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Everything in Moderation?

You may recall me writing about TD, my tax-resisting, raw-food eating, no-TV watching, parachuting-into-nuclear reactor(ing?) boyfriend of over 20 years ago. He was particularly talented at the conversation stopper: a succinct response to something that people found so shocking that the conversation would stop. Sometimes permanently.

I recall one day when his sister-in-law was speaking with him about what she was feeding her children, and it wasn't a vegan-centered conversation. I think it was about hot dogs. TD, of course, wasn't too keen on hot dogs for nutritional reasons at the very least. Please note that she would ask TD about nutrition frequently, so this isn't a case of someone inappropriately addressing what his niece was eating.

Sister-in-law doesn't disagree with what TD says about hot dogs, but says: "Everything in moderation."

TD replies: "Yeah, like heroin. Or child molestation."




First of all, anyone who has taught The Princeton Review's SAT, LSAT or GRE courses knows that answers with the word "everything" in them are rarely correct. Ditto for "never," "always" and other such definitive words. Working for The Princeton Review for nearly a decade has made me forever (? forever? really, Mary?) peeved upon hearing or reading these words. It smacks of laziness, not to mention exaggeration. 

  • Rape in moderation.
  • Genocide in moderation.
  • Slavery in moderation.
  • Slaughter in moderation.
  • Terror in moderation.
  • Injustice in moderation.
  • Heroin in moderation.
  • Child molestation in moderation.
  • Domestic violence in moderation.

See what I mean? "Everything" isn't appropriate. In fairness, I think that what the linguistically lazy are really trying to say is that a little bit of a bad thing isn't going to kill you. But it might kill someone else, as in the case of hot dogs, considering no creature gets out of the hot-dog making process alive. Or in the case of cheese made from the milk of cows. Or eggs. And I don't mean to be obnoxious when I say that. I think if you're going to say that something is okay in moderation, you need to think through exactly what that means. 

You may have guessed that someone who has expressed interest in becoming vegan recently clearly wasn't eating like a vegan and commented (in defense, though I hadn't said a word) . . .  "everything in moderation." I immediately said that I don't agree with that, but refrained from mentioning slavery or child molestation, as then I would be accused of being intolerant or judgmental.

Some days you just can't win.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is a great post and so true. Its so annoying when they say "everything in moderation"

    November 2, 2009
  2. Ivy #

    I LOVE this post!!!

    November 5, 2009

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