Annotating Dr. Oz’s The Good Life

Dr. Oz has a new magazine. It’s called The Good Life, and according to Dr. Oz’s editor’s note, the purpose of this new venture is “to make your life more vital and more meaningful… Every word will be treated as preciously as the person reading it.” So I read the magazine, asking myself as I went: Did The Good Life make my life feel more vital and more meaningful? Did every word make me feel precious? Please join me on this very personal journey through Dr. Oz’s The Good Life.


Reading about Alison Brower’s fiery passion for health, I was forced to ask myself: “Do I have a fiery passion for health?” While I definitely, definitely think breathing and walking around and stuff are cool, I’m pretty sure I don’t have the kind of residual excitement about either that one could transfer to a readership. So in a way, being made aware of Brower’s fiery passion for health was good, because I know they’ve given the job to the right person, and this realization did make me feel weirdly vital, and I also felt like life was kind of meaningful, because Alison Brower had matched up her passions with her job. On the other hand, being forced to confront my own lack of a fiery passion for health made me feel a little inadequate, which did not make me feel precious.

Vitality grade: C

Meaningfulness grade: D

Preciousness grade: F

I really like cats, so, from the moment I laid eyes on it this article had a head start. Then I saw the phrase “Chinese jerky treats,” and felt extremely precious, because if ever a phrase was invented just for my enjoyment, that phrase is “Chinese jerky treats.” And it made me feel remarkably vital to think of all the lucky people moving through life identifying themselves as “Feed Control Officials.” But the last bulleted point, wherein Ohio State veterinary professor C.A. Tony Buffington, DVM stated that “it is difficult to strike the right nutritional balance when making pet food” made my life feel a little less meaningful, because if I can’t even figure out how to make cat food, what’s the point?

Vitality: B+

Meaningfulness: D

Preciousness: A

Reading this, I thought to myself, “if Dr. Oz gives any answer to this question other than ‘Dear Melissa, I have no fucking idea if you will ever need reading glasses, but I have an amazing idea: Why don’t you wait and see?’” then I will have to take my own life.” Since that is not the answer he gave, I can’t say this portion of the magazine left me feeling very good, in any (cat!)egorie.

Vitality: F

Meaningfulness: F

Preciousness: F

You know how everyone keeps saying humans no longer need a fight or flight instinct to the extent we did when we were living in the wild? This article is proof that in fact we do. That woman under the dryer with her hand over her mouth terrified me. But you can’t go through life hiding from things like this and just hoping they’ll go away, so I sat down and forced myself to reckon with the hard truths of this article. And thank God I did, because it made me feel so empowered. I learned that when I go to the hair salon, I have the right to come early and make sure it’s properly ventilated. I have the right to ask my stylist, when she pulls a comb out of her drawer, “Was that disinfected?” (Dr. Oz didn’t say that I could add, “…you trashy, potentially dirty comb-wielding whore” to this question but I bet he would support me if I did!) I have the right to look down and see if there’s hair all over the floor, which Tabatha Coffey, from the Bravo show Tabatha Takes Over says might mean that the salon is “lacking in overall cleanliness.” (Dr. Oz said “The Good Life is packed with advice from some of the smartest people I know.” Tabatha must be one of those people.) Before reading this, I wanted to call up Dr. Oz and plead with him to please, please accompany me on every single trip to every single hair salon I will ever go to for the rest of my life — please, Dr. Oz, protect me. Heal me. But after reading it, I know I have the tools to handle this problem all by myself, which made me a. so vital and b. so precious. Also, I really feel like I can make a difference, because now I take what I learned and teach my friends about how to be safe at the hair salon, and that makes my life more meaningful.

Vitality: A

Meaningfulness: A

Preciousness: A

At this point, I was starting to feel so vital and precious that at first I thought the writer was just talking to me, and I was like, “lol, Dana Hudepohl. My cellphone doesn’t have anything to do with my vagina. Does yours?” Like, I felt like we were friends. Then I realized she was talking to women with cellphones and vaginas everywhere, and there’s meaningful points right there, because we all have a vagina and most of us also have cellphones. Then I read it and I was like, did someone just come up with this headline and then try to come up with stuff to fit under it? Because all the little micro articles that followed were about unrelated stuff, like: one was about how sex isn’t about orgasms, it’s about feelings (“lol” again, Dana!) and one was about how people get tired at night, which I knew already, and another one was about how doing puzzles could make you horny, and one was about how coffee made rats horny, which, thinking about that would probably make you stop feeling horny even if you did a million puzzles! I thought maybe there was more, but I turned the page and it was a totally different article, titled, “How Well Do You Know Your Nose?” ( I was like, “pretty well, I guess?”) Anyway. I still felt guilty for thinking that this headline was kind of a ruse, and even more guilty for picturing something like, I don’t know, some editor bursting into the room at the 11th hour when the magazine was all laid out, and saying, “Dr. Oz says we need a piece with vagina in the headline.” Because why would a bunch of people who got together to make a magazine to make my life feel more vital and meaningful and who had selected every word to make me feel precious do stuff like that? I wonder if there’s a supplement to make you feel less cynical, because I think I need it!

Vitality: C

Meaningfulness: B

Preciousness: C

Previously: I Will Not Soak It In

Sarah Miller is the author of Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn and The Other Girl. She lives in Nevada City, CA. Follow her on Twitter @sarahlovescali.