The Leader-Post – Nov 5, 1948
The papers have lately, it seems to me, been even fuller of good news than usual.
It was heartening to read the other day, for example, that a man had discovered how to live without bothering about rationed food. He never makes use of his ration book, he explained, except now and then to buy a little sugar to flavor the grass which is a principal part of his diet.
We all live on grass—so he reasons—but most of us will not touch it till it has been transformed into meat and milk by cattle. Abolish the cattle, which are only a kind of middleman and middlewomen, and eat grass in its natural state, and not only will you be able to save a great deal of money, but you will never need to worry about Mr. Strachey again.
I remember reading about the grass diet during the war when one of its devotees recommended it as the best counter to the meat shortage; and I hoped that grass eating would become so common at the English dinner table that I should be able to judge in time whether I should be likely to take it more kindly than Nebuchadnezzar.
You remember the poem about that unhappy monarch who
Said, as he chewed the unaccustomed food,
“It may be wholesome, but it is not good.”
Was Nebuchadnezzar right? Who knows? After all it is only about two centuries since Dr. Johnson spoke contemptuously of oats as food for horses—the oats that the ordinary Englishman now regards as one of the glories of a good breakfast.
He added, you will recall: “In Scotland food for men.” Most people—but I am not one of them—now agree that the men of Scotland were wiser than Dr. Johnson in their attitude to oats.
And if you now eat the horses’ oats, not only without a qualm, but with pleasure, may it not be that your great-great-grandchildren will be found eating the horses’ grass with the same relish?
It seems to be very good news, indeed, that an experimenter is already pointing the way to a dietetic world in which the cost of living would be so small that we should almost be able to do without wages or salaries.
Even if we gave enormous dinner parties it would cost us only a trifle. We should simply send our guests out into the back garden to forage for themselves.
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Another piece of good news was that baldness—at least the form that is known as alopecia areata—is “psychological” and that “if a sufferer can be persuaded to tell his troubles to a sympathetic listener a cure is well on the way.”
One sufferer, we are told, was bald as a result of living in the same house as his mother-in-law. Acting on his doctor’s advice, he got a house of his own, and since then he has grown such a crop of hair that he is now as hirsute as Esau or a Hairy Ainu.
If it becomes generally known that getting a house is a cure for baldness, I would not, I confess, like to be in Mr. Aneurin Bevan’s shoes.
Day after day half the bald men of England will be converging on his office and demanding interviews so that he will be able to see their bald heads for himself and cure them by providing them with houses. Men who want to escape from their mothers-in-law will have their heads shaved and pretend to be bald in the hope of awakening his sympathy.
The other half of England’s bald men who have gone bald through worrying about income tax will similarly besiege Sir Stafford Cripps, demanding that any man certified genuinely bald by a doctor should have to pay only half the standard rate of income tax.
Obviously the cure for the widespread disease of baldness is in the government’s hands. Let them administer it or get out.
Another item of good news is that some day we may travel by rocket projectile at anything up to 25,000 miles per hour and so reach any point on the earth’s surface within an hour. That will save people a lot of time they don’t know what to do with.
I am unable to decide whether it is good news or not that, as was announced recently “in the United States last year more people were kicked to death by donkeys than were killed by air transport.” It is good news, I suppose, for travellers by air, but not quite so good for people who keep donkeys.