AL GILKES: Life as we know it
I HAVE BEEN AWAY from this spot for a few Sundays but today I am back.
During that time, I was contending with some severe pain caused by a pinched nerve in the neck, I marked another birthday and I was not, as rumour had it, in Miami dying of cancer.
In fact, the only time I was off island was last weekend when I took in some early Carnival while spending quality time with my Trini family. And Mac Fingall, yes, Merv and Joan still do live at the corner of Buller Street on Colville in Woodbrook.
Talking about celebrating another birthday, I have something to say to the man or woman who created the myth that life, meaning the enjoyment of life, begins at 40. The fact is that on the midnight stroke of 40 you suddenly realise you have to hold anything you are reading closer than ever to your eyes. If you already wear glasses, you also you have to push them up on the tip of your forehead while pulling the book, newspaper, tablet or cellphone up to your nose in order to make out what is on the page or the screen. Eventually, you discover that you have reached the age of bifocals.
You also discover other things do not work as well as they did before and by the time you reach 50, your life begins to be one of never-ending visits to doctors, specialists, clinics and hospitals to deal with a range of problems like high blood pressure and cholesterol to problems with one internal organ or another. If you are a man, you also inevitably are faced with dealing with the worst problem a man can face, that of the loss of life in the external organ.
Take it from me, no matter how healthy you are, no matter how well you eat, no matter how little you drink, no matter how much exercise and no matter how much you follow the advice of the medics in their offices and on TV, nature takes control and your life begins to prepare to return to its Giver sooner or later. It could be the very next minute or it could be after living long enough to be graced with a visit by the Governor General, at which time you know for sure that you are no longer in the departure lounge waiting for the call to board but are on board with seatbelt buckled waiting for the pilot to take off into the sweet bye and bye.
On a more positive note, have you heard that British scientists are offering some hope in what seems to be developing into a global war against the mosquito, in the wake of the annual dengue fever, the recent Chikungunya and the current Zika virus outbreak?
Apparently, those guys with the big brains have discovered a way to use the mosquito to rid the earth of its own kind. They are doing so with the use of genetically modified mosquitoes.
According to reports, a trial to release what they are calling “self-limiting” mosquitoes, because their offspring do not survive, has already reduced wild mosquito larvae by 82 per cent in one Brazil neighbourhood within eight months.
The programme works by releasing modified male mosquitoes, which do not bite and whose genes have been altered to prevent their offspring from surviving. They mate with the females, which are responsible for the spread of disease, and their offspring die before they can pass on Zika or any other illnesses.
One is left to wonder how soon will it be before a so-called mad scientist decides to experiment with human beings in similar manner.
Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email [email protected]