At the End of the Day

metoday3 We should not give too much respect to our medical authorities. Pretty much every one of their pronouncements suggest that they might be aliens at best, or not very good at interrogating their own findings at worst. The point of life is to enjoy it, not to extend the misery ad nauseam.


Last Friday, I read somewhere on the pan-galactic digital highway that – given the generally recommended 1.5 glasses of red wine a day for males – if you have 2.5 glasses, it will shorten your life by 20 minutes.

That’s not by 20 minutes every time you do it. Nope: the net result over 70 years will be twenty minutes all up.

I checked the source out, and trust me, it wasn’t the French Wine Marketing Association. This was being proffered as scientifically tested advice.

Now I ask you: is 20 minutes off your life a high price to pay for an extra glass of wine every day throughout adulthood?

The maths (or math if you’re American) of this is truly staggering. You can swill down 25,550 glasses of red laughing liquid between the ages of 20 and 90, and lose just 1200 seconds of your lifespan.

That’s only 16.1 seconds every 365 days. Choose carefully, and you could get away with losing that irritating Care in the Community looney on the bus every year.

And we’re not talking just the one glass here: in my long and diligently researched experience of alcohol, that third glass of wine after the first two at a supper party is the one that moves the experience on from polite banalities to the sort of veritas from which the best anecdotes are fashioned.

We are not designed to live forever. Drink the extra glass.


Another contemporary health obesession is that which deems cholestoral A Very Bad Thing. But hark: very low cholesterol levels, it now emerges, are associated with violence. According to Golomb and colleagues in their study of 79,777 patients, violent criminals had a much lower level of cholesterol than non-violent individuals. Low cholesterol is also associated with higher rates of suicide.

I am due to see my GP tomorrow for a routine renewal of my bi-monthy presciption drugs. I’m sorely tempted to tell the bloke that he should stop trying to reduce my cholesterol, on the grounds that if he does so, I may be forced to assault him and steal the more enlivening drugs he has in stock.

But I won’t. He’s Belgian, you see. They don’t do irony.


And here’s another brain factoid: your brain sees the world upside down. When the rods and cones of your retina send an image to the brain, the image that gets transmitted to the brain is upside down. The brain automatically rotates the image in its visual cortex. Babies learn to do this early on. It’s so automatic, we don’t know we’re doing it.

But some people – politicians, spin doctors, ideologues, police and Murdoch journalists – never grasp the Right Way Up thing: for them, black is always white, up is down, big is small, nasty is nice, a slight chill is Novichok and the British Constitution is Finchley Central.

The only cure for this tragic condition is to stand such people on their heads in large vats of Ambrosia creamed rice. After some 5-7 years, their brains will at last evolve sufficiently to see the world as it is. But as yet, nobody has come up with a way to stop the asphyxiation resulting from immersion in said creamed rice over such a long time period.

Not many scientists are involved in trying to solve this dilemma.


And finally, Heart attacks occur more often on Monday than any other day of the week. This finding comes from a European 10-year study which found Monday’s heart attack death toll is 20% higher than other days of the week.

European medical researchers from Altrincham to Zouche are at pains to understand why this might be. I’ve no idea why: anyone could tell them at the drop of a hat that weekends exist for the sole purpose of being a fantasy that insists Saturday and Sunday might just last forever.

The horror of waking up on Monday to discover that another week of truculent clients, pointless meetings, debates about the car fleet and office politics lies ahead is enough to give any sane human being a heart attack.

Sleep well tonight. Tomorrow will be Monday.