The website WebMD and similar online services have probably sent more people to the hospital unnecessarily than chainsaw juggling and wingsuit flying combined. That’s not to say that such websites aren’t very useful, but…
Some people are simply natural masters at expecting the worst. The moment they read about an interesting or horrible disease, they immediately assume that they must have it, and scaring themselves by researching the symptoms only serves to convince them further.
Sweaty hands? Nevermind the four cups of coffee you just had, you’re obviously dying.
Feeling a little queasy? Must be food poisoning.
Odynophagia? You’ve never heard of it, but surely you’ve contracted it somehow.
Though we all sometimes have these kinds of doubts, life as a full-blown hypochondriac can’t be much fun. So, writer Jen Bilik thought the obvious solution would be to scare them all to death. Seriously, this is not an appropriate gift for anyone who is really paranoid about their health.
Still, joking about frightening topics is certainly an excellent way of seeing them in a more objective light. This book is meant to be used as follows: as soon as you notice a rash, a runny nose, or a headache, you look up the appropriate symptom. Then, it tells you about the worst conditions this could possibly be a sign of, explaining in detail exactly how horribly you’re going to die.
Once you’ve done this a few times and remain alive and kicking, though, a lot of the fear gets sucked out of this process. The writing itself is really funny although very, very bleak, and a lot of research obviously went into making sure the information given is complete and accurate.
Considering the work that this book must have required, the printing quality, and its sheer size, it’s hard to see how this book can be sold so cheaply. We’re not complaining, though; if you know somebody who won’t be offended by its contents – or you want to start a conversation with them about worrying too much – this will make a wonderful gift.