Recently, the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease. This has been controversial. Personally, I think if alcoholism is a disease then so is obesity. But I am not sure alcoholism is a disease. Is smoking cigarettes a disease? If not, why? It is an addiction but so is alcoholism. So is overeating. They are always saying smoking causes a disease but is it not a disease in and of itself? It must be. Cancer is a disease. Our cells become cancerous. Every single cell in our bodies can become cancerous and will if we live long enough. I recently read an article in some medical journal that said just that. My brother, the shrink, wrote an article to that effect over thirty years ago. Essentially he said we would all die of cancer unless something else killed us first. So my question is do cigarettes cause cancer or do cells cause cancer? Does it matter? My uncle died at 87 years of age. Healthy as a horse until the last couple of weeks of his life. My mother remarked he would have lived longer if he hadn’t smoked. So he lived 87 happy years puffing away but in my mother’s opinion he would have been better off living 95 miserable, smoke free years. It is a fear of dying. People want to live forever. So they find a cause of death, label it a disease, and set out to find a cure for it. In a discussion about ‘pulling the plug’ my sister informed me she has no intention of dying. She said put her brain in a jar if need be because eventually there would be a cure and they could put her in a new body. Seems a Russian tycoon has the same feeling and is working on just that. It is all so silly. When my son was still a preschooler, an elderly gentleman he was very close to died. A friend of ours thought my son would be upset and tried to comfort him. (And yes, I did steal this and use it in my book. If you can’t steal from your family, who can you steal from?) My son looked at her, tenderly put his hand on her shoulder, and said, “We’re all going to die Peggy. Didn’t you know that? Everybody dies. You’re going to die Peggy.” That has always been my attitude. No matter what I do or don’t do, I’m gonna die anyway. So my personal philosophy has always been: “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming — WOW– What a Ride!”