I am stunned at how little one can eat past the age of 40 and remain at a weight that does not require a new wardrobe. A piece of cake with frosting appears in a series of lumps just above the knees on the Wednesday following its consumption. Fries lodge in the upper arms and cookies rest just below the navel. Each day is a constant battle of averting my eyes around children with Snickers bars.

Age-induced consequences of caloric consumption are Mother Nature's idea. Being svelte at age 50 is risky because a little extra padding brings reflection, introspection and fidelity. Mother Nature has her reasons. Defy her and she has created product liability lawyers to straighten us around. Phen-fen and Redux swept the United States faster than an Elton John tribute to neurotic women. Here was the diet pill solution to help us shun Sizzler and don two-piece swimming suits. The risk was a little heart damage.Phen-fen litigation groups are poised for multimillion dollar settlements. The only foolproof diet pill is self-control. All the rest take us to court.

It's not just caloric intolerance that comes with age. Mother Nature settles men down through malfunction. Impotence can prevent cheating. Viagra, Pfizer's new dysfunction drug, aims to change all that. Viagra is a wonder drug just for giving us a respite from the Diana-level hype for the Seinfeld adios. But Viagra defies Mother Nature. Already, the American Academy of Opthamology sounds like a mother with its vision warnings about Viagra use. It's not exactly "You'll go blind," but seeing spots and color distortions can put a damper on the evening.

Viagra is in its consumer romance stage. Men and women alike are demanding prescriptions, Medicare coverage and monthly allotments. The side effects be damned, we've found our miracle. These same big boys and girls will be "Dateline" guests with their lawyers near the set as they whine about the nasty drug company that didn't let them know Viagra breaks up marriages, induces the singing of Danke Schoen, or whatever Viagra ends up causing. As sure as the sun rises, so to speak, this drug will spawn class action lawsuits. Pfizer is a fine company with an outstanding record and, by way of disclosure, Pfizer has supported my research. But the quality of a drug and its producer company have absolutely nothing to do with class action lawsuits.

One guy in Missoula starts feeling dizzy and it's hello contingent fees. The May 18, 1998, edition of the National Law Journal has a front-page piece with lawyers predicting product liability suits are a sure thing for Viagra.

Fly in the face of Mother Nature, and your flight will take you through federal district court. There is a graveyard for companies that have tried to reverse nature. Dow Corning gave women a boost with silicone implants. Their litigation took them to Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A.H. Robins had a birth control device that was semi-permanent and did not involve medication. They landed in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Bendectin was the drug that relieved morning sickness during pregnancy. It became the extinct drug blamed for birth defects in children born to mothers who took it.

Their stories are identical. First their products became enormously popular with media attention that convinces us we have an antidote to life's unfairness. Then a few complaints appear, the complainers appear on 20/20 and the litigation games begin. It's as if Mother Nature struck a bargain with us, "Sure, I'll give you full performance at age 55, you give me your vision. I'll give you implants and a seductive look, you give me your immune systems." She's not the devil, but she does mete out consequences for bargains with the devil.

You can't change aging, and, perhaps most importantly, you can't avoid the required courses of study in life. Mother Nature has built-in mechanisms that teach required courses. You're no longer voluptuous, but you find other avenues of development, so to speak. There's no diet pill that works without side effects, so you develop self-control. You find romantic involvement is a challenge, so you hang around the house, remaining true to the woman who'll love you no matter what shape your stomach and other things are in.

Sweet Mother Nature. Like all good mothers she instructs. We keep trying to circumvent those lessons and then seem surprised when there are side effects. Mother Nature wants us to see all stages of life and its challenges. We just want to know what it will cost to avoid both. While it may not cost an arm and a leg, it has cost heart valves and health. It really isn't nice to fool Mother Nature. She's ready, fully armed with her band of lawyers and class actions, and she always rises to the occasion.