Yesterday I had a meeting with a professional advisor to whom I had been recommended in Lewes. Our business concluded I accepted his invitation for lunch. I knew he was a cricket fan and we spoke of the trip to South Africa.
I explained that I would not be drinking any alcohol as like many I’ve opted for a dry Janaury. There has been some controversy as the chief Government Medical Officer has reduced the amount of safe consumption to 16 units of alcohol per week. Another wiseacre has opined that it’s a useless exercise anyway as the person will return to their normal level of drinking.
The advisor said he attended a medical and the doctor said there was golden gene of longevity and if you possessed it you will live to a ripe age regardless. I thought of my own dear parents who made 88 and 91. I also thought of a severe, indeed in most cases, mortal illness I contracted out of the blue some 14 years ago. I thought of a friend of mine who has always enjoyed his drink but contracted a mild form of cancer totally unrelated to it. The fact is if your number is up, your number is up.
Then factor in the number of near scrapes domestically, in the car or as pedestrian. Think of the young Sussex cricketer Matt Hobden who fell through a skylight in a tragic accident. Or the cyclist Greg Lemond who shot himself in an hunting accident.
It seems to me the medical profession would do better not scaring us into changing our lifestyles but locating that golden gene and seeing it if is mutable. Even if they do I think of the joke of the patient who sees his doctor. He asks advice so as to live as long as possible. The doctor advised him to give up sex, alcohol, rich food and his fast car. “Does that all mean I will reach 80, doctor ? “No” he replied “but it will seem like it.”