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Merry Christmas, Crassmas or Crossmas!

However you foresee the forthcoming so-called festive season, whether as a sacred celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, a sordid sellebration of commercialism at its most crass, or as such an unholy combination of both as to make you totally cross, here’s wishing you the merriest one possible.

It is, after all, supposed to be an occasion for peace and goodwill to all. And not just to all those we love or like, but even more especially to all those we loathe, including, in my case, those bigots in Brunei and probably elsewhere who consider Christmas so objectionable as to ban it.

An observation that brings me to one of my core reasons for being cross about Christmas in particular and Christianity in general.

And that’s the fact that, as I’ve very frequently been moved to write, a vast majority of the self-styled ‘faithful’of this and of course of all rival religions not only fail but outright refuse to live up to the ideas or ideals they claim to believe in.

Indeed, a great many self-styled ‘Christians’ have so deviated from the original ideas and ideals that the New Testament alleges that Jesus Christ advocated, like humility, charity, compassion and of course contempt for mere worldly wealth, as to justify entirely opposite principles and practices.

Thus the current Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, for example, can piously call on his ‘Pentecostal Christian’ belief that earthly prosperity is a sign that a person is ‘chosen’ for heavenly salvation as a pretext on which to provide ‘wealthfare’ to the greedy, and begrudge welfare to the needy.

Or, in other words, to further enrich the already affluent, and to further impoverish the poor, unemployed and others that he clearly perceives as the effluent.

And, far from demonstrating a Christian love of his enemies, Morrison hates them so much as to revile his parliamentary opponents at every opportunity, and to punish perceived media and scientific critics like the ABC and CSIRO by cutting their funding.

Then there’s the fact that he evidently so wildly (mis)interprets the well-known Biblical claim that ‘the truth shall set you free’ as somehow giving him the liberty to lie every time it suits his purposes.

One of his principle purposes being rejection of belief of the overwhelming scientific and anecdotal evidence that global warming threatens to make life on earth decidedly hellish, if not ultimately impossible.

An exercise in scepticism that is particularly paradoxical in light of his unshakable ‘faith’ in such concepts as a ‘supreme being’ and some sect with a set of related religious fantasies for which there is, never was and never will be the slightest shred of evidence of any kind whatever.

By this point in my discussion of Christmas/Crassmas/Crossmas, discerning readers will have realised that I’m far from Christian in my attitude to Scott Morrison and other con as in conservative polieticians and politricksters in Australia and much of the rest of the world.

From complete clownservatives like Donald Trump and the laughable newly re-elected UK PM, Boris Johnson to born-again conservative Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, who recently tried to con the UN that the government of which she’s the figurehead was innocent of genocidal intentions toward the Rohingya.

And not to forget Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, whose nepotism on behalf of his offspring has long been and remains so extreme as to exemplify what can justly be termed kinservatism.

As unChristian of me as it is, I have to admit to wish all the above-mentioned and similar scum of the earth a myrrhy rather than merry Christmas, and a crappy rather than happy New Year.

But as cynical as I may be about Christmas for a good many reasons, I have no wish to turn Christmas into a Christmess for all the kids who are so naively looking forward to the feast of the Nativity.

I’m inclined to remind them again, however, as I did in a long-ago column called ‘Christmas jeer’, of the danger of sooner or later suffering the let-down of discovering that there’s nothing by unholy folly behind the holly; that Santa’s just commerce with its claws in people’s pockets; that Christmas is a good deal more likely to be trite than white; and it’ll be a miracle if all the adults don’t get tight and fight.

And, into a bad bargain, as  I finished way back  by warning the kids’ parents about the so-called Yuletide Season, “ Yule be sorry, more like it, when the credit card bills come due.”

But hey, here’s wishing you a merry one anyway, whether you intend celebrating Christmas, sellebrating Crassmas or, like me and my immediate family, feeling so Crossmas about the whole thing as to give it a total Christmiss.

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My last will..and won’t.

With my 77th birthday coming up in 3 weeks, I’m more conscious than ever that, even if my doctors eventually fail in their untiring efforts to diagnose me with some deadly disease, I’m running out of time and energy to will myself to live however well and long I’d like to.

And thus I should get started without further delay on possibly the most difficult piece of writing I’ve ever done, namely my Last Will and Testament.

