Wednesday, September 5, 2007

502 days, 21 hours, 59 minutes, 51 seconds

A blip on the news tonight about "popcorn lung," a disease that's been affecting factory workers since 2001, mostly in California (where that worst headache in years began, where she didn't attend her uncle's 4th of July 90th birthday party and hasn't mustered courage to call him). This isn't cancer, it goes in and destroys the lung, leaving only the hope of a transplant. $17 an hour jobs. It has to do with the chemicals in the butter flavoring of microwave popcorn. Masks don't seem to help. But only one death has been confirmed and OSHA doesn't know what to make of this. Now a consumer has been stricken down. But it's his own fault, he should have known better than to spend years microwaving popcorn several times a day. Breathing all those fumes as the bag swelled. Fun to stay and watch. Putting itself on display. And at the oncologist's this afternoon the snack basket was visibly depleted and there were no bags of cheddar-flavored popcorn. She settled for veggie chips.