aptly, a Froyolution. Now, there's a yogurt shop on nearly every street corner, and for reasons other than calorie counting. Not only is this stuff tasty and less fattening than its creamier cousin, it's also packed with powerful bacteria that help our digestive systems. But as diet sodas and all their cancer-causing ingredients have proved, too much of a good thing is super bad for you. If the yogurt craze continues, probiotics will stack up so highly in our systems that they'll have to battle for room in our intestines, causing humans to implode left and right. Or, maybe the now-friendly bacteria will do us a favor and instead attack our fat cells. Only one way to find out. Eat up, America. — A.M.
8. 3-D TVs
Our need to own the Next Big Thing is out of control. Last year, when 3-D TVs began showing up at Best Buy and Walmart, the crowds oohed and ahhed. How cool is it to watch a character jump off the screen in the comfort of your home? Added bonuses are those stylish (read: expensive) glasses that bring your TV-viewing experience to life. But seeing dimensions that aren't really there on a regular basis ... yeah, not exactly the bestest thing for your eyesight. With the average person watching 3 to 5 hours of TV a day — or more, because let's admit it, we're Americans and we tend to overindulge and deny it when asked on a survey — our corneas are sure to become warped. And we all know that the likelihood of getting run over by a bus (à la Final Destination) increases when you can't see shit. — K.L.
9. Joke rap
"I'm nerdy! And a rapper!" LOL yet? No? The one-note joke gets stale faster than day-old cornbread. Don't sit there looking coy, someone's scooping all those downloads of LMFAO and Samberg's "Chronicles of Narnia." If it's you, please kill yourself; your Satanically bad taste in music threatens us all. Get up on Das Racist and learn the difference between parody and irony, before it's too late. — E.W.
10. Hi-Tech cars
Self-parking, self-braking and filled with more electronics than Best Buy, our neato state-of-the-art automobiles are getting more complicated than setting the DVR. We can now buy electric cars that you juice up by plugging it in like an iPhone. Doesn't anyone remember Maximum Overdrive? Probably not, but here's the idea — the cars are alive! They chase people down and they run them over. Only Emilio Estevez can stop them, and I don't have much faith that his mojo will still be working in 20 years. With onboard computers that are the equivalent of an iPad, Onstar systems overseas locking and unlocking doors and nearly every car part now being integrated into the circuitry, it's only a matter of time before our cars literally drive us into the ground. — Jeff Hahne
Chick-fil-A came out of the hen house and issued its unwavering opposition to gay marriage. There was a sudden backlash, but Chick-filled-with-Hate stood its ground. Customers have vowed never to return to the chicken that Jesus built, but the corporation remains defiant. I never knew that chickens could be so homophobic; apparently, it's only the ones that lay on a bed of pickles. In the meantime, it sets a scary precedent. Sure, this started with hating gays, but who's next? Those of us who don't like honey mustard? Those who dare to order a grilled sandwich? You have to wonder what they're gonna put in that Polynesian Sauce. — J.H.
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