This crazy health nut, whom I’ve known peripherally for several years, comes over to me the other day and starts in with this phony flattery on how I know so much about ping pong – like I’m an expert or somethin’. And then he asks me out of the blue what size ping pong table should he buy? This is really freaky stuff. This guy apparently thinks ping pong tables come in different sizes and colors, and all. So, I look him over carefully to see if this is a joke. I mean maybe he’s trying to pull my leg. No, he wasn’t. He was dead serious. I eventually told him to buy one without a net so that he’d finally be able to hit the ball to the other side. Look, wasn’t my intention to openly disrespect the guy but, truth is, I never cared for this simple-minded shmuckeroo to begin with, so I just tried to dust him off.

Ya know, I’ve discovered that there are dummkopfs like this all over the place, that they only use their heads to keep their ears apart. (Editor: Lao Du remembers this so-called joke from 3rd grade.) Maybe you know somebody like this. This one was obsessed about his health. I think you know the type. No gluten or processed food for them, and lately they’ve begun to develop a preoccupation about their telomeres and oxidative stress. Seriously!

Where the heck do they get this junkola? From the public television gurus? ( From Dr. Phil? From Dr. Oz?) From the homeless walking down the Bowery? From some know-it-all at the ping pong club? (Ed. Maybe Lao Du.) I dunno, but it’s all mostly cock-a-doodle-doo. Take this major theme of the aforementioned lunkhead: processed foods. He says he doesn’t eat that. Baloney! (That’s right – he eats baloney, and baloney is processed food.) What’s wrong with a processed food such as rice? Nothin’ much. It aint gonna kill ya. I mean people eat rice all over the world – for eons! But this butthead is apparently so obsessed with his bowel movements that he won’t touch a grain of it. Thinks his intestinal transit time will be slowed.

Ya know what white rice is? Correct! It’s a grain and, yes, it happens to be a processed food. Sure, they may mill off some of the good parts of the grain – the bran and the germ – so what? Okay, okay, maybe you can’t move your bowels for a week and you’re losing the protein, vitamins and minerals and your gums are gushing blood. But, Bunky, you’re not dying. And it fills you up. And it tastes good. So just shut the heck up about preaching how bad it is. (You wanna go to the bathroom every now and then, just eat some prunes – I hear they’re good for that.) These people hang on to every word from those TV four-flushers. They pop vitamin C pills because they tell ‘em it’ll prevent the flu. (Nonsense – it prevents scurvy.) Whew! So au courant!

Listen, don’t believe all the junk you hear from these sages and the guy down the block who all of a sudden is explaining his obesity on the basis of food being “addictive.” Believe the doctors and scientists. Yeah, the keto diet is good – for people with epilepsy (it’s not a fad for those with convulsions). Yeah, gluten should be avoided … if you have celiac disease. Duh!

And, anyhow, why do all these people have these compulsive concerns regarding ‘slowing down aging’ and just living their lives for better bowel movements? Is that their primary focus? Come on! I’m telling you straight out that no amount of kale and blueberries and broccoli will make you a better ping pong player. Seaweed and probiotics aint gonna get you that coveted 2000 rating. All of that junkola, I tried it, okay? The polyphenols, the flavonoids – all the phytonutrients in the world – I tried it. (Editor: for one full day!) Guess what? Didn’t work. Before the invention of kale and baby arrugala, I seemed to be healthy enough with the iceberg lettuce and Wonder Bread. But, nowadays, you gotta go to those whole food stores to get the organic stuff without the pesticides. Nonsense! So, I decided to go back to Diet Coke and Cape Cod potato chips. You wanna know what happened? I was unbeatable! I was mowing down the bums that had started to beat me when I was on the antioxidants. I resumed my visits to Taco Bell and the IHOP (International House of Pancakes) – got me a foot high stack with plenty of that Aunt Jamima syrup. Turns out, my fiberless, high fructose, aspartame diet hit the spot. Par excellence. My forehand topspin smash returned to its former level of glory and magnificence, and my mood improved ( I was no longer calling every Joysey driver on the Saw Mill River Parkway a dumb bastard). Even my cognitive function was better (I remembered to bring out the garbage on time).

Bottom line: If you think that by eating a lot of berries you won’t get beriberi, then you probably subscribe to a Twitter feed recommending injected bleach for Covid-19. Lao Du
(Editor’s Note: I think we should bury bury Lao Du. Also note that a recent report published in the NYTimes has indicated that Vitamin C and Vitamin E are “tied to lower risk for Parkinson’s Disease.)