It was about two o’clock in the morning and as usual I woke up, went downstairs, opened the refrigerator door and reached for a Greek yogurt. As I ripped off the cover, there was a stirring in the milk white nectar and a beautiful young woman dressed in a white gown emerged to confront me. “Who are you?” I gasped.
“Who do you expect from a Greek yogurt?” she replied tartly, “I am a Greek goddess. My name is Hebe and I have it in my power to make anyone of an advanced age young again. If you read Greek mythology, you will find my talents are well documented.”
“Well, I am going to test your powers,” I replied. Continue reading “New Birthdays for Old Men, Chapter 12 – Hebe: The Greek Goddess Works Her Magic” »
There have been three occasions in my life when my hair has caused me serious angst, the most worrying of which happened only recently. In retrospect, the first two incidents were nothing more than a combination of youthful vanity and ignorance. As a very small boy, I had a mass of strikingly colored curly hair which caused women to swoon, and to stop my mother or Aunt in the street and remark that I was a beautiful girl. When it was pointed out that I was actually male, these ladies would shake their heads in unapologetic sorrow and declare that my lovely golden curls were wasted on a boy.
A dozen years later, when I discovered that girls were actually pretty attractive, I went through a period where it was more important to leave the house with a comb in my pocket than to put shoes on my feet. For a brief pubescent period, I had the uncontrollable urge to check every strand of hair in every mirror, shop window, or reflective puddle of water to make sure that the follicles on my head were ready for inspection by any young woman that appeared on the horizon.
For the next 50 years I lost all interest in my hair, that is until last week. Continue reading “New Birthdays for Old Men, Chapter 11 – Bad Hair Birthdays” »
I felt lucky to be in London, England last week. I have been on a mission to improve my heart health and I had just taken an AngioDefender test which revealed a slight improvement in the fitness of my arteries. The score of 6.9% that I obtained confirmed that my efforts to lose weight were paying off. Although the measure of the health of my arteries had improved by a mere 0.1% in three months, I comforted myself in the knowledge that I was also working hard to reduce the stress in my life, and therefore, my risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Then, I walked into the British health system (NHS – National Health System) Innovation Expo 2013 and nearly had a heart attack.
Thousands of British doctors, nurses and health care professionals were gathering for a two-day conference, trying to figure out new ways to help people like you and me live longer and stay healthier at less cost. Everywhere in the vast hall at the London ExCel center experts were preaching the need for innovation. One example was employing the same internet and telephone technology that our kids currently use to communicate the fact that they have just changed their hair style or bought a new pair of distressed jeans, to helping older adults remain in their own homes.
The first exhibit I came across had some messages that could not have been more arresting if they had been tattooed onto a teenagers forehead. Continue reading “New Birthdays for Old Men, Chapter 10 – Do You Feel Lucky?” »
Fifty pelicans floated becalmed on the emerald green gulf coast water just fifty yards from the beach, then rose as one, big beaks tucked back into their bodies. They skimmed the surface of the water, circling high before folding their wings and dropping like stones on a shoal of fish. With their heads and necks stretched to the sky, they swallowed their breakfast.
“That was impressive,” I remarked to one of the pelicans who flew away from the pack to rest on a rock near me. ”No thanks to you humans,” said the brown bird sourly, “a few years back you nearly killed us off by spraying everything in sight with that chemical DDT.”
Not wishing to pick a fight on a beautiful morning in Naples, Florida, I attempted to change the subject. ”Well, we are all facing the same problem now,” I said. “Human food is poisoning us. One third of us are obese and our cholesterol levels are going through the roof. We are all at risk for cardiovascular disease. That’s one reason why I am watching you guys. I think, as many of us humans do, that if we got back to nature and natural foods we might be healthier.” Continue reading “New Birthdays for Old Men, Chapter 9 – Back to Nature” »
The massive red heart on the window of the pharmacy was too big to ignore and I forgot my mission to buy a new tube of toothpaste and decided to buy my wife a Valentine’s Day card.
It was a small English High Street pharmacy (or chemists as they are sometimes called) and they appeared to stock everything for colds, flu, carbuncles and whatever else that ails you, but I couldn’t find a Valentine’s Day card anywhere.
When I inquired, the pharmacist looked slightly bemused and gently explained, “We are a pharmacy sir. We fill prescriptions and provide products for health and wellness. You can get cards of all sorts at the card shop across the road.”
“Well, what is that big red heart doing on your window,” I asked. Soon after I realized I had suffered a senior transatlantic moment, I felt obliged to explain. “Where I come from in America, the pharmacists are tucked away at the back of the store, and dependent upon whether it is Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Christmas or some other invented event like Sweetest Day or Secretary’s Day, in the main store they peddle trash by the billions of dollars, plus, of course, cards to celebrate the events.” Continue reading “New Birthdays for Old Men, Chapter 8 – A Valentine’s Day Gift, Batteries Not Included” »