A little while back, I wrote about how easy it is to give up smoking. Turns out it's so very easy that I've done it twice now and I'm considering doing it again. In the meantime, I have been cheered by the heartening announcement that eating chocolate reduces your risk of having a stroke by 37%. I eat a lot of chocolate, so this is very good news indeed, since smoking, most unreasonably, doubles the likelihood of something going Ping! in the brain. I'm catching up already. Inspired by this puzzlingly precise statistic (How do they know these things and how do you get to be a chocolate-eating guinea pig?), I decided to check out my chances elsewhere.
First of all, I was delighted to discover that half a glass of red wine a day can add five years to your life. Well, my daily dose is about twelve times that amount, so that's another sixty years whacked onto my three-score-and-ten right away (What do you mean, it doesn't work like that? Don't be simple. I know what I know), and we haven't even started on the onerous stuff, like exercise. Apparently, a daily fifteen minute work out adds three years to your life. I walk for a couple of hours every day, swim for an hour every week, and cycle for four or five hours every other week, which gives me at least another twenty-four years to play around with. It also staves off Alzheimer's. I read that somewhere. Can't remember where. Anyway, reading stuff and learning stuff adds two years, and seeing as how I started out in a state of such unfathomable ignorance that I am subjected to a constant stream of startling new knowledge, I reckon I can factor them in, too. At this rate, I'm in danger of becoming the oldest man in the world.
Oh dear, oh dear. Now where's my tobacco . . . .
Being overweight is bad all round, but no matter how much beer I knock back, I never seem to achieve anything more than a couple of modest love-handles, and they're helpful for the horizontal calorie burning, which chips in with another three to five years, in preparation for which I floss my teeth (good for an additional six years - don't ask me, I don't know why). Admittedly, I don't floss my teeth before every bout of sheet-rumpling, generally only when I've eaten meat (a habit that deducts four years), which is comparatively rare since our diet (our diet = coupled = plus 10 years) is based on fish (+ 2.7 years) and vegetables (another six years), among them a lot of salads (two years).
Holidays add a couple of years, which is a bit of a poser since I never take holidays, but then that's because I spend my life doing what I'd do in my holidays anyway (please append whatever seems appropriate). What's more, I'm not governed by the alarm clock and can sleep all I need (add five years). Living somewhere with a good view ups life expectancy by two years and I've always engineered that for aesthetic purposes, much as I have avoided noisy places (plus one). Living with clutter takes a year off, which doesn't bother me, since I'm so anal retentive that even the dogs are obliged to sit in a straight line, dogs that, incidentally, will add another two years to my lifespan - make that four years, I live with two of them.
So what about the bad news? Well, a large social network gives you an extra seven years and I'm far too dubious about humankind to go in for that sort of thing, generally preferring to sit in a room and tell myself stories. A positive outlook on the aging process also adds seven years, which scuppers me, since getting old doesn't look terribly handy to me. Low self-esteem doesn't help either and I've got that in spades. No religious faith (lose seven years). And I'm not a woman, which is pretty damning as that knocks ten years off the total.
Nonetheless, I've got a nasty feeling I'm going to live for about five hundred years. Frankly, the two to eight knocked off by smoking hardly count at all. I think I've got to take up more bad habits. It's all very well wafting your glass of rouge about, tucking into the chocolate basted mackerel, then leaving the dog to listen to the music of the spheres and admire the magnificent vista from your unfeasibly tidy living room, while you trot upstairs on your well muscled walker's legs to floss the teeth, flash the flat tummy, hop into the bed from which you're not going to be summoned at some unseemly hour, and make whoopee while the wife recites uplifting sentiments and fascinating facts from volumes of improving literature, but you don't want to outstay your welcome.
Black pudding tonight. That should help. Lashings of butter on the spuds. I can feel a heart murmur coming on already.
(Longevity -or 'shortevity' as a friend who read a draft of this blog dubbed it- is getting tiresome. I'm off to the mountains for a month or two to see if I can't curtail -or possibly protract- things a bit. I'll be camping out. Eating a lot of pasta. Same friend sent me an article about how carbohydrates make you happy. Another serendipitous discovery. )
Causes Charles Davis Supports
Oxfam, Amnesty International, Greenpeace