But first I have to overcome what threatens to be terminal writer’s block on this topic, and this is going to be a tough task. For several reasons, ranging from the literary through the pecuniary to the personal.

Starting with the literary, I find it impossible to imagine my being able, with the best will in the world, to come up with a set of legally-binding last words that would even come close to the standard that some of my predecessors have set in this regard.

For example, how could I possibly hope, or even, for that matter, want to will myself to achieve the degree of cynicism achieved by Francois Rabelais (c. 1494-1553), great writer of vulgar and obscene satires on society at large and religion in particular, whose final testament consisted entirely of the statement that “I have nothing, owe a great deal, and the rest I leave to the poor.”

Or, for that matter, how could I summon-up a message so maliciously specific as the one French revolutionary philosopher Denis Diderot penned for posterity in the last paragraph of his will, to wit: “And the last and most earnest of my desires is that the last aristocrat be strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

My personal list of stranglers and stranglees would be so comparatively long, if not endless, and even then probably incomplete, as to rob Diderot’s curse of its brutally-precise impact.

Similarly, if I was to try and replicate Rabelais’s effort, I’d entirely rob it of its supremely pithy if not outright pissy impact by modifying it sufficiently as to reflect my true situation.

And let’s face it, a declaration that “I have nothing except (list), owe not very much at all, and the rest I leave to my poor (in the sense of put-upon rather than penurious)family-members and friends” would lack a good deal of the Rabelaisian version’s deadly impact.

And to make matters worse, any attempt on my part to plagiarise  Rabelais, Diderot or any other immortals would be fatal to my lifelong ambition to remembered for achieving at least some slight degree of originality.

At least I can console myself, as I will myself to think and write here about what I have that’s worth willing, and to whom, that, unlike the unfortunate Mexican revolutionary hero, Pancho Villa, I’ve ensured that I have at least a verbal legacy to leave.

My last words, as I think of them, and as represented by this series of blog-posts I’ve penned over the past few months, may or may not be deathless prose as far as quality goes, but they’re as sure as hell in evidence quantity-wise.

Whereas, Villa, very sadly, found himself so lost for words when he was dying after being riddled with bullets in an ambush by his political enemies, that all he was able to say to his compadres to pass-on to his supporters was “tell them I said something.”

As for myself, I’ve probably said, or rather written, far more than posterity could possibly be expected to read, let alone heed.

But at least this mercifully brief think-piece has helped me make a start on framing my will, and I hope given me the impetus to continue with this vital pre-mortem project.

While I’ve still some work to do on my will, however, I’m pretty sure what my won’t will be. I won’t be around post-mortem to be prayed to or for, or to keep a watch from above over loved-ones living after me down here on earth, or to await their eventual arrival to accompany me through all eternity in some heaven or hades, because all that ‘immortality of the soul’ stuff so widely advertised by religions is clearly nothing but a stupid scam.

Unfortunately this also means that I won’t be around in ghostly form to haunt all the ghastly people on my aforementioned strangling list, but that’s life, or rather death, I guess.

As for my earthly immortality, that’s a matter of survivors’ memories, the genes that, for good or ill, I’ve bequeathed to my descendants, and of course the indestructibility of the atoms of which I’m currently composed.

The same atoms of which I’m once again reminded that I’m destined with deadly certainty to be all-too-soon decomposed, and thus that I’d better get a move-on with composing the dreaded document while I’m still of sufficiently sound mind, wind and limb to do so, and persuading a suitably pliant pair of people to bear witness to what I will and won’t want to happen when I’ve went.

 

 

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Waiting-room ruminations.

Having long presumed that when I seek medical attention I’m called a ‘patient’ because that’s what I’d have to be to endure the usually seemingly endless wait to be seen by a nurse, doctor or some other appropriate professional, in my own mind I’ve felt far more like an ‘impatient’.

But lately, having spent or rather wasted so much time in so many waiting rooms full of fellow apparent impatients, I’ve started to realise the folly of forever figuratively dying for my turn to finally come, as with every passing tick or flick of the clock this wish gets closer to becoming all-too-literally and terminally true.

So that now, finally and I fear far too late, rather than wasting my waiting-room time impatiently wishing it would pass faster or completely away, I’ve taken to using it wisely to wonder, with all due patience, why I’ve so witlessly frittered-away so much of my life in taking the gift of the present for granted, and longing for some possibly fanciful future.

