Sunday, 5 February 2006


Some time ago I seriously told someone that the days of C8H10N4O2 as a widely available, legal drug were numbered. Many of us use it daily, frequently in large amounts, but its use is becoming proscribed.

It's the "Salami Principle" - taking a little at a time until you have everything (or nothing).

When I was young cars were far fewer, the motorways had no speed limits and seatbelts were rarely fitted much less used. The cars also had little in terms of safety equipment, the braking available in most family saloons was roughly as effective as opening the doors at speed and letting the increased drag slow the vehicle. The chassis and bodywork didn't have today's crumple zones and had unpredictable deformation characteristics and the overall strength, when two cars bashed together, of a damp tissue. Motorcycles were similarly built - before Brembo braking and on early Japanese tyres a few drops of rain made riding a Triumph Trident or a Ducati Le Mans a test of skill, balance and determination and could cause no end of problems in the underwear department. Of course now we have cars capable of cruising at 120 MPH on roads limited to 70 MPH. Cars and bikes have braking systems which make stopping happen rather than the old "slam it down and pray" process. Tyre technology means that even the worst driver in the world should be able to get a car round a tight corner, in the rain, without losing control and the side-impact, front-impact, rear-impact protection, allied to more airbags than the Montgolfier brothers would have dreamt of, means that people walk away from accidents that would have killed drivers 30 or 40 years ago. And we have to wear seatbelts as soon as we start the car.

In the 1940s and 1950s most doctors smoked. Now any admission to partaking of nicotine is, at best, frowned upon (rightly because the medical evidence has progressed but stick with me). I won't mention booze, we all know about the public campaign against its use. Salt is a baddie too - food manufacturers are highlighting salt content of processed foods and we now know that there are "good" fats and "bad" fats.

Yesterday two manufacturers of chocolate announced that they will be printing health warnings on their products. Chocolate, when abused, is bad for us - we all know that but it seems we need reminding!

I have no doubt that as a result of all this legislation coming generations will live longer, more productive lives and the daily ingestion of all these bad things will go the way of the opiates that William Blake, et al used and which, possibly, led to pieces as powerful as the words to "Jerusalem". But I think we should be careful what we wish for - reading, particularly from compter screens can damage the eyes. Radiation, we are bathed in it daily from the sun, causes all sorts of problems. Where will it end?

The drug I started with? Caffeine - it's already under threat and coffee and tea manufacturers already offer decaff/lowcaff but in the words of a man killed by Aids and a prolific drug and alcohol user "Who wants to live forever?"

6 careful considerations:

Rob Spence said...

I expect Freddie would have wanted to live a bit longer...

Carrie said...

I definitely agree about who wants to live longer. If it's no fun, what the heck is the point?

Besides, they keep telling us to live longer, ignoring the fact that healthcare worldwide is under serious threat. So you can live to 90 or 100 or longer, but if you can't afford your home because you need minor medications for age related treatments, you're living in a cardboard box on the street. Nope, I'm hoping I kick longgggg before that.

kat said...

I don't think the chocolate is bad for you. It's the sugar they put in it that's the problem. As I don't put sugar in my coffee or on cereal etc and I don't eat cakes or biscuits, I can have all my sugar allowance in the form of chocolate bars. I don't put salt in or on anything either so maybe I can get away with a little extra sugar but only in the form of chocolate bars. Also I have de-caf coffee so that's another little plus which might entitle me to another chocolate bar.
They can put as many warnings on it as they want. I think it's a good idea but it won't affect me.

Nogbad said...

I'm sure you're right Rob - but I doubt he'd have changed his lifestyle much :-)

Mouse! You're posting as you and not Mouse! :-) Healthcare is certainly under threat but we still have the NHS in the UK and most age related care is still reasonably affordable but your principle remains true. On a slightly different tack - we're worried about chocolate in the west while people don't have clean water in other parts of the world????

Kat - I don't take sugar in tea or coffee, I don't eat cereals. I also have decaff coffee but won't drink the muck, I bought it by mistake. Can I have another glass of wine now? :-)

Echo Mouse said...

Sorry about that Nog. I have a hard time sorting my blogs when commenting. I'll get used to it soon I hope.

Chocolate or Water...well, true, we definitely have our priorities a bit screwy. But for me, given the choice, I'd have to go with chocolate. It may kill me but at this point, really, do I care?? lol ;) (just kidding. my illness has been kicking my butt lately.)

Nogbad said...

You be who you want to be Mouse :-)