The terrorists are terrifying, the glaciers are melting, and cancer has yet to be eradicated. So we wear ribbons and bracelets. We send money, guns and lawyers. We raise awareness, we raise funds, we raise hopes. We are up to our earlobes in worthy causes. You show me a disease, and I'll show you a race for the cure. You see a natural disaster, I see Anderson Cooper in hip boots and a parka. Give me a calamity, and I'll give you a bipartisan commission issuing a report.
But nobody is out there tackling the really big issue. Yes, once again it falls to my little monthly column to spearhead the campaign against a silent killer. It's insidious, it's crippling and it plagues almost everyone I know. It attacks seemingly healthy males and females of all races and economic backgrounds, and though we may get better, precious few of us ever get completely well. I'm talking about the shame, the scourge, the heartbreak of massive insecurity.
Let's call it MI, because initials always sound more urgent when the celebrity spokesperson explains it to Larry King. "Well, Larry," she'll tearfully begin, "my first bout of MI hit in seventh grade, right before Marcy Needleman's roller disco bat mitzvah party." Dabbing her smudge-proof-mascaraed eyes with a crumpled tissue, she'll take a deep breath and forge ahead. "How many nights have I lain awake asking myself the same question: Why, why, why did I choose that day to try parting my hair down the side?"
Before long I envision a "very special" episode of Sesame Street, in which Snuffy admits he suffers from MI and goes into rehab; a public service announcement encouraging us to get tested before it's too late; and a magazine quiz zeroing in on the early warning signs.