Or, in other words, why I’ve so frequently failed to properly appreciate and enjoy the experience of the real‘now’ in my eagerness to anticipate some uncertain ‘next’.

In retrospect it seems to me that all the way since my nine-month confinement in the waiting-womb until now that I’ve attained an age at which I’ve increasingly little left to await but my doom and tomb, there’s been something or other that I felt I ‘couldn’t wait’ to do, become or achieve, but was condemned to wait for anyway.

And that seems to be the case with all or at least most of us. From the time that we’re foetuses increasingly bursting to be free; infants wailing for our next feeds; toddlers striving to walk, talk and throwing tantrums in frustrated bids for independence; to later life-stage ambitions to date, mate, graduate, career-create, procreate and eventual longings to retire and do nothing but eat, sleep and vegetate, we tend to be too busy looking forward to an often illusory future to savour the here and now.

In short, the vast majority of us are patients, or rather impatients, or sufferers of the ‘can’t wait/must wait’ syndrome, whenever and wherever it can afflict us, from dreaded doctors’ or dentists’ waiting rooms to infuriating rush-hour transport queues and traffic jams to working days or weeks so dreary and wearying that we wish they were over, or during unduly long waits for holidays or seasonal festivities .

Speaking of which, save for inhabitants of Brunei, where I understand it is banned for reasons of religious bigotry, Christmas is almost upon us, with New Year not far behind, and real life is accordingly about to become irrelevant in expectation of all the attendant excitement.

Though whether in the occurrence of these actual events, as of course especially applies to Santa-Claus-obsessed kids, or the relief of their shortly being over, as most certainly applies in the case of my own family, as my wife and I both turn a year older during the so-called festive season, and my daughter likewise not long after, is a matter of personal preference.

But either way proves my point. One way or another, several weeks of everybody’s lifetimes are wasted as in the sense of intoxication or over-expenditure or both, or else wished away by grinches, scrooges and party-poopers like me and others of my ilk.

Even more miserable for me personally is the fact that, as he informed me the other day, my chief specialist is going on holiday and thus I don’t even have my waiting-room ruminations to look forward to.

I console myself, however, that I will also be spared such standard waiting-room distractions as screens displaying televacuous programs and heaps of ‘magazines’ so infested with celebrity gossip and other such pathological alleged ‘journalism’ as to constitute patient-infecting germalism.

But no worries. Now I’ve made my resolution to cure myself of my almost lifelong and seriously life-sapping case of impatience, I’m determined to enjoy such favourite activities as ruminating and writing right here at home or in one of my favourite cafes until waiting rooms at Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital open again.

And thus I can once again demonstrate how radically I’ve transformed myself from a chronic impatient into such a perfect paragon of patient patience as to be almost worth patenting.

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Back in the good books.

It might come as a surprise to regular readers that, however many positive mentions I give my wife in my writings, I occasionally find myself in her bad books. But the truth is that for months now she’s been giving me increasingly black looks about my…books.

It’s been not so much the sheer volume of the things, as she arguably has a bigger hoard of them than I have. But hers are mostly text- and reference-books, and thus classified as useful if not indispensible.

And in any case, aside from the teetering stack of them employed for the purpose of raising the rabbit’s-ears television aerial high enough to get a reasonably stable signal in our living-room, they’re more or less neatly if somewhat dustily packed on their designated shelves.

Books deemed to be mine, however, are entirely another matter.

Or have been until very recently, as even I have to admit they’ve been accumulating at such an alarming rate as to overflow the in any case laughably-inadequate amount of shelf-space allotted them.

At first I assumed that it was the sheer quantity of the things that was getting me into the spousal bad books, and imagined that I could worm my way back into favour by not only buying less of them, but also by passing them on to friends or leaving in street libraries for strangers.

But, strangely, as I soon discovered, such sacrifices failed to produce the desired results, and eventually I had to ask my long-suffering but far-from-stoical spouse what precisely it was about my books that was causing her to go so crook.

That was when she informed me, chapter and verse, for better or worse, that the problem was my persistent failure, indeed apparent refusal, to go by the the book and shelve the [expletive deleted] things properly.

Instead of leaving big, ugly gaps between the tomes that were supposed to stand upright in orderly fashion, and heaping others in front of them horizontally and apparently at random, so the whole effect was an unsightly shambles.

