Dear Darwin: Beware of the forbidden fruit |

Dear Darwin: Beware of the forbidden fruit

Robert Valko
Daily Correspondent
Vail, CO, Colorado

For those who suffer from multiple chemical sensitivites – a serious condition where people have seizures when they smell cinna-buns – I am announcing the arrival of handy drive-through irradiation units in the Vail Valley. The units will function like those found in some of the post offices on the East Coast. Shaped like huge doughnuts however, this version will still eliminate pesky anthrax spores, as well as neutralize the perfume vapors rising from overscented senior ladies.

There has been a rash of over-perfuming among this sect in recent weeks. It seems that the senior offenders, due to their compromised olfactory systems, don’t always know when to stop spritzing their Hannah Montana perfume. The convenient drive-through doughnut will address the problem by allowing people, and their grandmothers, to drive their way to eternal purity.

Multiple chemical sensitivity is an actual condition wherein people have adverse reactions to man-made substances, which we will get to shortly. But first, in extreme cinna-bun catatonia cases – cases where individuals (often Floridians who brave Vail’s bunny bowl, with an altitude of 6 feet) are so incapacitated by altitude and odors that they find themselves snatching an apple from a bowl of plastic fruit to wash and eat – I am proposing a second cautionary guideline: staying off the mountain and out of their ski blades. Ski patrol has also been bringing in cases where heavy exposure to stuff that melts snow has made their patients catatonic: horizontal with moldable pipe cleaners as limbs.

I happen to know someone with MCS. The apple-snatching event occurred at my cousin’s in Basalt. We laughed about it all weekend. (The humor did not continue though.) On that same trip, exposure to magnesium chloride (e.g., vapors coming in through the vents and windows as we drove down Interstate 70), brought on stomach pains, a headache and general lethargy. MCS is pretty serious stuff. For most, however, the main offender is perfume. This is why it’s increasingly common for hospitals to not allow staff to wear perfume. Real-life symptoms of MCS include abdominal pain, nausea, headaches and fatigue.

In evolutionary terms, MCS appears to be nature’s attempt at keeping the body away from potentially toxic substances – the roughly 100,000 man-made chemicals that did not exist thousands or even hundreds of years ago. Why would evolution want to keep people safe? What many people already know, and what natural selection is just starting to figure out, is that exposure to high amounts of chemicals, pesticides and other artificial agents harm the body. On that note, cancer was very rare among the Egyptians.

Indeed, this article was inspired by plastic fruit bandits and an episode of the John Tesh radio show. The following three excerpts were taken from that show, via his website. “Experts say cancer is largely caused by man-made environmental factors, like pollution and diet, and studies show that before modern industrialization, cancer was extremely rare. In fact, scientists analyzed hundreds of Egyptian mummies and found only one case of cancer 2,000 years ago. They found fewer than a dozen cases in animal fossils. Literature didn’t contain descriptions of any type of cancer until the 1600s, and the first reports of distinctive tumors only happened in the past 200 years.”

On the other hand, UCLA oncologist John Glaspy had this to say about the idea that cancer did not exist hundreds or thousands of year ago. “Of course, one possible reason cancer might have been rare until recently is that people didn’t live long enough to develop it.”

Fear not. Dr. Rachel Thompson, of the World Cancer Research Fund, stated that “a healthy diet, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent about one-third of the most common cancers. So, ditch the junk food, and go back to an Egyptian diet of fruits, veggies, whole grains, fish and lean meats. You’ll be more likely to live cancer-free until you’re mummified.” And, whatever you do, don’t give into the temptation to take a bite out of the forbidden fruit. For all you know, it might be a plastic apple.

Eagle County resident Robert Valko is a graduate of Northwestern University. Email him with column topics at


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