301 is a terrific number. It is the area code for the state of Maryland,  a programming code to redirect web traffic, and it is the number of times that actor Gary Busey has been mistaken for a llama. This week my enthusiasm and fondness for the number 301 took a nose dive when I discovered that it was also my cholesterol level. If you know anything about cholesterol, you know that this is extremely high and well above the 240 serious risk mark. Finally I can be considered an overachiever with something.

The thing is, I never would have had my cholesterol checked. I’m 30, in OK-ish shape, I don’t eat a bunch of crap,  and I get a good sweat almost every day.  It never even crossed my mind to have it checked any of the numerous times my parents urged me to do so. High cholesterol is common on both sides of my family. I typically tune out such advice and chalk it up to parental worry-warting. I mean, these are the same parents that have insisted I drive with a emergency hammer in the glove compartment of my car  in case I decide to park my car in the swimming pool.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I could have gone at least another decade without thinking to check my cholesterol.  I’m just not the kind of person that utilizes health care. I put a twelve year gap between my last two physicals, and I only seek medical attention if I can’t fix myself with something absorbent enough to stop the bleeding and strong enough to cut the pain. But this pattern of flying blind with my health all came to a head when I applied for life insurance and was denied the best rates.  I was convinced they were scamming me- the old bait and switch. So I had it checked again.

Everybody raise your Big Gulp.

For I am a certified 301.

-Ryan Wilder

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