Most of eastern North Carolina awoke to devastating news on Monday morning

Most of eastern North Carolina awoke to devastating news on Monday morning. The World Health Organization classified processed meat as a carcinogenic, meaning it can cause cancer.

For many of us here, processed meat in the form of bacon, sausage, hot dogs and even beef jerky is an essential food group. Now all of a sudden we’re told it causes cancer. What’s a Southerner to do? We’re certainly not going to give up our bacon or beef jerky.

And apparently we don’t necessarily have to. According to media reports, two slices of bacon daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 1 percent, and four pieces by about 2 percent.

Don’t get me wrong. I love bacon. But I’m certainly not eating four pieces per day.

Of course, I suppose if you skip the bacon one day and eat a couple of hot dogs for lunch, wash it down with a helping of beef jerky, follow that up with a pepperoni pizza for dinner and enjoy a ham sandwich as a midnight snack, you may have cause for concern — as well as cause to get a bigger pair of pants.

As with everything, moderation is the key here. I am certainly not going to stop living high on the hog. I will continue to have my bacon and my pepperoni pizza. I usually eat bacon once per week and will usually have a pizza once per week.

My passion is a good brisket sandwich from Double J’s Texas Barbecue. But just when you thought it was safe to head to the grill, the World Health Organization also said that red meat is “probably carcinogenic,” meaning that I could die from eating red or processed meat – but what a way to go.

Still, this news is not troubling to me, and it is because of one simple fact. I can avoid red meat for the rest of my life, and I’m still going to die.

That’s right folks. In a shocking development, we have learned that life causes death. If you live, you will die. And, I’m not talking about a measly one or two percent increase to the risk of death like eating a couple of pieces of bacon every day. I’m talking 100 percent, guaranteed. Life causes death.

I don’t mean to trivialize this, but it is true. Everything in life carries some risk. You just have to decide if the risk is worth the reward.

Someone jumping out of a plane with a parachute can die, just like someone walking across the street can. One may carry more risk, but does walking across the street bring with it the absolute thrill and excitement one can get from skydiving?

I’ll take the extra 1 percent risk of cancer because I enjoy a good Southern breakfast. They can take my bacon when they pry it from my cold dead hands.

Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 444-1999 or at