Art Hoppe's essay How to Stay Alive comments on the culture that has grown up around the concept of staying healthy. Of course, this is an important concept in a world where obesity, heart disease, and other illnesses are often caused by unhealthy eating and living habits…
Given the fact that the diet industry, for example, is a multi-billion dollar one despite increasing volumes of evidence that diets simply don't work, this is a very valid concept. The main point of Hoppe's essay is that paying attention to diets and exercise is indeed healthy, but taking it to extremes can take a lot of the fun and joy out of life. Or, to put it another way, a person who lives this way might live longer, but are they really alive, or are they just existing
The subject of the essay, Snadley Klabberhorn, starts out in a reasonable manner, giving up smoking and drinking, which is perfectly reasonable. However, he then stops drinking soda and milk, and gives up eating meat and dairy products in favor of a diet of raw fish. He gives up TV and sex, and does nothing but jog for entertainment until he discovers that this too is "dangerous" and spends the rest of his life alone in a bomb shelter reading the Reader's Digest, which is quite possibly one of the safest and staid publications in the world. At the same time, Snadley finds that his life is becoming less and less enjoyable, with nothing and nobody in it. Art Hoppe uses a satirical and humorous tone in writing this essay to highlight the increasingly bizarre behavior of the subject.
Art Hoppe makes language choices which underline the point of the essay. For example, at the beginning of the piece, Snadley Klabberhorn says "nothing beats being alive". ...
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