Tuesday, March 29, 2005

This may get a little didactic -- not my style -- but perhaps the timing is right, with Terry Schiavo and all the talk about health issues. Maybe this has nothing to do with any of that. I’m just gonna say it anyway.

People, take care of yourselves. Of course, don’t do drugs or abuse alcohol. You know that.

But also, don’t fucking smoke. Eat right. Get some exercise. Stay healthy. Oh yeah, and… DON’T FUCKING SMOKE.

I’m not directing this at anyone in particular, but I can imagine the response: "Hey, Mike, mind your own business," someone might tell me. "I’ll do what I want. It’s my life."

That’s what I thought, too.

When I was a kid, I told my parents not to smoke. Showed them all the stats and photos of diseased lungs. Threw away their cigarettes. All it did was get them pissed off -- dammit, kid, get in the way of their nicotine fix one more time and we’ll see whose butt’ll get snubbed out. I could soon see I wasn’t gonna get them to quit; I was just giving myself aggravation, too. Hell with it, I decided. I’ll move out of this second-hand smoke-infested house soon enough and it won’t be my problem anymore.

Jump ahead 20something years. My mother is paralyzed, and somewhat mentally challenged, considering she lost a third of her brain to a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 63. My father died of a heart attack a year later. Maybe other factors contributed to this, but it’s not like puffing away on those coffin-nails for 40 years helped.

And guess whose problem it is now. Me and my sister have to take care of our mother and elderly grandmother, who used to be my parents’ responsibility.

I’m not mad at them for not listening to me; I just learned a lesson from all this. It’s why I try to be diligent about exercise and eating right, and get myself checked out thoroughly each year, considering the heart condition that runs in my family.

Hey, I could still get sick. I could also get hit by a runaway bus or squashed by a falling piano. And I won’t live my life in fear -- I’ll indulge in fattening foods, go out drinking now and then, sometimes I even sit too close to the TV -- but overall, if I can avoid obvious long-term health hazards… ounce of prevention…

Yeah, it’s your life. But you know what? It’s not just your life. Other people care about you -- even other bloggers -- and if something happens to you, we’re all affected.

We’re all gonna die someday. But why not postpone it? Do what you can to be healthy. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your family. And if you won’t do it for them… hell, do it for me.


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