The odds on my dying horribly are shortening fast

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The Independent Online
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.