In Sacramento last weekend, a woman died after drinking about two gallons of water in a radio station's "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest.
Nobody at the radio station was thinking about the fatal effects of hyponatremia. What was on their minds was much smaller potatoes -- fourth-grade bathroom humor. It's one more senseless tragedy that could have been avoided by hiring better writers. Think of how much funnier KDND's marathon of wee-wee jokes could have been if the contestants had been drinking yellow Gatorade instead of bottled spring water, and nobody would have died of fatal dilution.
Food, like water, is a good thing. You could argue that it's the good thing, the mother of all good things, the big universal need. You can't live without food and neither can any creature we know about. You can live perfectly well without alcohol, without tobacco, without cannabis and opium; I do it every day. But you can't live long without food. Food is a good thing.
Nearly everyone agrees on this, although you'll meet the occasional dissenter. Back in college, we knew a boy who claimed to care nothing for food. My guess is that he resented the time that eating subtracted from his studying. He was a pre-med whose father was a doctor, so he had no viable Plan B if he didn't get into medical school. He said that if he could swallow a daily pill that would take care of his total nutritional needs, he wouldn't miss food one bit.
Where is the food-hater now? He's a senior vascular surgeon in North Carolina. What does he do all day? Triple, quadruple and quintuple bypasses on people like me.
Doctor, did you ever find that pill? I'd like a bottle now.