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     Volume 7 Issue 4 | January 25, 2008 |

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A Roman Column

View from the Sick-bed

Neeman Sobhan

7:30 A.M: I ought to be down in my study writing today's column. But I may be coming down with something and think I should stay in bed. I wish it were raining today, though, for that's the sort of day when staying in bed makes sense. But after a soggy week of unrelenting rain Rome is finally glinting in sunshine. I ought to go down and enjoy this newly minted winter Sunday of crisp gold edges if I weren't feeling under-the-weatherish.

I could, I suppose get my laptop here and write something from bed. So much writing has been done from the supine position. Remember G.K.Chesterton on his essay 'On Lying in Bed? There was a paragraph at the end where he said……oh! the book is downstairs. If only I could get 'someone' to get it for me, as well as a cup of tea, that would be perfect.

7:55 A.M: Okay, I managed to organise the tea through the rather groggy, reluctant and temporary 'management' lying beside me, and even though room service, as far as the beverage is concerned, was quite acceptable, the locating of the book by memory and verbal directions from my book-shelf downstairs posed a familiar problem (please see my last week's article) and could have caused a serious relapse on my part. Anyway, here is Chesterton:

"For those who study the great art of lying in bed there is one emphatic caution to be added. Even for those who can do their work in bed (like journalists), still more for those whose work cannot be done in bed (as for example, the professional harpooner of whales), it is obvious that the indulgence must be very occasional. But that is not the caution I mean. The caution is this: if you do lie in bed, be sure you do it without any reason or justification at all. I do not speak, of course, of the seriously sick. But if the healthy man lies in bed, let him do it without a rag of excuse; then he will get up a healthy man. If he does it for some secondary hygienic reason, if he has some scientific explanation, he may get up a hypochondriac."

8:00 A.M: Wait, wait, wait…..what did Chesterton mean by 'secondary hygienic reason'? It's time to get a second opinion. The groggy, reluctant and temporary medical adviser lying beside me tells me I have no temperature and no apparent signs of any deeper malaise apart from my usual risen-from-the grave morning look. Does that mean I am really healthy and lying in bed with a rag of an excuse, thus am a potential hypochondriac or am I a justifiably sick person? I think I better go over that paragraph again.

This reminds me of that incident about Oprah Winfrey and Nobel Prize winning writer Toni Morrison at the 1999 National Book Awards, when the redoubtable Oprah said that she sometimes had to stop and puzzle over Toni Morrison's sentences; Morrison responded: "That, my dear, is called reading."

Whoooo! That must have put Oprah in her place, but doesn't solve my problem as I am still puzzling over Chesterton's sentence. Presently, feeling neither terribly healthy nor unhealthy, I push the book under the bed and pull my duvet around me.

8:30 A.M: I really ought to be writing my column. First, though, I ought to get up. However, not before doing my stretches and yoga. Now, that would be a useful topic to write about. Once up and stretched I should shower and get dressed, which reminds me that I must absolutely and urgently organise my messy clothes closet. Although, I don't know if it's such a good idea, considering what a deterrent it was to being robbed. Did I hear a puzzled 'huh?' from my readers? Well, last summer we were burgled and the poor thieves for all their efforts at breaking in found nothing because whatever little I have by way of jewellery is kept casually in the wardrobe shelves under a mountain of clothes. I shudder to imagine the poor burglars throwing open the wardrobe doors to the explosion of clothes, erupting volcanically in their face. They beat a hasty retreat without touching a thing!

So, I better leave the dressing room untouched and burglar-proof and pick the clothes nearest to the top of the pile and go down. I ought to make a hearty breakfast of porridge and perhaps, write about the benefits of oats, or tea or other food related ideas for my column like the article someone sent me about how the shape of certain natural foods correspond to the shape of the part of the human body it affects positively. I think I have it under my pillow here somewhere:

"1/A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye...and YES science now shows that carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

2/A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart is red and has four chambers. All of the research shows tomatoes are indeed pure heart and blood food.

3/Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows that grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

4/Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds are on the nut just like the neo-cortex. We now know that walnuts help develop over 3 dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

5/Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

6/Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet the body pulls it from the bones, making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

7/Avocados and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats 1 avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? ... it takes exactly 9 months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit.

8/Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the motility of male sperm and increase the numbers of sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

9/Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.

10/Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.

11/Grapefruits, Oranges, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

12/Onions look like body cells. Today's research shows that onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes.

13/Peanuts have a profound effect on the testicles and sexual libido and were banned as a food for males by the church often during the middle ages. Argentine, the main component of Viagra, comes from peanuts."

Really? And I thought there could be nothing more innocent than a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich. I ought to write about that.
9:00 A.M: I really ought to get up, go down and write my column. But I feel I may be coming down with something………..

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