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Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Thing Not To Be Today: a hypochondriac.

As we are all aware from the press, fifty eight per cent of people die of heart disease; two thirds of us are felled by of cancer; forty three per cent of us expire of diabetes; and septicaemia takes off twenty two per cent more.*

The good news is that this puts the murder rate at minus eight nine point six recurring per cent, and that you have more chance of having tea with Elvis in Shangri La than being run over by a bus.

File:A hypochondriac tells her doctor that she has a pain in her Wellcome V0011548.jpg
photo from the Wellcome Collection

This being apparently the case, who can blame us for being anxious about our health? Indeed, the authorities positively encourage us to be so. We are instructed to prod and scan ourselves at regular intervals in a search for morbid signs. Hypochondria is practically an official virtue.

Ah well. Even if hypochondria makes us miserable, and everyone around us even more miserable (therefore taking away the point of actually staggering on with this Life thing anyway) then at least the counsellors and psychiatrists presumably get to see an uptick in business.

And what more could anyone want than to give money to them?

Thing To Try To Avoid Being Today: a hypochondriac. Hypochondria is Latin and means the abdomen (which was believed to be the seat of melancholia, that is, sadness). It comes from the Greek hupokhondrios, of the upper abdomen, from hypo- under, plus kondros, cartilage.

*All figures are approximate.**

**I.e. made up.***

***Yes, like everyone else's.

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