Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Why are nice things are bad for you?

This week I am reminded of one of life's cruelest truths - nice things are bad for you. My favourite things are chocolate, alcohol, chips, curry, unprotected sex, auto-erotic asphyxiation and spending 4 month periods on the couch. All of those things are reducing my life expectancy. This seems unfair. The more you enjoy life, the less of it you are allowed to have. Why have we evolved to become so damaged by pleasure?

During the festive period, pleasure, damaging pleasure is in constant supply. A couple of weeks ago I ate the nicest mince pies I've ever had. Why were they so nice? They were made with puff pastry and had a lot more sugar on top. They were nicer because they were less healthy. It was only this year that I suddenly realised any dish can be made much tastier by adding shit loads of sugar, salt, butter or a combination of the three. Why does our body love what's bad for it so much? Our bodies are like insecure women with bastards.

Drugs are probably the best example of this. As I understand it the drugs that offer the most pleasure are heroin and crack cocaine. I, no matter how often my girlfriend offers them to me, have never tried either. I have enough trouble sustaining my Cadbury's Chocolate Trifle habit. I don't think I'm too far off the mark when I say that heroin and crack are, although not particularly calorific, massively bad for you. I honestly don't get it. Why are our bodies structured in such a way? Surely evolution should have brought us to a point where the nicer things are, the better for us they are.

There is probably someone reading this who feels we've already reached that place. Right now, she's nibbling away at a bag of seeds whilst in a yoga position. Tonight, she might 'treat' herself to some pumpkin soup before her nightly jog. She tells herself that carbs make her feel bloated and she actually much prefers a night out without a drink. Over the Christmas break she's thinking of reading Wild Swans for the 8th time. Well, if you are reading this - stereotypical girl who I've just made up - I think you're lying to yourself. When you do eventually die at the age of 106, I think you might wonder whether you really needed the extra 30 years that healthy lifestyle has given you. As we all know, by the year 2050 Earth will be a dystopian hell ran by Apple cyborgs. You, girl who I've made up, will spend you're twilight years under their titanium thumbs. I, meanwhile, will have had the memory of a thousand late night cream horns to keep me happy on my early death bed.

This is all obviously bullshit I tell myself to make me feel better about my subscription to the local Indian takeaway. That is why I don't jump headfirst into the hedonistic lifestyle. I am aware of the damage that pleasure can do and therefore ration my pleasure intake. Instead of drinking 6 times the recommended weekly alcohol limit, I just hang around daringly a bit above it. Instead of downing entire tubs of Ben and Jerry's I go through them in thirds. I have found a compromise. Neither slim nor obese - podgy. Neither a life brimming with pleasure nor a life lacking of it - content. So I may well live long enough to see the Apple cyborgs. I just won't be fit enough to fight them.

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