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Biff America: Tasteless gossip

Jeffrey Bergeron
Biff America
Jeffrey "Biff" Bergeron

Ajay drinks his own urine.

OK, let me start over. Someone once told me Ajay drinks his own urine.

I always enjoyed working with young folks in the spring of their careers. For them, anything was possible. They could be the next Diane Sawyer, Anderson Cooper or (heaven forbid) Sean Hannity. For guys and gals my age, though we might have more experience, we all pretty much knew we had reached our Peter Principle (the level of our incompetence).

About a decade ago, I snagged a few weeks of freelance work for a Denver station. Ajay didn’t work with us directly, but I would see him around the studios. He was some sort of hot shot computer/technical engineer. When I asked Austin, one of the younger guys, about him, he said, “Ajay is a wizard. He’s the smartest guy in the building, but he drinks his own urine.”

You can guess my response: “What!?”

Austin answered, “Yeah, it’s some sort of religious or health thing. Donny told me, and I think Gretchen told him.”

I knew Ajay well enough to say hello, and he knew I lived in the mountains, so we would occasionally talk skiing. But our relationship had not progressed to the point where I could ask him about his urine drinking.

The work ended, and I was left with the sentiment, “Hey you did a great job, thanks. Don’t call us; we’ll call you.” That was a decade ago.

Over the years since, I would sometimes joke with friends about a guy I once worked with and his preferred beverage. I was surprised that some of my friends knew all about the practice and the purported benefits.

Because I’m a hard-hitting, fact-finding journalist with both time and bourbon on my hands, I searched the web a few months ago due to pandemic boredom. I’ve been told that whenever you are considered for a federal judgeship, muckraker’s hack into your web history. I hope that won’t jinx my appointment when they find “urine drinking” in my browsing history.

In a nutshell, I have found that most health care professionals don’t recommend it, but I did find a few websites promoting it. The pros supposedly include an improved immune system and the cons include kidney failure and needing to replace your toothbrush more often. My takeaway was that I’ll stick to multivitamins.

Fast forward to March 2020. Do you remember Austin? He was the guy who told me about Ajay. I’m not sure what Ajay is doing now, but Austin has actually gone on to do some great things. We’ve stayed in touch.

He must have been as bored as I was because he picked up the phone. I asked, “Did you ever find out if Ajay really drank his own (I don’t want to type that word anymore)?”

Turns out Austin got to know Ajay fairly well, having worked with him for years. And he told me emphatically, “No, he thought I was crazy when I asked.” Austin went on to say he was embarrassed that he spread such unverified gossip. “But I was a kid back then. I can’t believe you still remember that.”

“Youth is easy to deceive because they are quick to hope.” — Aristotle

I forgive Austin for his gossip. His misinformation did nothing to alter or diminish my feelings towards Ajay. No harm, no foul. And the truth is, it is not only youths who are easily deceived. A human condition is to seek affirmation to believe something because it is convenient. This is very evident during this pandemic. You don’t like wearing masks? I don’t either. You can find people (some who attended college) who will say you don’t need to. You want to open businesses, schools, churches as they were open pre-COVID? There are plenty of sources who will tell you kids are tough and herd immunity is the answer.

Even though I’m a fact-finding, hard-hitting journalist, don’t listen to me. I barely graduated from high school with the GPA of a plant. But do listen to your own doctors and nurses whom you trust. What we are going through now is unprecedented and a work in progress. But there are those who have an established track record; they are the folks who I will listen to. If you look hard enough, you can find some support for anything you want to believe — even the wrong stuff. And the wrong advice can have serious repercussion for our nation’s health and bad breath for you.

Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stop lights. Contact him at biffbreck@yahoo.com.


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