Bad news. Eating processed meat, says the WHO (why are we taking health advice from a rock band anyway?) may cause an increased risk of cancer. Processed meat means hot dogs, sausage, the occasional ham, anything cured or smoked or fermented or pickled. Smoking is just as dangerous if what you are smoking is a ham. No ham on the stage, or off. They want sausage to be the missing link from our diets. They are being frank with us: They want us to be without franks. Furthermore –

Well, you get the gist. Red meat also may be off the table, which will be sad news for Mike Huckabee on multiple levels. And — what’s worse — no bacon. Here I must draw the line.

As far as I can tell, on even years scientists come forth to announce that something unpleasant is good for you and that something you love is bad for you. They leaven this by announcing, on the odd years, that it turns out that something you enjoy is good for you — in small doses, after dinner.

Meat is now in the same category as smoking and asbestos — not to say that it is equally dangerous, only that evidence against it seems to stack up in the same ominous way. It is also in the same category as asbestos in the sense that if you discover that your building is insulated with it, you should probably sue.

If what happened to smoking happens to meat, soon all those sexy scenes of people eating large hunks of meat in black and white movies will be edited to give them carrot sticks instead. We will have to eat meat only in special areas cordoned off for people who are knowingly shortening their lives. Everyone else will walk past our glass meating rooms with looks of disapproval, shielding their children from any potential scraps of second-hand meat. All hamburgers will be sold with skulls and crossbones on the side.

You will have to leave the restaurant to eat your bacon, where you will stand on the sidewalk next to other people furtively eating franks. “Can I bum a smoked ham?” you will ask.

There will be meat speakeasies where you can eat big hunks of steak with the like-minded. (“The password is ‘rare medium well done.'”)

Between acts of our favorite TV shows, we will have to sit through PSAs of sepia-toned elderly people with breathing tubes saying, “I ate processed meat every day, and NOW LOOK AT THE MONSTER I’VE BECOME!”

We are not there yet, but who can say what will happen? We thought Big Tobacco was invulnerable and look how it fared.

The lobbying group pushing back against this ominous health news is called Big Meat. Other “Big” things sound sinister — Big Pharma, Big Business, Carrie Bradshaw’s Mister. Big Meat sounds delicious. I would like to be, if possibly, in the pocket of Big Meat. Mm, meat pockets.

Now, look, I value my health. But I am still comparatively young, which means that in the morning I wake up feeling invincible, not stiff. Accordingly, take everything I say with a grain of salt (note: salt might also cause cancer). But at a certain point we must say: Enough. Give us the meats, and whatever comes with them.

The things people will do every day in the hope of not dying are remarkable. Yet none of them has worked so far. You live a virtuous life full of kale and then a passing eagle drops a tortoise on your head and kills you instantly.

If there is one thing I have learned from reading those articles about Women Who Live to 120 and The New World’s Oldest Man, it is: Every person who manages to cheat death fairly long has a secret regimen that he or she has been doing that he or she claims is the secret to long life, but for every person, that regimen is different. One man eats an onion sandwich every day. One woman claims that she swims six laps every day and then beats her chest, emitting loud yawps. I forget who it was who said that the only reason these few elderly people existed to point to the efficacy of these regimens was that they killed off all the other people who tried them. But I agree with him.

The WHO has failed to answer one question: What is the point of prolonging your life and lowering your cancer risk if not to give you more years in which to enjoy eating processed meat?

If the WHO proves that cutting out bacon will make me literally immortal, then — then I will be interested in whatever they have to advise. But even then it will be a hard call. I am not sure that bacon isn’t preferable to immortality.

For my love of meat, there is no cure.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day, for The Washington Post.

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