There were also hints, and by no means subtle ones, that failure to fix this situation might lead to my having the book thrown at me in some unspecified but surely sinister fashion.

So there was nothing for it, I realised, to finally book myself some time-out from my writing to brush-up on the looks of my books, or, in other words, to start heeding that I was needing do some way-overdue weeding of my fast-breeding collection of reading, or find myself figuratively if not literally bleeding.

And, having thus been brought to book, I’ve been delighted to find myself at least somewhat succeeding.

After a day of solid hard labour on my part, the shelves of my allotted book-cases are now so neat and tidy that they’d gladden a book-keeper’s heart.

Though admittedly I’m cooking the books a bit in my favour here, as they may well appear orderly but they’re not yet in order by size, colour, author, subject, date of publication or any other system of arrangement.

And also there appear to be a few dozen over. But at least I seem to have wormed my way back into my wife’s good books with my efforts thus far.

Though of course, like every other wife, she’s so sharp-eyed and quick-witted in every respect except in her spousal selection, and thus I wouldn’t make book on my chances of keeping things this way if I fail to finish getting my books looking good, for once and for fooking all.

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Going for the doctor.

As every reader sufficiently familiar with English or Australian vernacular idiom or slang will know, the above expression means not, as it might literally appear, seeking the services of a medical practitioner, but figuratively going flat-out in terms of speed or full-on in terms of effort, or both.

And anybody who’s familiar with my wife will be additionally aware that it aptly describes the passionate way she goes about living her life.

Figuratively or metaphorically going for the doctor in everything she does, from mothering our darling daughter and performing domestic tasks like shopping, cooking and sewing through pursuing such leisures and pleasures as reading, yoga, swimming and sex, to slaving away at tutoring university students or studying, researching and writing towards her goal of a doctorate.

Which she finally achieved just the other day, I’m delighted to say, when her thesis finally received its official academic approval and thus she became a PhD or Doctor of Philosophy in Government and International Relations.

Typically, however, she spent very little time indeed enjoying family’s and friends’ congratulations before starting to go for the doctor all over again on a set of new projects.

So I thought I’d spend a little time and effort in contemplating and celebrating her achievement on her behalf, in the only way in which I’m most accustomed if not qualified to, which is by doing  it in writing.

Starting with making the point that, by becoming a PhD by dint of arduous academic effort, my wife is now more highly qualified than one of my most inspirational idols or icons, Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).

Too poor to attend Oxford university long enough to achieve a degree, let alone two undergraduate and a master’s degree as my wife did at various Australian tertiary institutions before embarking on her PhD, Johnson was eventually awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of his astonishing range of literary achievements, the most abidingly famous of which has been his monumental Dictionary of the English Language.

I so admire Johnson for achieving such eminence despite lifelong afflictions including a decidedly odd appearance and manner, bouts of black depression and despair, and what may have been either Tourette Syndrome or obsessive-compulsive disorder, that whenever I visit London I make a pilgrimage to one of the houses he inhabited, in Gough Square, just off Fleet, and to the endearing statue of him typically engrossed in a book outside the church of St clement Danes in The Strand.

My wife, however, doesn’t aspire to fame. In fact she even shrinks from the very thought of being referred to as ‘doctor’. And not only, I suspect, by virtue of her horror of the kind of self-pride and pomposity that spurs some PhDs, most notably to my mind the notorious US war criminal and former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, to flaunt the title, but also to avoid being caught up in the confusion surrounding it.

Confusion arising from the fact that, in common parlance, the title ‘doctor’ means a practitioner of medicine, be it of the human or veterinary variety, and also, increasingly, of dentistry.

Whereas in academic circles, a doctorate in any branch of medicine, science, the arts or whatever else is a far higher qualification than the bachelor degree that the vast majority of doctors, vets or dentists actually have.

A further dimension of confusion is added to this when one considers that the term doctor can be decidedly ambiguous. For example, while on the one hand it can signify benevolent healer, as in ‘family doctor’, or ‘doctors without borders’ or even, if you like, ‘Dr Who’, on the other it can signal sinister malevolence, as in the case of Dr. Frankenstein or the Nazi ‘Dr. Death’, Josef Mengele.

