Just Because It’s on the Menu

For a long time growing up I had this weird belief that if something was on a menu at a restaurant, it must be good for you. “They” wouldn’t let something be on a menu if it was bad for you. There are rules and laws designed to keep us healthy and safe. Growing up, I’d never really given it a whole lot of thought, but it was a comforting belief and it seemed reasonable.

Of course, it doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny and it’s not true. There’s all kinds of unhealthy garbage on menus. There is nothing really inherent in restaurant menus that forces them to give you choices that won’t eventually kill you. There are definitely some rules about what can and can’t be served, and there are plenty of attempts at limiting unhealthy choices, but by and (often) large, there are no built-in protections for you.

At some level, I think I held this belief about more than just restaurant menus. “Of course I don’t need to wear a seatbelt in cabs, because taxi drivers are professionals.” “Of course this book is going to be accurate, because they let it be published.” “Of course the doctor will do a good job, because they have an advanced degree.” Nevermind that people make mistakes and errors all the time!

The underlying principle, maybe, was I thought because there’s a way that these things could be made safe or healthy or somehow ideal, that of course they must be, too. What kind of world wouldn’t protect itself by default? This all probably sounds stupid, but that’s the belief I held.

Speed of Light