A COLLECTION OF STORIES BY LUKE TAGG
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SMOKE: Being Healthy Is Easy

Originally published: 17 September 2004

Sometimes life is just so simple, isn't it? We stress about so many things in so many different ways and lose ourselves in unnecessary worry when the solutions are often far easier than we thought.

Take health, for instance. I've been stressing about mine for a while now, mainly because it isn't particularly good, and going on a diet has helped the heartburn but has created resentment issues which have lead to stress.

I'm actually no better off now than I was on that black day when I denounced Bella Pizza - until and as such.

But browsing through the Cape Argus yesterday I came upon an astonishing revelation: 10 tips for a healthy life. I couldn't believe my good fortune - it's exactly what I need. A nice swift summation of precisely how to be a fit, young, healthy, hung stud, in 10 easy steps.

I settled down to read with Slim Slab in one hand and Slowboat in the other, and here's what I discovered:

Apparently the South African Society for Physiotherapy (SASP) told the newspaper that by incorporating exercise into our daily lives we stand a much better chance of living a long and healthy life.

I almost fell off my chair. "That's it!", quoth I. Hungry now for more knowledge I read further, anxious to get to the list. I sucked a lungful of Swazi deep as it could go, bit off another chunk of Slim Slab and probed further.

Dalene Hart - the secretary and treasurer of the Western Cape branch of the SASP - said something about backs and how 80-85 percent of us have back pain and how it induces depression and stuff, and ended with: "If you treat your back well, your back will treat you well."

I don't know so much about that. I've done absolutely nothing to my back over the years - nothing - yet it's given me hell on wheels for a decade now and is only getting worse.

I can see why Dalene Hart isn't the president of her little society.

Disillusioned I was about to discard the article when I spotted the top 10 list, and with interest renewed I read on.

10 tips for a healthy life

1. "Breathe slowly and deeply."

Fair enough. Sure. No worries. Gosh - this is exciting.

2. "Move your body - never stay in one position for too long."

OK. Not too hard. Stand up. Sit down. Fair enough. Good.

3. "Don't take life too seriously - laugh out loud at least once a day."

Now we're talking! Can you believe how easy this stuff is?! I make myself laugh all the time - here - try this (*clears throat*):

Mumbletwigs. Hey? Or how about ..... Boggypants? No, no: Murple murple snogroot fapplewop by easysuit. Widdums wettums whattums. Spanky spanky cockring. Twootle.

Man - I crack myself up, I really do. Well on my way to health now.

4. "Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet - cut down on salt, sugar and fat."

Now hang on a moment - that's a clear contradiction. Nobody enjoys a healthy, balanced diet - we only have one because we're forced to by ulcers and age. I don't mind you saying "Force yourself to try and stomach a foul concoction of leaves and fungi in the interests of health", but don't start talking nonsense now. Don't start talking fucken nonsense.

5. "Get plenty of sleep - six to eight hours a night is recommended."

Right - now you're starting to lose me. Tell you what - you come sit here and do what I do and we'll see how much sleep you get. I distinctly the remember the night I once almost got six hours sleep - I was so rested I worked for seven days and nights straight after that.

Unfortunately that was back in 2000 and it's never been as good since.

6. "Maintain a good back posture - this helps to prevent back pain."

As they say: there are lies, damn lies and statistics. The above sentence is not a statistic.


It was 1997 when they hacked my back open and took bits out and since the back brace I have had nothing but perfect posture. I am more aware of my posture than any other human on Earth and does it prevent back pain? It does not, lying scum. It does not.

7. "Don't ever drink and drive - under any circumstances."

Oh don't be silly. That's like telling a 17-year old boy not to have a quick one off the wrist when Deborah Marchini appears on Business Day. Sounds good in theory - and we'd all like it to be so - but it ain't gonna happen.

But I'll bear it in mind. He admitted grudgingly.

8. "Stop smoking - this greatly reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks."

Yeah, that's easy. Oh, I know - hey - I'll just stop smoking. There. Done. Easy.

9. "Manage your time - make time for regular social and recreational activities."

Precisely how will managing my time get rid of my ulcers? Hang on - I think I've got it. I'll make time to go out drinking (only I won't drink because apparently now I'm not allowed to or something), and when I get home I'll have no pain.

Healthy and strong as an ox. OK. Gottit.

10. "Be thankful for the privilege of being alive."

Oh, reeeaaaalllllyyyyy????? Now I have to be thankful for something I didn't ask for. It's like when someone does something for you then expects you to be grateful - don't be ridiculous. I didn't want my jeans ironed.

No man - I don't actually know now. It all seemed so promising - 10 tips for a healthy life. Sorted. But those 10 tips are a list of ways in which to have a totally crap life, if you ask me.

Except for the laughter bit. That's great.

Tubby thimbletot.

All Smoked Out,
Luke Tagg
Spending time online does bad things to a person, but I'm OK.

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Copyright © Luke Tagg. All rights reserved. A few lefts as well.

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