At last, it's spring! Planning a picnic? Well, uh, I really hope you come out alive, but if you don't, may I have your margarita?
No, seriously, it's just that the odds don't look too good. If you read the papers or listen to pretty much anyone on TV, you must realize that you are about to engage in an activity right up there with scaling Mount Everest with Khloe Kardashian as your guide.
Like, you probably are planning to have that picnic outside, right? In the sun? So you know enough to slather on the sunblock to prevent skin cancer, right? Except that I read a study that says sunblock also prevents the body from making vitamin D. And vitamin D prevents cancer. Even skin cancer! So for every cancer death the sunblock is blocking, it's blocking the vitamin D from preventing other deaths. Got that? So to be safe, put on the block; go out; avoid the sun; come in; wash it off; and go back out and GET some sun — but maybe the dappled kind, under a tree. And never between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
And hey, when and if you do brave the outdoors to (yikes!) relax, be sure to drink plenty of water. Just don't drink too much water, or you'll flood your blood, like those marathoners who hydrated themselves to death.
Of course, if you prudently choose to hold off on the sipping, you should bring your glass in right away. Otherwise, it's nothing more than stagnant water. A pool party for mosquitoes, who not only can carry West Nile virus but also bite, causing itching, which must be addressed with extreme caution.
"Keep nails trimmed and clean so that if you scratch yourself, you won't be inviting an infection." That's what I read in one very helpful (though not particularly upbeat) article on summer fun.
To avoid all that, you might just want to nix the liquids and enjoy a solid-food-only picnic. Just don't bring any foods with mayo; otherwise, you could get salmonella poisoning. And don't bring undercooked chicken; otherwise, salmonella. No overcooked chicken, either; otherwise, salmo— nope. Fooled ya! Over-grilled chicken is carcinogenic.
You also don't want to serve up anything with carbs, fats or sugars, for obvious reasons (obesity, heart attack, diabetes). Or salt (hypertension). Or meat (just read a new study saying anyone eating red meat will die by Friday). And no snacks on skateboards!
For, as you well know, this is the season for skateboard injuries. Wear a helmet, kneepads and — to save your eyes — sunglasses. Not just any sunglasses. Glasses with 100 percent ultraviolet-protective lenses that extend at least to the sides of your eyes, but preferably all the way back to your ears.
Of course, safety also demands you avoid lawn mowers, dogs, tree pollen, balls, bees, bears, boys and soda. And (if you had weekend plans) red meat.
But a picnic blanket, provided it is not harboring any deadly snakes, could be almost completely safe, provided...
What's that? You're going back inside to nap in your recliner? Well, then...
May I have your margarita?
Lenore Skenazy is the author of "Free-Range Kids: How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)" and "Who's the Blonde That Married What's-His-Name? The Ultimate Tip-of-the-Tongue Test of Everything You Know You Know — But Can't Remember Right Now." To find out more about Lenore Skenazy ([email protected]) and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.