Best of Grizzard - Health Wisdom

  • Tuesday, May 30, 2023
  • Jerry Summers

Although he suffered from a heart murmur and eventually died on March 20, 1994 after four aortic heart valve surgeries, Lewis Grizzard (L.G.) was not hesitant about writing on health issues in articles contained in his 25 best sellers and 450 syndicated newspaper columns across the country.

In the compilation of a selective group of his writings during his brief lifespan of 47 years he wrote extensively on several health issues which were reprinted by his surviving wife, Dedra K. Grizzard, formerly of Cleveland, Tennessee.

In “Grizzardisms: The Wit and Wisdom of Lewis Grizzard” (1995-Villard Books- Random House) he reflects on various aspects of why the American medical system may not be the most efficient in addition to being one of the most expensive in the world:

1.) “If we listen to health-food advice, all we would be allowed to put in our stomachs would be something animals graze on, bee pollen, and various sorts of bran;

2.) You smoke, you die. You drink, you die. You eat all that greasy food, you die. You don’t jog, you don't aerobicise, you die. So one night you’re sitting in your living room reading Health and Prevention magazine, and radon gas comes in, right up your butt, and kills you. Ha!;

3.) I can deal with secondhand smoke, as long as it’s not coming from the roof of my house;

4.) Worry kills, too. Would somebody please mention that to the Surgeon General?;

5.) When a person loses weight, where does the weight go? It has to go somewhere, doesn’t it? One thought I’ve had is that when a person loses weight, it evaporates up into the atmosphere somewhere. Is there in fact a danger that Americans are losing so much weight these days the accumulated fat might all cling together up in the heavens and eventually block the sun?;

6.) We take so many pills in this country, there must be some pills for pill stress. I’d ask my doctor for some, but I’m afraid he would give them to me;

7.) Undershorts that are too tight often are the cause of many maladies, such as migraine headaches, disco fever, and possibly even a sudden desire to adorn one’s earlobe;

8.) Secondhand Alcohol Breath: If you are on an airplane, for instance, and the person next to you is pouring down double scotches, you could get liver damage breathing this person’s intoxicating exhales. Polyester Pollution: Most people have gotten the word by now that polyester leisure suits are tacky, and they are taking theirs out into the backyard and burning them. The fumes go into the atmosphere and turn the rain purple;

9.) I am convinced ginger ale can heal the sick and raise the dead;

10.) It takes a real man, I suppose, to stare death square in the eye. I think I’ll go over to the Waffle House and drool; and,

11.) A belt of all those things we like that we aren’t supposed to enjoy anymore might do us all a world of good.”

(In spite of smoking, drinking, Mama's Southern cooking, and other abuses, he maintained a sense of humor to the end as he quipped to his doctors on the way to his fourth surgery. His last statement before going under anesthesia was the subject of “The Last Bus to Albuquerque” which became the title for his 2001 book that described his complex medical history in his style of humor)

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Jerry Summers
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