I have always been fairly active both inside and outsidevices. business.
My interests are quite wide - music, golf, science fiction, British Computer Society, cards, community support, gardening.
I've been in the computer industry since I graduated from City University with a degree in computing in the early 70s (yes, I am an old codger - sorry). The PC wasn't a reality then. It all took off in the late 70s and early 80s when dear old IBM decided to release the first PC and then, wheeee ... roller-coaster time.
The margins to be made on software and hardware then were beautiful to behold - a 40 per cent discount from the manufacturer was standard. Lovely stuff, good cowboy country and a fairly easy living as the consumer wasn't educated in the nefarious arts of the computer mechanic.
In the early days, we had it relatively easy. Large profits were made with little effort and most of the stress was down to the anxiety felt when we didn't know whether England was going to qualify for the World Cup, or how you were going to make use of your expense account.
But with reduced margins, hot competition and user education, the market has become an area where only the strong, fit and fearless survive for any length of time. The cowboys have moved their corral down to Millennium Bug City, where the profits are still fat.
This promotes a rather unhealthy physical and mental climate for us professionals. So I finally come to the point of all this rhetoric. One of our clients is an international company specialising in creating 'designer' products for a healthy lifestyle. This includes vitamins, mineral additives, body lotions, shampoos - everything to make you look good and feel the same. I was invited to one of its seminars to get to know the business.
It scared the hell out of me.
The chap speaking was very erudite but he had some chilling facts to share with us. In the US, heart disease and cancer kill 75 per cent of the daily mortality rate (equivalent to 10 fully loaded 747s crashing without survivors). Just over half of this group die of heart problems and the rest from cancer.
I was feeling quite cheerful at this point, especially when he went on to explain that in Europe it's the other way around - the statistics actually show more people dying from cancer than heart disease.
The root causes of these deaths could be put down to one of the following sources: hereditary, diet, lack of exercise and environment. The last of these covers smoking, stress and pollution. The speaker's point was that we can't choose our parents, but the other three are (more or less) under our control.
I'm now insisting that my sales people stop blowing smoke in my face and I'm trying to gently point out to them that in the UK, three out of four people will get cancer during their lifetime. I want to be one of the fourth in my office.
The other interesting thing was that studies in the US have now conclusively shown that you can't get your recommended daily allowance of vitamins, trace elements and other goodies from a normal diet - especially those from McDonalds and Burger King.
So you're now looking at a convert. I went to try to sell them our services and ended up buying theirs. The course of vitamins, antioxidants (supposed to knock the hell out of cancer type cells), phytonutrients (plant extracts) and minerals I'm now taking certainly make me feel a lot more active.
Four capsules in the morning and four in the evening is pretty simple and they seem to have reduced the number of colds I get.
So all you professional workaholics out there, get wise. But if you overeat, smoke too much and consume a bottle of Scotch a day, no amount of vitamins is going to help you - you're going to die prematurely anyway.
Eat less, give up smoking, take more exercise (sex is very good exercise), lay off the booze (except a glass of red wine has lots of those lovely phytonutrients), take those designer pills, make sure you get that quality time to relax. Or at least make an attempt to achieve some of these aims.
Do that and I'll see you in the old folk's home. Don't do that and I'll need to bend the plastic again for a few lilies.
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