Death cannot be beaten but life must be well lived

The story is told of the murder of a gentleman who, on the morning of his 42nd birthday, got a premonition that someone was trying to kill him.

With shaking hands, he lit his first cigarette of the day, and wondered who his enemy could be. At breakfast as he salted his fried eggs and stirred the cream into his coffee, he said to his wife, “I am going to outwit my would-be murderer.”

He tried to think on the drive to the office, but the frustrations of making time by beating lights and switching lanes occupied him. Nor, once behind his desk, could he find a moment, with rattling phones, urgent memos and piled-up work. It wasn’t until his second martini at lunch that the full terror of his position struck him as he finished his Lasagna Milanese. “I can’t panic,” he said to himself, lighting up his cigar. “I simply must live my life as usual.”

So as usual, he worked till seven, drove home fast, had his two cocktails, watched the late night show and took his two sleeping pills in order to get his six hours of sleep.
Months went by and he began to gloat on his ability to survive. But, as it must to all men, death came to him, at his desk on a particularly busy day. He was 53. A full autopsy showed emphysema, arteriosclerosis, duodenal ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, cardiac necrosis, a cerebrovascular aneurysm, pulmonary edema, obesity, circulatory insufficiency and a touch of lung cancer.  His grief- stricken wife whispered through her tears, “At least he died of natural causes and not in the hands of the would-be murderer!”

This tale is a grim reminder of how most contemporary men live recklessly and die untimely. Good health is no longer a priority. Living the good life and on the fast lane with scant regard about its consequences seems more the order of the day. It is no wonder that most doctors today report, “Men no longer die; they kill themselves.”

While long life is something that all aspire, lessons in longevity are seldom taken seriously. The thoughts of the late Professor Lorenzo N Fowler’s on longevity is worth committing to memory: “Work hard, but easily. Avoid worry. Keep within your income and your strength. Do not live at too high a pressure. Take three moderate meals a day. Be a total abstainer at the outset and remain one all your life. Never smoke, chew or take snuff. Take regularly daily exercise. Sleep the sleep of the just when you retire and take one day in the week for rest, and ten chances to one you will succeed in becoming an octogenarian!”

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