And especially ambiguous in the Malaysian context is Dr Mahathir Mohamad, born-again prime Minister of the nation at the age of 90+, and as such revered by some as responsible for the alleged health and wealth of the modern-day version of his nation; and equally if not more reviled by others as an evil doctator who personifies the nepotism, corruption, racism, religionism and other political and social diseases that are forever sapping the country’s strength, if not threatening its very survival.

Another pertinent point to make about not just the title but the very word doctor, is that it often has a negative connotation, as in, for example, the derogatory term ‘spin-doctor’ for a professional manipulator of the truth, if not purveyor of lies.

And similarly, it is deemed undesirable, at the very least, to doctor anything from some unsuspecting person’s drink to the evidence of an alleged criminal’s innocence or guilt.

Small wonder, then, that in light of all the potential confusion and even controversy surrounding the title or term ‘doctor’ that my wife, having gone for the doctor for years to earn it, prefers to be known by her plain, existing name.

Just as, come to think of it, qualified medical doctor W. Somerset Maugham preferred to practice writing and achieve wealth and fame as an author, and specialist ophthalmologist Arthur Conan Doyle turned from treating patients whose eyes were somehow defective to creating the great detective, Sherlock Holmes.

All of the aforesaid notwithstanding, however, I find I can’t cure myself of the urge to go for the doctor as hard as I can in the cause of giving due credit to my wife for going for the doctor with so much determination and for so many years as to receive her richly-deserved doctorate.

And also expressing my gratitude to her, for the honour she conferred on me along the way by granting me the privilege of serving as copy-doctor, or, in other words, proof-reader and editor, of her now completed, accepted and soon-to-be published doctoral thesis.

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Shit life, short life.

One of the key indicators that a nation is ‘developed’ is that its citizens can expect to live increasingly longer. But in the US and UK, in stark contrast to many other rich countries, life expectancies have not only stopped lengthening, but have actually started shortening, apparently as a result of what US doctors call ‘shit-life syndrome’.

As Observer journalist Will Hutton wrote recently, this syndrome is most endemic among low socio-economic working-age people who are “locked in a cycle of poverty and neglect amid wider affluence.”

Ill-educated, ill-trained, insecurely-employed or under-employed in minimally paid dead-end jobs, they are struggling to survive while their more prosperous compatriots continue to comparatively thrive.

In Baltimore, Maryland, for example, one of the US cities in which shit-life syndrome is taking an increasing toll in early deaths from suicide, drug-abuse, alcoholism and morbid obesity, the disparity between the life-spans of the poor and the prosperous if not outright rich has risen to 20 years.

And, as Hutton additionally reported in his Observer article, “within the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the difference in life expectancy of the richest and poorest is 16 years.”

I can’t be bothered finding-out what the comparative figures are for Australians condemned by circumstance to living shit lives, like a great many aboriginal people, people with disabilities, the under-employed and outright unemployed, but I’ll bet they’re just as dire as in the US and UK.

And even doubly so for those disadvantaged who beat the odds and fail to die early, because, as a royal commission into aged-care is currently revealing, life tends to become even shittier for the socially, educationally and economically disadvantaged as they get older.

One dire piece of evidence for this being that Australian women over the age of 65 are the fastest-growing group experiencing homelessness.

And, of course, hopelessness, because Australia, like the US and UK, is cursed with a conservative government that is ideologically committed to giving very short shrift indeed to people it chooses to perceive as life’s losers.

Conning as many of the populace as possible into accepting the fraudulent concept of so-called “trickle-down” economics to justify wealthfare for the affluent in the form of special tax-breaks and outright subsidies, while begrudging welfare to those they clearly despise as the effluent.

Or, in other words, privileging the greed over need, the rich over the rest, and privatisation or rather piratisation of as many profitable publicly-owned resources and services as possible, to the increasing enrichment of their supporters and cronies, and further impoverishment of the populace at large.

And into a very bad bargain for the sector of Australian society most susceptible to shit-life syndrome, the conservative con-artists in Canberra are now both raising the age at which people can receive the age pension and at the same time claiming that these unfortunates should keeping working longer.

When in fact, as everybody of my age knows to his or her cost, employers vastly prefer to hire younger, more energetic and more malleable workers than us old fogeys, and in any case there are not enough jobs – even the most mindless and miserably-paid of McJobs – to go around.

Not that I’m complaining on my own account here. I was fortunate to prosper greatly back in my advertising days, and I have nobody or nothing to blame but myself and my own improvidence for my current penury.

