Science Run Amuck

Now Playing: 300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues, by White Stripes. “I’m bringing back ghosts, that are no longer there. I’m gettin’ hard on myself, sittin’ in my easy chair. Well, there’s three people in the mirror, and I’m wonderin’ which one of them I should choose.”

Science is running amuck again, and I’m not happy. Didn’t scientists do enough in the 1950s when they produced Giant Ants (in the great science-fiction film Them, starring James Whitmore and a very young Jim Arness) because of nuclear testing or in the 1960s when they created The Hulk with gamma-bomb testing or …

I’m talking, of course, with the change announced for Lay’s potato chips. I stray from Lay’s from time to time, dabbling in Cape Cod or Utz or Herr. I like those, but I always find my way back to Lay’s, usually to Original.

And that’s the thing, science is messing around with my Lay’s.

They’re monkeying with the salt.

Now, I’m not really a salt addict. I don’t generally add it to anything. In fact, I cringe when watching food shows and they add huge amounts of salt to stuff. But there are two places where I like it – chips and french fries.

And Lay’s has its scientists redesigning salt molecules. I don’t like it.

At its heart, it’s a guvamint conspiracy. (And yes, I know I wrote yesterday that government wasn’t Evil. What can I say? I’m a mass of contradictions.) Seems the good old FDA doesn’t have enough to do deciding whether drugs are safe and getting them to market. And isn’t it funny how often the FDA discovers, a few years later, that some drug it declared safe isn’t? Well, it’s not really funny, is it?

Anyway, the FDA is considering restricting the amount of salt on potato chips. So Lay’s scientists are working to redesign salt molecules to make salt taste saltier, so a smaller amount can go on each chip.

This has the potential, at best, to be another New Coke. They’ll either make it too salty or change the flavor. And at worst, they’ll change salt so that it does something more harmful than what it does now – whatever that is.

The thing is, I’ve seen loads of people who, when they sit down to eat, grab the salt shaker and literally pour it on their food. Think lessening the salt in chips is really going to help those folks?

Me, neither.

And, much as I want to be a superhero, I don’t want to turn into Crystal Man because some scientist has messed with my chips.

Of course, in the interest of my own health – and my waistline – I could just give up chips ….

Nyah, not gonna happen.


“An age which is incapable of poetry is incapable of any kind of literature except the cleverness of a decadence.” _ Raymond Chandler
“From the moment I picked your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.” _ Groucho Marx


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