The Malta Independent 1 October 2023, Sunday
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The world is full of sick people

Sunday, 4 June 2023, 08:32 Last update: about 5 months ago

Louis Gatt

That is sick in the unwell sense.

The old adage: "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think," was brought home to me recently. A friend was telling me of someone he knew who, in the prime of his life, had just landed his dream job in Silicon Valley, with a stonking great salary and myriad perks. Anyway, this guy, in seemingly perfect health, decided to confirm the fact by having an extensive medical examination before departing for California.

You know what's coming next don't you. Yes that's right, two days after submitting to the medical he was summoned back to the clinic and given very bad news. Apparently the procedure had shown that the poor guy had somehow contracted a particularly virulent type of cancer, which was both inoperable and terminal. And, according to my friend, he was given a maximum of three months to live. In fact he succumbed to his sickness just a few weeks later, at the age of 42.

On the other hand some healthy people can turn into both hypochondriacs or worse... health bores. I used to know a guy who made it his life's work to buttonhole strangers and bore them to distraction with the reasons why everyone on the planet should become a vegan and eschew stuff like meat and dairy products. Now, apart from the fact that, despite arguments to the contrary, I personally find most vegan diets both uninteresting and pretty samey. The guy, to whom I am referring, never passed up the opportunity to tell anyone listening that he was so healthy he would almost certainly live to be a hundred. So obviously he keeled-over dead with a coronary in his late 30s. Some might say: Serve him right.

A little while back I did have a chat to a genuine centenarian, a delightful old lady of 101. She cheerfully debunked all theories of healthy eating by explaining: "I've lived to this age in spite of - or because of - eating whatever I fancy and yes... I do enjoy a drink - or three."

She was being so positive and well... cool about her very advanced age, so I chanced my arm and asked her whether it wasn't rather depressing to see only a few of her friends still around. She guffawed with laughter and replied: "Not even a few actually. They've all gone - and no it's not depressing at all. I just think; haha it's not me... yet."

And I think that's a rather nice attitude to propagate and far more positive than the predominantly negative attitude of so many people. Like my Aunty Grace (not her real name... although why I'm protecting the miserable old slag is a mystery). Aunty Grace is someone who, shall we say, enjoys ill health. She has in her possession more pills and potions than you'd find in the pharmacy at Mater Dei. If you ask her where it hurts she'll tell you... with all the gory details left in. And she's way short of three figures in age.

Well I don't anticipate reaching three figures and I'm definitely not up for a bonanza position in Silicon Valley, but that is not the reason I am also not contemplating an extensive medical examination either. I am certainly not in the bloom of youth, but I feel reasonably healthy, well as healthy as a fairly sedentary trainee geriatric has any reason to feel. So my reasoning is: Leave well alone, don't tug the sleeping tiger's tail.

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