THAT life is risky cannot be doubted. There is no pleasurable activity in life that is not associated with risk factor-eating, drinking smoking, kissing, sexual and other activities that make life worth living.
The study of risk factors has become a speciality in its own right. The experts have at their disposal only a limited range of combinations between various kinds of sinful behaviour (known as unhealthy lifestyle).
Possibilities are greatly multiplied by throwing individual items of diet into the game. Occasionally, for the sake of variety, some new combinations are studied such as snoring and heart disease or the habit of doing difficult crosswords while sitting on lavatory and developing piles.
When coffee drinking became widespread, doctors feared the worst. As early as 1695 the Medical School of Paris announced that coffee deprived men of their generative powers. Coffee drinkers became shriveled shadows of their former self with haggard looks and uncontinued tremour of the hands. Coffee is still shuned by various religious sects who quote experts who discovered that coffee causes cancer. This was disputed by a group of scientists from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesida, who found out that people with cancer of the panercas did not drink mere coffee than the average person but definitely eat more rice!
The Irish Commission for lunacy meanwhile observed a strong link between tea drinking and the rate of admission to mental asylum. William Cobbet summarized medical opinion on the vice of tea drinking as “a destroyer of health,” an enfeeble of the frame, an engenderer of effeminacy, fattening and laziness, a debuncher of youth and a maker of misery for old age.
British Epidemiologist have written on the British Journal of Cancer that tea drinkers are more likely to die of cancers of the stomach, lung and kidney.
Whether kissing was ever a fashion is doubtful but in 1886, in a long article in the journal of American Medical Association, Professor Adams warned against the physical and moral dangers of kissing
Three years ago the British gynaecologist spoke for many when he declared that cancer prevention and chastity are the same thing. His argument was simple early sexual activities in girls increases their risk of cervical cancer and breast cancer. The possibility that immoral behaviour could be beneficial to health poses such an adulterous threat to the marriage of “acceptable” Medical theories with morality that the less sold the better. And what makes a health theory acceptable is its scarce mongering potentials that eating eggs or not, brushing your teeth gives you heart attack while good news such as a recent report suggesting a negative connection between alcohol and breast cancer does not so much as see the light of day?
In the report of British promotion Experts, the Nation’s Health, it was noted that not only tobacco and alcohol manufacturers but also confectionery manufacturers shamelessly promote products which presents hazards to health. If it is a sweet ban it, if you cannot ban it put a health warning to it and the warning is unlikely to be of this kind. “This gobstopper will remove your fillings before you can caramel” but more likely something like “Sugar Eater Die Young” or that of Tobacco – Smokers are liable to die young.
In 1989 the Brussels Burcaucrates launched a “Europe Against Cancer” campaign in which alcohol was singled out as one of the important causes of cancer. As the number one enemy, tobacco is gradually driven under-ground, experts are formulating health warnings to appear on all alcoholic beverages, the Guardian of World Health, the United States has been in the forefront of these efforts for some years.
In no distant future, shall we enjoy Guinness with government warnings such as “Guinness is Black Death”? Other drinks may carry – Alcohol causes cancer and double vision. The alcohol cancer scare came in the nick of time, as rumours were appearing in the Medical Literature that teetotallers were more likely than drinkers to die of heart attacks.
This dangerous thought was vigorously opposed by some experts. Surely there must be something wrong with the idea that a pleasurable activity does not earn its just deserts?
Some attempts to prolong life are counter productive. It has been calculated that jogging ten miles a day until the age of eighty shortens life effectively by nine years, that is the time used up by the jogging itself.
Another calculation came that watching television for 3-hours a day for fifty-years amounts to six-years of wasted time which should be subtracted from life expectancy when it is compared with the unhealthy pre – television era.
There are many who yearn for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile doctors as noted by montalgne 400 years ago will not remain satisfied with looking after the sick, but they will keep corrupting health itself, for fear that people should at anytime escape their authority.
To paraphrase Alexanda Wolcolt, Everything interesting in life is doomed to remain illegal, immoral, cancinogenic or fattening.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. It has finally been scientifically established that life is an incurable, sexually transmitted disease. Fortunately, it is preventable as most are caused by accident and every doctor knows that prevention is better than cure.