To Grandma Ethel, the world was a very
hostile place that conspired to break our bones, give us colds,
and end life early and abruptly. My poor mother, Grandma’s
only child, was forbidden to do anything risky, like ride a
bicycle, swim, or roller skate.
I got off easy. As Grandma’s grandchild
I only got warnings. For example, every time it rained, Grandma
would call and tell me, “Don’t go out in the rain
without your galoshes or you’ll catch pneumonia and die.”
I may have been a budding pessimist, but I wasn’t ready
to die, so I followed her instructions religiously. That was
three decades ago; I haven’t worn galoshes since. Still,
whenever I go out in the rain, I feel like I’m tempting
the gods, especially because I can hear this little voice with
a heavy Polish accent whispering, “People still die from
pneumonia. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
"Early to rise and early to bed
Makes a male healthy, wealthy and dead."
—James Thurber (1894-1961)
"Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they
know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in
human beings of whom they know nothing."
"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you
don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do
what you’d rather not."
—Mark Twain (1835-1910)
"The cardiologist’s diet: If it tastes good, spit
"After my dad’s heart attack he stopped smoking,
cut back on drinking, and avoided eating fun food. When I
told him, “Isn’t it nice that you’ll live
longer?” he told me in a really disgusted voice, “You
don’t really live longer. It just seems like it."