FLINT - If you are reading this, you survived Thanksgiving. I'm not sure how you managed it, but congratulations.
If you are not a TV news imbiber, you probably don't realize how close you came to disaster. Being a news junkie, I, however, was fully aware, and based on this year's pre-Thanksgiving coverage, it's clear that had I not watched I could have and very likely would have been:
A) Trampled to a death in a Walmart by a herd of Black Friday shoppers scrambling for 90 percent off TVs. (I'm told that, much like a moose and its mooselet, it's not wise to get between a Black Friday shopper and electronics.)
B) Poisoned to death by a turkey that was thawed improperly or undercooked.
C) Disfigured by an exploding turkey deep fryer.
D) Burned alive in house set ablaze by an exploding turkey deep fryer. (Honestly, if they're so dangerous, you'd think they'd be outlawed.)
E) Killed in traffic on the way to grandma's house - because, after all, Thanksgiving is the biggest traffic holiday period of the year. Why didn't you stay at home?
F) Chased down and pecked to death by giant angry turkeys bent on avenging their fallen brothers and sisters - although this one might have been a dream I had rather than news coverage. I did eat too much.
In any case, who knew the holidays were so dangerous? Thank goodness for TV news. Without it we'd probably go peacefully about our holiday business - as people did for centuries - not realizing that each second could be our last.
Now that we know, of course, the stress of worrying about it all tends to ruin things, but that's a small price to pay.
Thank god for the development of "what if" journalism. Without it we wouldn't know that the sky is always falling. Somewhere. On some people. Maybe you!
In addition to making us safer, it's made the news so much more interesting. In the past, the news was so straight forward and dull. Broadcasters simply told us what happened the day before and left it at that. Apparently they lacked imagination.
But now that four-fifths of all TV news stories - especially on CNN - are based on the words "could" and might," the news is endlessly entertaining because there are virtually no limits on what could happen, right?
For instance, the flu might wipe out society as we know it. It probably won't but it could. So make sure you wash your hands. Over and over again. And use germ-bust gel. But don't overdo it because that could lead to super-bugs!Which could eat your brain. Just saying.
It also could rain in one small quadrant of the viewing area, so make sure you cancel those picnic plans. Better safe than sorry. And eating too much at Thanksgiving may be momentarily fun but if you keep eating like that you could someday look like the blueberry kid in the Willy Wonka movie and end up being juiced. You've been warned.
Some view all this speculation as a bad thing, of course. There are always killjoys.
They resent the fact that the media these days treat consumers like we're utter morons and ask snotty questions like, "Do we really need reporters running stories on the need to dress warmly in the winter because one person somewhere didn't and got frostbite?"
They also worry that the media elevates relatively small things - like the risk of dying from a poorly thawed turkey - to major status just for the sake of ratings. (Or more realistically for the sake of just having something to say related to the holidays.)
That, ultimately, leads us to being a nation of scaredy-cats who can only see the potential misfortune in things rather than joy and opportunity.
I see their point. Even caution should be taken in moderation. As President Roosevelt once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Then again, FDR probably never tried to deep fry a turkey.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.