I heard on the news recently that someone did a study which produced the following fact: Talking baby talk to Alzheimer’s patients is offensive and might even be harmful. Raise your hand if this surprises you. Me, neither. So this study can join a whole list of studies that tell us things we already know. Like,
Divorce is stressful.
Red wine is good for the heart.
Too much red wine makes you drunk.
Drunk driving causes accidents.
Laughter can improve your health. ( So hurry up and laugh).
People like simple pleasures, like a nice walk on a sunny day. Duh.
Then there are the studies which refute the previous studies, like the one about fat in your diet (yes, no, yes, no, a little, a lot) and the ones that say coffee is bad for you, good for you. Fish Oil? Iron supplements? I am beginning to worry that the study about dark chocolate being good for the heart is due for some awful follow-up findings, like that it is good for everyone but snarky left-handed Jewish women in their 70’s.
And could there be a good-cigarette study in the future?
Have you ever noticed how many studies there are that tell us things we never wanted or needed to know, like the effect of bird guano on the third world, or why ants are happier than inchworms, or what cats really think of their owners, or why butterflies never cry? Why apes overeat?
There must be good reasons for these studies. Curiosity on the part of the person who originally asks the question, to begin with. And no doubt they create jobs for hard-working researchers and fund research institutions and departments of psychology/sociology/biology and all the other –ologies. And now that the internet is in most every household and information is an ever greater commodity, studies fill websites and give blogs a reason for being and satisfy the search engines’ hunger for more and more knowledge to disperse.
So, in the interest of furthering knowledge and putting researchers to work, I propose that someone do a study to look into whether the weather has a spiteful streak and really waits until I go on vacation before it turns bad and rains until the day I go back to work.
Or a study to find out once and for all whether clothing really does shrink in one’s closet from one season to the next.
Or a study that examines the phrase “you can if you think you can” to see if it has any actual validity, besides sounding nice.
And, maybe, while you’re at it, how about a study about how many studies there are in the world and how many we really need.