Step outside early one gorgeous morning. Stand in the sunshine. Enjoy the warmth on your skin. From inside the house, the smell of frying sausages teases your nose. Mingled with the fragrance is the hint of fresh-brewed coffee. Snatches of talk from the TV break the morning silence.

It’s gonna be a great day, right?

Wrong.

You’ve just encountered four ways to hurt or kill yourself, say the “experts” – and your morning isn’t even an hour old yet.

If you’re like me, you’ve heard so many reports about things that can damage or debilitate you that you’re a candidate for a heart attack just thinking how you’re going to survive the rest of the day.

The cost of living is going up, but the chances of living are going down. Are we living in great times or what?

Too much sun can cause skin problems. Get too much sun and you wrinkle prematurely. Tan your skin and turn a lovely shade of pre-cancerous brown.

When the sky clouds over, make sure that none of the rain that falls on you is acid. If you stay in the house, don’t get poisoned by the lead-based paint. Stay out of the attic or the asbestos may filter into your lungs and contract cancer.

Turn off the TV – if it doesn’t make you a violent zombie it will make you so passive you become comatose. The flickering images on it -- or your computer or cellphone -- can bring on epileptic seizures or eyestrain.

Don’t put the cellphone too close to your ear for too long; radiation can cause cancer.

Watch out for the bricks in the foundation of the house – they may be radioactive.

Get in the car, go for a drive, and hope the seat doesn’t give you back strain. Hope you’re not one of the 50,000 or so people killed annually in this country by traffic accidents.

We realize, after all, that the “experts” are right.

Many of us eat wrong, drink wrong, think wrong, live wrong, love wrong, drive wrong and listen to too much loud music. Many of us work too hard at putting ourselves into an early grave.

It seems, though, that there are so many things hazardous to us in one way or another that the only safe thing to do is engage in a good brisk sit, feel our muscles atrophy by the hour, and wait for death to claim us.

Some researchers say that exercise – which many of us believe to be of value – is hard on the joints or wears the body out prematurely. Running is said by some to shake the body organs in an unhealthy manner. They say long-haul truckers and runners can have the same kidney problems from the constant pounding.

Forget about scrappin’ in the friendly karate class. That punch to the nose can break it, drive bone fragments deep into your brain.

Forget about ever having another cup of coffee, say the experts. Coffee raises blood pressure, heightens muscle tension, increases the secretions of stomach acid, cuts the amount of oxygen available to the brain and causes birth defects, according to those with far more education than me.

Other than that, it’s all right, I guess.

Thinking about having a hamburger with that coffee? Fuggedaboudit. Scientists say eating less “fatty” – in other words, delicious -- foods such as burgers, smoked ham and fish, sausage, bologna and bacon can cut the risk of cancer. And skip the salt – causes hypertension, you know.

Forget soft drinks – many of them contain caffeine and sugar. The ones free of those are also free of taste. Drink just water, but make sure it isn’t contaminated.

And if you’ve decided to stick to a healthy diet of vegetables, fruit and soybeans, think again. Better know what they were sprayed with or what was in the soil or water that nourished them.

Well, live your life the way you want. I’ve found that experts in most fields are like good lawyers – you can find one on each side of a case.

I’ve picked the experts I agree with and I’ve made my choices. I’m going to stretch and warm up, hoist barbells instead of beer bottles, find someone to do some scuffling with. Then maybe I’ll walk and run a couple miles. Then I’ll have a sensible dinner and get a good night’s sleep.

Maybe I’ll wind up being the healthiest man in the cemetery.

Until that day comes, I’m going to live every day like I was dying.

Which each one of us is, if you care to think about it

And never eat more than I can lift…

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