1 According to the writer, what dangers are attached to the following?
2 Why isn't nylon a good material for the skin?
3 How many kilos overweight is the businessman?
4 Who are your nearest and dearest?
5 Why should you use the stairs and not the lift?
6 What does his colleague need to be careful of?
7 What effect does the traffic jam have on him?
8 What dangers has his wife faced all day?
DICING WITH DEATH
And living with statistics BY RUTH JEMMETT
EVERY DAY is fraught with danger. You wake in the morning, rush to the window and take a deep breath. Don't! Hasn't anyone told you about the air being polluted with lead from petrol? Next you go to the bathroom. After touching the lavatory handle, your innocent-looking hands are covered in bacteria, which even a good wash won't entirely remove. You sigh, and get dressed. Good heavens! Didn't you realize that all that nylon won't let your skin breathe? With a rash beginning to appear on your skin, you make your way to the kitchen for breakfast. Eating must be good for you - mustn't it? Of course it is, provided you don't have tea or coffee, which are bad for your heart, or a good old-fashioned English fry-up, which will fill your stomach with cholesterol-building fat. Depressed - not to mention hungry — you go to clean your teeth. Put down that nylon toothbrush at once! It will ruin your gums. Do you have the courage to weigh yourself? Horrors! You're at least half a stone overweight, which is sure to help send you to an early grave. Hesitating, you make your way to the car, knowing that (according to statistics) there's a good chance that either you or one of your nearest and dearest will be involved in an accident sometime during your life. After a heart-thumping journey, you reach work. Filled with relief you get into the lift. Get out at once and race up those stairs, unless you want a heart attack tomorrow. Panting, you reach the office, where you collapse into a chair. The cleaner has just left, leaving an aerosol's delightful aroma floating in the air. You inhale deeply, enjoying the sweet fragrance. Danger! Breathing in the substance will ruin your lungs (not to mention our atmosphere, if we are to believe the experts.) With trembling hands you light a cigarette to calm your nerves. A what? How dare you? In comes your colleague, Ms Brown, all ready for a busy day, blonde hair and make-up in place. Do you think she's heard about the cancer scare concerning hair dyes and eye-liners? At last lunch-time comes. You join your mates in the local for a sandwich. White bread, eh? A low-fibre diet is no good at all. You have 'just one more drink", which helps you on your way to liver failure, and you return to the office. You spend the afternoon fighting a battle with high blood pressure and chronic indigestion (or is it your heart at last?) and give a sigh of relief as 5.30 arrives.
What a jam on the by-pass tonight. It gets your fingers tapping on the steering wheel, doesn't it? You look in the driving mirror and see a large vein throbbing up and down on your forehead. It throbs even faster as you suddenly remember that article you were reading about strokes. A nervous wreck, you reach home. You crawl up the path and fall into your wife's protective arms. She won't last much longer, of course. She's inhaled a large amount of washing powder, quite a few asbestos particles from her hair drier and a great number of chemicals from aerosol sprays.
But do not fear, civilization is here. Are we really that much happier in our modern technological world with all its new-found knowledge than our ancestors who knew nothing of these things? Is it any surprise that there were no analysts or psychiatrists in any century before ours? I'm sure they didn't need any.
1 What point is the writer making in the last paragraph? Do you agree?
2 Do you think the writer is . . .
a. much too worried about the dangers of modern life?