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14 June 2005 at 08:47

lifelong learning 1

'Til recently I was a health Luddite.
But now methinks I've seen the light.
- Anonymcj

One cup at a time, sweet Jesus,
that's all I'm asking from you.
Just give me the strength
to brew everyday
what I have to brew.
- Kristofferson/McJ



For 20 years I bought expensive herbal fluoride-free toothpastes, because of the possible health risk. Then my dentist told me my teeth were nearly falling out, so I made the switch to fluoride, and bingo! My teeth are a lot happier, and they have repaid me by handling wine or ice cream without pain.

For twenty years I dedicated myself to avoiding poisons. For example, I became vegetarian to avoid the antibiotics, hormones, and aggressive essences in meat. Then last weekend Cass cooked a lamb roast, immersed first for 3 days in tandoori marinade. And at last I understood why some carnivores say they'd rather die than give up meat.

But my best learning2 has been about the demon brew, and I don't mean the 174 bottles of beer that I managed to keep out of the clutches of hotboy. No, I'm talking about the drink of kings and emperors. For decades I had drunk camomile tea, and after the first 5 years I grew to enjoy it. Then last year, I spent 10 days sheltering from earthquakes and typhoons in a Tokyo hotel room with flu and back pain. With nothing on TV except Bush and Kerry on CNN, it was a $100-a-day torture. My one luxury was a daily bag of Japanese green tea. It's surprising how many cups you can wring out of a single bag. When I was finally well enough to hobble out of there and take a plane home to the islands, I kept the green tea habit going. Now the first thing I do in the morning is boil the kettle and infuse the tea.

Not only is it nice to be an addict again, I actually feel better, and have more energy. Like a typical first-time Prozac3 user telling the doctor "It makes me feel like the real me for the first time ever," on tea I feel like the old me. That's not surprising, given that from the age of about 10 I drank tea morning noon and night, like all our family. I might as well accept tea now as a natural part of my system, since my adolescent metabolism developed around a constant background level of tea in the bloodstream.

I grew up in the years B.C. (Before Coke). In young people these days, blood levels of caffeine, sugar and food colouring perform much the same role. As a result, the future citizenry is locked into lifelong purchase of coke and pepsi, to the joy of shareholders in those companies. I'm sticking with tea, the real real thing.

1 - Lifelong learning is the buzzphrase du jour in educational institutions such as the McDonald Institute and its campuses offshore and in Illinois.

2 - qv D B C Pierre

3 - Speaking of prozac, that's another 'learning' and another story.

Blogger hotboy said...

It's the tea that's giving you the sore back!! The sensei is a tea addict as well and he's got a sore back. I was in Darjeeling once. Everyone is bent double there! Hotboy  

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Blogger robmcj said...

I never thought of that. It's simple when you think about it, I suppose that's why you're a blissmaster but I'm just a flatheid.  

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