Wednesday 8 November 2023

Squeezing every last drop of fun out of life

Dad - A wise voice
My Dad used to tell me a story, that was both funny and sad. His father was partial to a drink by all accounts (I never met my Grandfather, he died 20 years before I was born). My grandfather was a highly respected engineer in Australia, who had his own company involved in drilling for oil and water in the outback. He had one contract with a large, wealthy landowner. Every time they met, he'd lecture my grandfather on the dangers of boozing, how drinking shortened your life and the benefits of an absteemious life. My grandfather rather resented this unwanted advice. I asked my Dad what happened to the wealthy landowner. Apparently, the day after my Grandfather finished the project, he was bitten by a brownsnake and died. 

My father liked to impress on us all that the best laid plans of mice and men go wrong and a short enjoyable life is better than a long boring one. He died of a heart attack, brought on by decades of smoking 60 cigarettes a day, drinking every day and eating fatty foods. He was sixty nine years old. He seemed old to me then, when I was 24. Now I'm 61, it seems rather young. I sometimes wonder whether I'll make it. My wife constantly berates me, every time I eat a sausage or bacon butty, or open another bottle of wine, because I fancy 'one more drink'. She is convinced it is killing me and that I am on deaths door. Any evidence I produce that contradicts this is 'clearly wrong', such as my fitbit saying I have an excellent heart rate etc. When I needed a radical prostatectomy, it was proof that all of the wine, beer and sausages were lethal. 

It seems that there is no aspect of life that is not impacted by someone, somewhere telling you that what you are doing is killing you or that you are destroying the planet with your selfishness. I recently had a customer chatising me for keeping my non ULEZ compliant diesel Ford Galaxy. How could I be so selfish? Well the simple answer is I have a business to run, I simply can't afford £60K for a new van that is compliant and so I've kept the old banger and I pass on the additional ULEZ £12.50 delivery charges to customers. I was almost tempted to charge him for a sausage sandwich on the way to annoy him. Sure, I'd much rather have an E-Type Jag, that has a massive engine, emits pollution by the bucket load but is exempt from ULEZ as a classic car, but I can't fit a PA system in it. 

In truth, I spend my life at the moment in agony. My ankle is completely shot and my knees are almost gone. Not because of the sausages and the bacon, but because up until March, I played football regularly. I am a victim of doing far too much exercise over the years, I've worn everything out. I'll probably get dementia next (if I haven't already) from all the heading of balls that I did. I saw a personal trainer five years ago who advised me to "give up football and do gym work instead". The only problem is that I fin gym work to be akin to punishment. It is boring and dull. I have spent a lot of time in the gym, but only to make me fitter for football. 

I recall the dawn of this age. When AIDS and HIV struck, we were told that if you had unprotected sex with anyone, you were at risk. Plays were written about the demise of western civilisation on the back of AIDS and unprotected shagging. Somehow, the human race survived. A wise priest once advised me that everything was acceptable in moderation (well apart from shagging!) and not to feel guilty if you have a beer now and then or a sausage sandwich. I tend to agree.

You may wonder what prompted this rant? Well I heard something on the radio earlier where they said that drinking more than two pints is "dangerous binge drinking". I suspect the only reason that there is any truth in that is most blokes tell the doctor they have 'a couple of pints' when they have eight. 

I'm not advocating doing anything that is bad for anyone, but if you live a life devoid of fun, swathed in misery, I dount you'll live any longer. I see many of my more abstemious friends and some of them look twenty years beyond their age, riddled with worry lines. Yeah, of course I should be thinner, drink less etc, but all of the things I do that are bad for me, I thoroughly enjoy.

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