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Ahlin: Our own Mary Contrary gives up on TV’s Dr. Oz

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Ahlin: Our own Mary Contrary gives up on TV’s Dr. Oz
Fargo ND 101 5th Street North 58102

With rain and high winds forecasted, I decided to get groceries before the storm hit. Seeing dark clouds rolling in, I focused on finding a parking space as close to the grocery store door as possible. Unfortunately, concentrating the way I was, I didn’t spot Mary Contrary until it was too late to avoid her. Only a few feet from the grocery store automatic doors, she was holding a golf umbrella over an old TV. She obviously had spotted me before I spotted her.

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“Hey, Sunshine, what emergency is worth a trip to the grocery store in this lousy weather?”

“Gee, Mary, that’s an interesting question from someone standing outside trying to keep a television from getting wet.” As clever as I thought my retort was, I realized I’d just given her an invitation to tell me about it. Hastily I added, “Too bad there isn’t time to talk, but I want to beat the bad weather.”

“Cool your jets, Sunshine. You make me think of Shakespeare and old Macbeth and the whole thing about how life’s ‘a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’” Mary flashed a smile. “Well, Shakespeare and Dr. Oz”

“Dr. Oz?” My heart sank as I realized she’d bamboozled me again.

“Yep, Sunshine, I’m giving up Dr. Oz.”

“What on earth are you talking about, Mary?”

“You may not know it, but I was a big Dr. Oz fan, especially since I gave up nighttime TV. Anyway, no more Dr. Oz for me. That Senate committee investigating all the pie-in-the-sky claims of weight loss aids sure exposed him as one more charlatan after the big bucks.”

I could feel a headache coming on. “Where are you going with this, Mary?”

With a sad look, she said, “Always have to slow it down for you, don’t I, Sunshine?” Shaking her head, she went on, “Can’t believe you missed Sen. Claire McCaskill from Missouri sticking it to Dr. Oz and the way he talks about ‘miracle’ weight loss stuff. Actually, Amy Klobuchar got in a few licks, too.”

“I didn’t entirely miss it. Certainly, it didn’t seem to be something of large consequence. Why, people are saying Dr. Oz was tricked into testifying. He thought he was helping the committee expose scams, but they attacked him. It wasn’t fair.”

“Fair?” Mary sputtered. “Hey, he’s hawking all kinds of weird stuff, like coleus forskohli, raspberry ketones, green coffee extract and Capsiberry, which at best won’t harm fat people but likely will make them feel more like losers – and we’re not talking weight losers here, Sunshine.”

“That’s pretty harsh, Mary. Dr. Oz doesn’t have a financial stake in any of those things and objects if his image is used to sell the products with untrue claims.”

“Well, I hate to rain on your parade, Miss Pollyanna-Sunshine, but he makes a boatload of money on his show where he uses words like ‘miracle’ and ‘magic’ and ‘lightning in a bottle’ to describe that garbage. He may not own the product lines, but he’s the power behind the sell. He’s as much a snake oil salesman as they are.”

“You know, Mary, 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Dr. Oz says he uses enthusiastic language to give people hope. But I agree it’s too much. After all, unlike Dr. Phil, he’s a bona fide physician, a surgeon, still practicing medicine and teaching.”

When Mary didn’t say anything, I added, “So what’s with the TV?”

“I’m pretty much soured on TV. Nighttime TV interferes with my sleep – too doggone innervating–and daytime TV is just depressing, especially with Dr. Oz quacking like a quack. Short story short, I’m giving the TV away, although so far it seems to be too old for any takers.”

“Well, don’t get caught holding that umbrella in the rain if there’s lightning.”

“I won’t, Sunshine.” She smiled. “And don’t you get lost in that old doughnut aisle.”

Goodbye, Mary.

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