From WILLIAM EDELEN
The Contrary Minister (2002)
As usual, Mark Twain said it best: “There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and movable which has in any way a shady reputation. They pay this horrible price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry.”
The knee-jerk and hysterical people who are on a never ending crusade to sanitize our lives are not only boring, but lose their case by hyperbolic obsession. It is almost impossible today to read a magazine or newspaper without being overwhelmed by the latest news on what is bad for us to do, eat, drink or smoke. We are told to stay clear of fat, milk, ice cream, butter, cream, sugar, coffee, alcohol, tobacco, red meat, white meat, shell fish… the list would take up the rest of this entire article… of all that will destroy us. How I love that Julia Child, the great goddess of cooking, who uses real butter and real sugar and when asked the secret of her abundant health and energy in her mid-80s replied, “Red meat and gin.”
Perhaps I would change my habits for the better if only anyone was sure what “better” was, or is. I am told to “walk more” and yet Arnold Palmer who has walked 5 miles a day all of his adult life came down with prostate cancer. I would give up my wine at dinner, except that I remember “The French Paradox and the fact that Bertrand Russell sipped about a fifth of bourbon daily and was still strong and productive in his mid-90s, as was Winston Churchill, who not only sipped his bottle of brandy daily but went through a box of expensive cigars, daily.