And thanks to the privileged education my parents generously gave me, and the unstinting support of every conceivable kind that I receive from my wife, son and daughter, I can continue living and loving my life as a writer without much fear of falling victim to the dreaded shit-life syndrome.

On the contrary, in fact, as I live in high hopes of surviving long enough to keep playing a part, however small, in helping my fellow citizens around the world, from the US to China, the UK to Malaysia and Australia, to not only cut the lives of shitty conservative governments short, but to get totally and permanently shot of them.

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One man’s meat..

That one man’s, or, more politically correctly, one person’s meat is another person’s poison, or, if you prefer, poisson, is painfully, indeed proverbially obvious. Or, as the great Sherlock Holmes might have put it, “alimentary, my dear Watson.”

But these days the eating of any species of flesh ranging from from fish through flocking and herding animals to fowl is considered foul by increasing numbers of nutrition nuts, fat-fighters, food faddists, health freaks, animal-rights activists and environmentalists.

So much so that I’m starting to feel like a mentalist myself for thus far failing or rather refusing to embrace some novel nutritional (newtritional?) ideology like vegetarianism, veganism, or even the one that I first heard of just the other day, freeganism.

This latest being the apparently rapidly-growing practice of sourcing food free of charge from locations where it would otherwise go to waste, like the dumpsters into which supermarkets discard produce that’s still perfectly safe and nutritious to eat, but has been deemed unsaleable for some retailing-related reason.

So that finally, the prospect of not only sparing animals pain, and assisting in saving the planet, but also stretching my family’s scarce economic resources into the bargain, has spurred me to chew-over my dietary practices with a view to possibly revising or even revolutionizing them.

But, having mentally masticated this matter for some time, I find that I’m far too set in my tastes to embrace veganism, even if combined with freeganism, at the price of abandoning such lifelong addictions as meat-and-two-veg-anism, BBQganism, stir-fryganism and even bacon-and-egganism.

Though admittedly, given that I’m more of a gormandizer, if not outright garbage-guts, than a gourmet, I probably wouldn’t notice the difference if you fed me meat made out of soy or any other meal instead of the flesh of some miserably mistreated and massacred animal.

And nor would I much care what species of aquatic, terrestrial or aerial animal I was eating a simulated soy or other vegetable version of, as I’m mercifully free of medical or religious dietary prohibitions and most cultural taboos beyond the one common to the vast majority of our species against cannibalising fellow humans.

Except, of course, in the metaphorically sexual sense, in which I have to admit that that I’ve long been an avid if not outright voracious vagitarian, or, if you prefer, cunnivore.

Such specialised tastes aside, however, I’ve never been one of those people who live to eat, but have always eaten to live, both physically and, perhaps ever more, mentally.

And when it comes to mental nutrition, I’m very selective indeed about what I consume. Thank goodness, or rather thank my father and my early teachers, I’ve always been a total bookworm.

Thus I’ve been fortunate to feed my mind mostly on written words, and thus not wasted too much of my time consuming television, which famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright so rightly described as “chewing-gum for the mind”, or other such mental junk-foods as computer gaming and, save in moderation, even Facebooking.

But as positive a preference and as insatiable an appetite I have for print when it comes to mental nutrition, I have to admit that much of it is very poor brain-food indeed, and some even outright poisonous.

Allegedly ‘holy’ books purporting to be ‘divinely’ inspired, for example, and other writings promoting so-called ‘supreme’ beings and their countless associated so-called ‘faiths’, all ferociously competing to be seen as the sole one capable of ‘saving’ its devotees’ imaginary ‘immortal’ souls.

Fortunately, however, I had such a mind-boggling amount of this kind of stuff metaphorically forced down my gullet back in my gullible childhood that I’ve thrown-up at the very thought of having to swallow such trash ever since.

And this overdose of so-called ‘sacred’ lies has also permanently turned my stomach against their profane equivalents, the perjuries and false promises spewed-out by spuriously pious politicians and their media propagandists.

In short, and in summmary, it seems to me that it’s entirely true that one person’s meat, meant in its old sense of food in general rather than flesh in particular, as in the expression ‘meat and drink’, truly is another’s poison. And thus it’s more vital than ever that, for the good of our bodies and the very survival of our minds, we ensure that the two never meet.

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