Friday, 14 November 2008


A pop-up ad on my Tiscali mail page reads:


And I'm sure there are plenty of takers in this crazy world who would put a bristling pair of new boobs on their wish-list for Christmas. (Credit crunch? what credit crunch?) Even as I write, the Tonight programme on ITV is running an investigation into those creepy-looking, pill-popping cranks who think it's their inalienable right to live to be 150. One anal-fixated, middle-aged male argues, in defence of the fifty plus supplements per day he's been taking for twenty years, that he aims to avoid 'the diseases of old age'. Is the unspoken one, the one that dare not say its name, a disease of old age? Try telling that to six year old with leukaemia or a twenty two year old with breast cancer and a two year old child to bring up.

Grotesque as they are, I feel mildly sorry for these cock-eyed opitimists who think cosmetic surgery can fix their lives. And what sort of life is one in which you feel obliged to 'restrict your calorie intake' (although the quack who came up with that popped his clogs at the not so ripe old age of 79) or spend your earnings on shed-loads of quackery? Imagine a society like that - a collection of grotesques in which old age doesn't begin untill you're ninety. I'm all for medicine fixing the body (it's fixing mine!), but not beyond its alloted span; and we would all do well to remember that the longterm tally for that is threescore years and ten. It's surely what we do in those alloted years that counts; but I guess I am giving this an unaccebtably moral overtone. Sad though, I think, that those eternal youth-seekers, fixated on 'eternal life', quite fail to see beyond the limitations of this world. It's materialism gone crazy - like a cancer.

The truth is, we are all dealt a certain hand. Some of us get cancer. Some of us don't live to get it because we die in road accidents or are murdered in the cradle by our parents. Do we ever get the breasts we want? The legs we want? The face we want? The height/weight/hair (curly or straight) we want? And when we pay to get what we think we want, we end up wanting something else entirely. That is, of course, those of us who can make those choices. (Credit crunch....what credit crunch?) If NHS funding for cancer care is the postcode lottery it is purported to be (though I haven't found it to be so here in my case....yet), and it came to the choice between spending money on breast reconstruction or some risky new life-prolonging chemo treatment, I think the choice is pretty obvious. In such a case, you'd get the breasts you want (for now, perhaps), but someone, somewhere would surely be paying later.

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