Chuck Robinson, Assistant Copy Chief
Chuck Robinson, Assistant Copy Chief

My eyes rolled, too, when someone first passed the news tidbit that Ashton Kutcher had tried to adopt the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ fruit-only diet in preparation for playing Jobs in a movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

So dedicated was Kutcher to getting to know his character that he ended up in the hospital two days before shooting began. He explained his “pancreas levels were completely out of whack.”

Every account I have read included that quote and a mention that Jobs was being treated for pancreatic cancer before he died. He also was dedicated to a “fruitarian” diet, which medical experts say can be helpful as a short-term cleansing regiment but is dangerous over the long term.

Like a good journalistic parrot, here you go. I did my part in repeating it.

I hope people don’t give much credence to medical advice from Kutcher, who became famous playing the flake Kelso on the television program “That ’70s Show.”

I hope the promotional jabber for a movie that got lukewarm reviews gets the discount it deserves.

Oh please don’t let people hear this and think “fruit causes cancer.”

What will stick?

Will admiration for Jobs keep this niggling anecdote in the back of our collective memory? Or will we get a feel for his obsessive-compulsive behavior and realize he isn’t exactly a role model for all of us?

A fruit-only diet is dangerous, and I take’s advice on that as solid. “Moderation in all things” is a mantra I almost get obsessive about.

My favorite poem has popped to mind.

You can read it here. It is written by Don Marquis, a New York newspaper columnist and humorist from the early part of the last century.

He spoke through the voice of Archy, a free-verse poet reincarnated as a cockroach. Archy was talking to a moth, who was trying to break into an electric light bulb and immolate himself. The moth said he would “rather be burned up with beauty than to live a long time and be bored all the while.”

Jobs may have been a moth.

Archy watches the moth succeed in immolating himself and commented that he would settle for half the happiness and twice the longevity.

“At the same time, I wish there was something I wanted as badly as he wanted to fry himself,” Archy said in the poem.

I am a cockroach. I am eating an apple while writing this column, but I am having a salad later. It’s all about balance.

As a foil to Kutcher’s comment let me offer an article that will be circulated much less. It is from The Atlantic, and the gist is that vegetarians get a lot less heart disease than meat eaters.

The Atlantic was reporting on a research from the University of Oxford that drew upon data from almost 45,000 participants in a long-term study. A third of the participants ate no meat, and there was an average of 11 years of followup.

“The self-proclaimed vegetarians had a 32% reduced risk of both fatal and nonfatal heart disease, accompanied by lower blood pressures and cholesterol levels, as compared to nonvegetarians,” according to the article.

The vegetarians in the study also had lower body mass index scores and fewer occurences of diabetes. They ate more than just fruit, of course. They also ate cheese, vegetables and whole grains. The bottom line of the study: diet is important in protecting against heart disease. I am thinking long-lived cockroach types should go for the vegetarian diet.

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