Is It About the Hedge?


Nobody really wants to die. Everyone wants to dream of yet another day when they close their eyes and go to sleep.

And yet, every day, almost everyone does something that reduces their chance of maximizing their lives….cigarettes, alcohol, trans fats, sugar, stepping in front of a speeding bus while texting…

We are, overall, pretty stupid when it comes to our day to day habits which impact our health…just take a look in the center aisles of any large grocery store.

We are often not aware of our stupidity until, if we are lucky, we get a rude wakeup call from our doctor, or Nature – “Your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, weight, etc. is out of control…you should do something about that….just sayin’ if you don’t, you may not live as long as you would like.”

Do we listen? Most of us for maybe a short while, until that next heavenly pork roast comes out of the oven…mmmmm, nothing like pork crackling….

And so it comes to pass that one day we find ourselves in the hospital, usually stricken with one of the big diseases which has caught up to us…

Statistically, in order, they are heart disease, lower respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes,  etc.….(speeding bus is somewhere down on the list, but is on the rise.)

As we lie there in the hospital bed, reflecting on the ton of chocolate we’ve consumed (2,000 pounds divided by 75 years = 1.16 oz a day,) or the thousands of cigarettes and cigars we smoked, or the kegs of beer or gallons of whiskey we drank, or the truckloads of animals of varied shapes and sizes we have eaten, we hope to maybe bargain our way back home.

I promise not to eat bacon anymore…just get me out of here.

And then this little bitsy, eeensy teensy, thing comes along and says, “Nope”…and puts an end to us…

No reprieve this time it says. I’m taking out one, or two, of a hundred of you whose immune systems can’t kick me out of the room, in spite of you having been the proud product of millions of years of unbroken evolutionary life…That life ends here…exit stage left.

Personally, if I was called in front of a judge and asked under oath how would I rank my treatment of the vehicle that has carried my mind and soul around since the day I was conceived, I’d give myself about a 7 (maybe 8) out of 10.

In my late teens and twenties, I smoked up to two packs of Player’s Plain for about 10 years, I drank crappy beer for about the same amount of time, I seldom cut fat off of prime rib, I have a sweet tooth, I don’t exercise every day, and have come close to accidently killing myself a few times…each time muttering to myself “That was fucking stupid Eric, don’t do that again.”

However, on the plus side, I trained for and ran a marathon when I was 47 (which changed my lung capacity significantly), I still rollerblade in the skate park and hacksack at Centennial Park with kids 1/4 my age, I can jump and click my heels together (without falling), I have all of my mental (some may dispute that) faculties working well, last time I remember my memory was working just fine, I have been supplementing my nutritional needs for 25 years, I laugh and joke every day, I offer smiles to virtually anyone, I wake up happy, I rarely get a cold, haven’t taken anti-biotics for decades, and have had something resembling the flu once in as many decades.

I have been saying for over 20 years now that I’ve been on what I consider “bonus time.” If I died today I would have no regrets on how long I’ve lived. Doesn’t mean I don’t want to see tomorrow’s sunrise, or live forever, it just means I’ve already accepted that I can’t argue with Death, when it comes for me, that I don’t “deserve” to die. Not that I would win an argument with Death (ala Monty Python’s Meaning of Life), but, the point is we all make daily choices as to how we live our life, and, those choices do form the basis for how and when we leave this life.

A doctor friend of mine once said, “No one has ever died of a disease called ‘old age.’ We die of one or two or more of an exceedingly long list of causes. Those causes are almost always a direct reflection of the lifestyles we’ve led, our environment and/or the food we have eaten.”

And we are all likely going to be coming more aware of this reality over the next few months as it becomes clearer that pre-existing conditions are a precursor to earlier death by viral infection. Italy is reporting 99% of deaths related to CV have underlying preconditions.

Viruses are not a new phenomenon, but, perhaps a healthy awareness of them will be, and maybe, just maybe, as a result, more people will take care of themselves, live longer as a consequence and reduce the burden on our healthcare/medical system… win/win/win.

Harsh lessons are usually the ones that teach us the most.

Will bacon and cigarette sales go down as a result? Or will it be business as usual?

That’s anyone’s guess….and choice.

I’ll leave you with this link. 😉  and please, do watch out for the salmon mousse.

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