The odds on my dying horribly are shortening fast

Share
Related Topics
Whenever BSE is mentioned, people insist on reminding you that you could get run over by a bus tomorrow. A cheering thought perhaps, but totally illogical. The point about eating meat that might give you CJD, taking a pill that might give you breast cancer, getting your teeth filled with amalgam which leaks mercury into your head (or for that matter, having a dental X-ray), is that these risks are in addition to the risk of being run over by a bus. One risk doesn't rule out another.

In fact, you need only to subject yourself to a million million-to-one risks, and you'll probably die some horrible death! It is therefore vital to keep an eye on how the risks are mounting up.

As for being run over, I think the risks inflicted by bad drivers on fellow road-users - the chances other people take with our lives - are most unreasonable. Tolstoy's general view of the human condition describes the phenomenon well: "At first, it seems to him that he is truly alive, and he alone. The life of other beings seems ... merely the semblance of life [while he] considers his own life alone of importance, and real." (Life, 1889).

Tolstoy went on to suggest universal self-abnegation as the only answer. But this is not what happens on the streets. There, it's each man for himself, and drivers who seem to think your life, and whatever appointment it is they're trying to get to, are roughly equivalent in importance. They are not. My life is worth at least two appointments.

Compensate the gun-owners? Are we really expected to pity gun-owners for the loss of their objectionable hobby? A friend of mine has a great solution: Major could buy them each a star with their name on it.

A Tory MP this week accused the Dunblane parents of being "far too hysterical". Just what amount of hysteria would seem appropriate? The Government has proved itself not "hysterical" enough. It's the law that failed those children. Hamilton was given the benefit of the doubt again and again by people paid to protect us. And then Douglas McMurdo, who renewed Hamilton's gun licence, has the nerve to say he still thinks he did the right thing. "And I am right. And you are right. And all is right as right can be!"

No one is ever to blame for anything. The Coal Board in Aberfan shamelessly denied responsibility; bus drivers who fall asleep at the wheel deny they caused the accident; even the geneticist who let loose swarms of African killer bees in Brazil (now invading North America) has more or less forgiven himself, despite the rising death toll.

All we want to hear is a faint "mea culpa", and then we'd (probably) pity them.

Would you trust a guy who named his daughter Nigella? It's worse than Fifi-Trixibelle. But we're expected to believe that Nigel Lawson's diet (unlike every other diet) works. He appears to be living proof: half the man he was and like all other dieters, talks of nothing but food.

He's everywhere! (Amazing how quickly you can get about if you're lean.) Even game for a bruising encounter with Clive Anderson. Jeez, it's not as if he'd solved the economy or anything. Must we really applaud him for forgoing his whisky and eating up his greens?

(I have not yet forgiven Nigella for eating, and reviewing, a pounds 75 dish of pig's trotters at the height of the recession. Her favourite meal. What a family.)

Nigel comes from a fast-expanding bunch of diminished celebs who've managed to get thin by putting someone else in total charge of what they eat - it's really a return to babyhood. Oprah Winfrey left her cook to deal with her diet, and Nigel depends upon his second wife, Therese. We'd all lose weight if we had a Therese to worry about the matter for us all day. There she is poking away at the vegetable patch trying to grow rocket, liquidising vegetables and stock to make proto-gravy, scattering salads with "judicious portions of crunchy seeds..."

The Nigel Lawson Diet Book is dedicated to Therese, "without whom [it] could not have been written". This is rather a bold understatement, since Therese not only cooked all of it, but wrote half of it. How adoringly she delineates his breakfast: "He has the same every day - poached eggs on toast (I bought him a two-egg poaching pan) and grapefruit juice. It takes two minutes to make the juice from two fruits, either with one of those cheap electric squeezers or in the manual, compressing one ... Guests sometimes like large platters of peeled or sliced fresh fruit..." Surely such abject devotion deserves greater reward.

According to Susie Orbach, fatness in women is a rebellion against a misogynist society. But it still must go. Fat is a Feminist Issue never says that fat women might actually be acceptable. Yet plumpness, until quite recently, was regarded as quite an amiable feminine characteristic. (And the health risks are much exaggerated; you have to be very plump for it to matter.)

Unlike Nigel Lawson, I hate people commenting on my weight. Is it really anyone else's business? And, by commenting, they imply that they have been doing a series of clandestine checks on my various incarnations.

Perversely, I respond to praise I might receive for looking thinner by wanting to stuff myself. But maybe it's the people constantly weighing you up who should go stuff themselves.

MYSTERIES of Our Times:

1 The resemblance of the Bishop of Argyll to Harold Pinter.

2 Jerry Hall's visit to Anthony Julius. Was it to discuss divorce or TS Eliot?

3 Why all television weather women are skinny.

4 Why some people still seem to think the statement, "You don't look Jewish!" is a compliment.

5 Why sheep get along so well.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The law is too hard on sexting teenagers

Memphis Barker
 

Obama must speak out – Americans are worried no one is listening to them

David Usborne
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game