On the Brighter Side by Trevor Plumbly
They’re Coming to Get Ya!
I generally regard the off-beat and just plain cranky as adding a bit of spice to everyday life, but a couple of things lately have made that a bit more difficult to do. I was a 60s person and we weren’t short of the odd nutter in those days: some held the theory that whacking your brain with LSD led to great personal enlightenment, while others held the less harmful belief that carting around a crystal bead protected you from all sorts of nasties. My personal favourite of the barmy brigade was the ‘aluminium foil’ believers: they were convinced that lining your head with aluminium foil would protect your brains from all sorts of invasive horrors. Bloody brilliant if it had worked, but sadly it didn’t, though it was fun while it lasted, and no doubt the faithful have survived its debunking with healthy, albeit unprotected, brains. All that sort of stuff was, of course, relatively harmless and eventually dismissed as such. But there’s a new breed out there folks and believe me they ain’t so harmless and they’re out to get you.
A Bitter Pill
I was never quite sure what medical researchers actually did for a crust. Like most of the uninitiated, I assumed they just toiled in labs, knocking up potions and tablets, only emerging for Eureka pronouncements and Nobel Prizes; quiet academics labouring away to make a happier, healthier world for all of us. Not any more: in recent times they seem to be striving for the limelight by coming up with all sorts of ‘research studies’. Trouble is, despite their commitment to our welfare, they seem hard pushed to agree on which particular substance we should avoid. I’ve never been a coffee freak, but I used to enjoy the odd cup until they informed me of the dangers of caffeine; I would have switched to tea but they anticipated that by threatening me with Tannic Acid. Fruit juice I’m told has got oodles of sugar in it and should be avoided like the plague. Red wine was a beneficial stimulant until the latest ‘research’ findings which ‘prove’ that the pure drug ecstasy is less harmful than alcohol. I’d drink water but ours has got fluoride in it and some medical folk reckon that it causes osteoarthritis. It’s all very confusing and, according to these guys, I was bloody lucky to make it past 30.
Time was when you could pick out these holies of health, all white coats and bifocals, but not anymore; they’ve got cunning. They invade our living space via TV as ‘medical experts’, all in civilian clothes, good health and, it seems, 20/20 vision. They’ve got all manner of these bods in the wings just waiting to pounce. No part of the human make-up is sacred: there was one the other day who had concluded, by research of course, that gossip was therapeutic – fancy that! No doubt her particular university is basking in the glory of this revelation. The most common of the entire species is the ‘diet specialist’: according to these individuals, achieving longevity is simply a matter of following their eating habits. One suggested lots of fish, rice and water and, in all fairness, you might clock up a few more miles that way, but I can’t see you enjoying it that much. Then there’s the ‘Paleo’ diet; this, I understand, is based on what was on the average cave dweller’s menu in ancient times. Another ‘expert’, however, has pointed out that the life expectancy in those days was around 40, so the jury’s still out on that one. It’s tough this healthy living stuff and I’m not sure who to follow at the moment, so in the meantime whenever a ‘specialist’ appears on the screen, I shall switch the bloody thing off, grab a beer and a packet of crisps and wait for the inevitable. With, of course . . . a grin.