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May 28, 2003

My first flame

Daniel Radosh

(believe it or not). Some guy named Chris Swanson writes in about one of my old Webster columns:

You don't like hearing others talking about living a healthy lifestyle? It's pretty simple: Take care of yourself now or pay the price later. I guess you'd rather spend your retirement in a hospital with a terminal illness all while taking 10 different medications. What the hell is your beef with Dr. Myron Wentz? He is one who actually cares about helping people. I say all of this because I am a personal trainer and associate of USANA Health Sciences. You are one sorry excuse for a life.

I took the bait:

Always nice to hear from a fan! Took me a while to figure out what you were talking about, though. I'm not used to getting e-mail about an article I wrote for a Web zine that folded six years ago. What'd you do, Google 'Myron Wentz' 'Cause if so, you got no excuse for calling anyone else's life sorry. I know people are intense about this USANA thing, but, seriously, cult much?

I have to say your e-mail came as a surprise -- and not just because most people, on hearing that someone doesn't like it when strangers rudely insist on lecturing them about exercise, do not then proceed to do exactly that. More to the point, I wonder if you actually read the damn thing. See, when a writer declares that his idea of exercise involves ' a pizza and watching Comedy Central,' for you to insult him is more or less redundant. Especially since this was back when the Daily Show was hosted by Craig Kilborn. In the trade, we call this self-deprecating humor. 'Sorry excuse for a life' is just stating the premise.

And my beef with Dr. Wentz? Well, just between us, you realize that this 50-year-old cell thing is a load of crap, right? And USANA -- well, those pesky libel laws prevent me from throwing around words like pyramid scheme, but at a bare minimum, it's mighty cheesy. Like Longaberger for pill pushers. Hmm. Suddenly it occurs to me that maybe your decision to fire off insulting e-mail to a total stranger wasn't just a sign that you have a lot of downtime in your personal training business. Maybe it's actually a wind-up to your sales pitch. If so, your approach needs work.

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