Today's Chicago Tribune story on sodium in our diets begins with just about the stupidest lede I have read in a long time:
Sodium, one of the planet's oldest substances, may be the American diet's newest enemy.
I imagined it continuing:
Only sodium, of all 90 naturally-occuring chemical elements, has expressed any hostility toward the American diet. In separate news conferences, spokespeople for hydrogen and helium, the planet's two oldest substances, stressed that they are essentially inert and take no position on the American diet, while statements put out by oxygen, carbon, and iron reaffirmed those substances' long friendships with the American diet. Arsenic and mercury declined to comment.
As most of the Periodic Table rushed to distance themselves from sodium's manifesto, two—argon and sulfur—voiced objections to sodium's seniority claim, suggesting that sodium arrived on the planet through the post-solidification accretion of solar material and was therefore not part of the original complement of substances that first formed Earth.
At press time, sodium had neither responded to these criticisms nor retracted its declaration of war.
The American diet could not be reached for comment.
But, alas, the article merely went on to remind readers that sodium in large quantities is bad for us, and that sodium is the principal ingredient by mass in table salt.