The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

January 12, 2013

‘Smart forks’ could help both dieters and legislators


---- — Here are some thoughts from a guy who made only one New Year’s resolution this year: Don’t change a thing!

I always get a kick out of people who make resolutions. Lose weight ... quit smoking ... drink less alcohol ... be a better person ... send a hundred dollars to Lynn Saternow ...

OK, maybe nobody actually came up with the last one. But let’s face it. Today is Jan. 12. I wonder how many of them actually lived up to those resolutions.

Good intentions never seem to last. That’s because we humans are generally pretty weak-minded when it comes to stopping things we should control.

I’ve seen people quit smoking over and over and over. Even though they know the disgusting habit takes years off their lives, they still can’t succeed.

How many people do you see shivering out in the cold outside their workplace or a restaurant just to suck in some smoke?

The same with eating. The obesity level continues to climb throughout the country but still, people can’t lose weight. But for those people, there’s something new I saw advertised that is supposed to help.

It’s called a “smart fork.” It tells you when you are eating too fast. Come on, man! It would be better if it told you, “Hey, you’re eating too much.”

I know they say if you eat slower, you’ll eat less. I guess it must be true. I eat faster than probably anyone I’ve ever been to dinner with, but I don’t put on weight. That smart fork would catch on fire if I used it.

But some of us are blessed with that kind of metabolism. If you could sell that, you would be rich.

* Speaking of rich, did anybody notice there is less money in your latest paycheck. That boost in payroll tax for Social Security takes a little bit out of everybody’s take-home money.

And while we may complain, it is a necessity if we want to preserve Social Security. And people like me, who just turned 65, certainly appreciate your contributions.

People are living longer today, which has hurt the amount left in Social Security. And it is one of the problems that Congress is going to tackle in the near future.

I saw one interesting plan that any worker 55 or over would no longer have to pay any tax for Social Security, which would mean a big jump in pay. Of course they would pay more income tax, but that’s OK. And there would be a slight increase in Social Security tax for people under the age of 55 to make up for it. It is an interesting concept.

Problem is, we can’t have a whole lot of faith in our government leaders fixing the problem the way they have become so dysfunctional. We barely were able to avoid going over the fiscal cliff at the last minute. (By the way, kudos to our Rep. Mike Kelly who went against a majority of the Republican Party and did what was best for the majority of constituents in his western Pennsylvania area.)

But if we are truly going to end this dysfunctional system we have today, I think I have the way to do it.

If that smart fork thing works for losing weight -- which means more people will live even longer and require more Social Security -- I am working on developing another way to use a smart fork.

When people in the House or Senate go to push their button to vote on something that goes against the best interest of the majority of American people, the smart fork shoots out of the panel and stabs them in the hand. It then delivers a Taser shock to the voters.

Yes, I realize that a computer will then be running the country. But can it do any worse?

The Herald’s Lynn Saternow writes this column each Saturday for the Opinion Page. He can be reached at