Pine Nuts: That aside, how the heck are you?

When was the last time we checked on the big health picture? How are our kids doing after a year and a half of existing entirely on Drumstick Sundae Cones? Let’s take a look under the hood at some of the social determinants of good health, clean water, good nutrition, safe shelter, subsistence income, those essential elements in avoiding disease. Or should we cover our eyes?

There exists a critical link between our social programs and good health. If we lie down with dogs we’re going to get up with fleas as the vulgar say. So does it make sense that spending on social programs is going to reduce health care costs? I’m not a social worker, but my guess is yes.

I attribute my lucky good health to lucky good living conditions. I have never looked a rat in the eye. I did have a leach crawl onto to me in the night once while sleeping in a hole in Vietnam, and I almost had a heart attack. Does that tell us anything?

The last time I checked, we were spending almost 18% of our GDP on health care. No other country spends more than 12%, and yet we rank 26th in life longevity. I’m not a banker either, but that does not look to me to be a good return on our investment. So what if we were to spend more money on freeing environments of serious health risks? I’m not a doctor either, but that makes solid good sense to me.

I can’t imagine anything I would rather not have engraved on my tombstone than, “Got Bit By A Rat And Died Of Rabies.” No, thank you. Given the choice, I would rather my tombstone read, “He Died A Gentleman In A Snake Fight After Giving The Snake First Bite.” And if there is not enough room on the tombstone, well, enlarge the tombstone.

Which brings me to my final health tip of the day. We all know and appreciate the fact that music is the best medicine on the shelf. So here’s my plan. Next Saturday night we get the Incline High School marching band to station themselves outside the entrance to our fine Incline Community Hospital, and at exactly six o’clock they strike up, “American the Beautiful.” Then we invite the best chorus in the world above 6,000 feet to sing along. I shall join in myself, even though I only know the last part about crowning thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea, and will have to lip sync the rest of the song.

As everybody starts to feel the healing power of music, those inside the hospital, from doctors to nurses to patients, will perk up and start to sing along too. And there you go. If that doesn’t make everybody feel better all over I don’t know the Great State of Nevada.

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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