People are constantly falling ill and dying. This is a fact of life. Nothing you can do about it. But as the youngest (and rapidly aging) member of a large family, I’ve noticed that every year or every couple of years, there is a trending calamity that pulls in the maximum number of victims.
About 20 years ago, for example, diabetes was the common killer. Maybe it was because people hadn’t yet figured out that this was a treatable disease or how to take care of it or something, but some uncle or auntie would come pay us a visit and a chance question would reveal that their brother-in-law or father or some other relative had sliced their toe open and that was that.
A few years ago, it was breast cancer. Every second auntie you met was either sick with cancer or had a sister or mother or sister-in-law who had it and was either in remission or was under treatment. I began to dread the next auntie who’d walk in the door and inform us that so-and-so was dead.
“Oh no!” my mother would say, as though she had never heard of such a thing happening. “But she was so young. What happened?”
“Breast cancer,” would come the hushed reply.
Even worse was when they’d confess that they were the ones who were ill. Although those aunties tend not to leave their homes because they can’t bear being questioned endlessly about their intimate medical problems by random people at a party and being told in return about other cancer victims who’d either survived after a long and expensive battle or, worse still, lost the battle.
This year’s version is broken bones. At least four aunties have passed on after breaking their hips, one had hip replacement surgery, another had knee replacement surgery (although I don’t think she broke it) and one is in the hospital after falling down. The curse is so powerful, it even struck down poor lil Scooter.
But seriously, did you know a calcium tablet and a mild walk around the block every day could save your life? That and mopping the floor dry.
This is not the year when you want to break a leg.