By Fr. Pat, Amobi Chukwuma
There is a certain young man whose nickname is Mr. Green Bottle. If you ask him what brand of beer you can offer him, he replies, Anything in green bottle. He always puts on green clothes, green shoes, green stockings, green underwear, green handkerchief, green watch, etc. Even the house he lives in is painted green interiorly and exteriorly. Recently, he bought a bicycle and painted it green throughout.
Due to the volume of green liquor he consumes daily, his hairs and entire body have metamorphosed into green. He is about forty years old and still single. He is seriously searching for a green woman to marry. Please if you see any green woman, whether young or old, kindly inform me. A huge reward awaits any informant.
One day, Mr. Green Bottle was sick. He went to hospital for diagnosis and medication. The physician who examined him recommended him to undergo certain medical tests. A sample of his blood was required for two of the tests. Surprisingly, it was discovered that his entire blood has turned to green. On closer examination, it was found out that the content of alcohol in his body system is excessive.
For this reason, the doctor asked him to abstain entirely from alcohol henceforth. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘Doc, that is impossible! The day I stop drinking anything in green bottle shall be my last day on earth!!’ He shouted louder and louder which attracted the attention of the patients on admission. They all trouped to the doctor’s consulting room to see what was amiss. A particular bedridden patient, who had not stood up from bed for almost six months, miraculously walked that day.
Even some of the corpses in the mortuary section of the hospital woke up due to the commotion caused by Mr. Green Bottle. When the situation was brought under control by the hospital security men, the awakened corpses slept again. Mr. Green Bottle said to the doctor, Something must kill a man. He left the hospital premises without collecting his drugs. For him, there is no efficacious drug than anything in green bottle.
Birds of the same feather flock together. Surely, drunkards would sing praises for Mr. Green Bottle. A certain quantity of alcohol is good for our body system. But excessive consumption of it, is dangerous to health. Yet some men and even women drink themselves to stupor. Since my childhood the makers of cigarettes have always warned that smoking is dangerous to health and that those who smoke are liable to die young.
The body system is not the same for everyone. Personally if I perceive the aroma of cigarette, I almost become unconscious. Yet there are chain smokers who lived up to eighty years and above. Actually, some smokers die young while some live longer. I have seen an excessive alcohol consumer who died at the age of 90. If I drink more than one bottle of beer at a time, my eyes turn red and I begin to see visions. Yet, someone else can drink more than six bottles at a time and walk away clearly.
The best drink health-wise is ordinary water. Do you know why I absconded from Chemistry class in my secondary school? We went to the Laboratory on the fateful day and the teacher was conducting a test that had to do with hard water. I stood up from my seat and raised my hand. The teacher gave me audience. I told him emphatically that I have never seen hard water. All water is liquid. He insisted on conducting the test on hard water. Then, I removed Chemistry from my choice of subjects.
Ignorance is a disease. A dehydrated sick man was recommended by his doctor to drink as much water as possible on daily basis. He went home and soaked himself in a pool of water for days. Water permeated him in and out. At last he contracted pneumonia. He died of excessive cold. He suffered from dehydration and died of cold. What a contradiction!
When I was doing my Theological License in Germany, I had two Cameroonian priest friends. One of them was gentle and recollected. He was studious and always found in his room. Rarely did he go out, except on essential duties. In German Language, a room is called ‘Zimmer’ (the Z is pronounced like T) and ‘man’ in English is ‘Mann’ in German. ‘Man’ in German means ‘someone’ in English.
Hence, I nicknamed him Zimmermann (which for me means a person who always stay in his room). In essence ‘Zimmermann’ means Carpenter in German. The other friend was noisy and always on the road. Rarely did he stay at home. I nicknamed him ‘Unterwegsmann.’ ‘Unterwegs’ means being on the road. On my own part, because I was always available in the house, they called me ‘Hausmann’. ‘Haus’ in German (with definite article ‘das Haus’) means the same as House in English.
At last Unterwegsmann finished his two-year course, returned to Cameroon and became a Bishop. Later, the Zimmermann contracted kidney problem. He managed to finish his own two years program, returned to Cameroon and died. May he rest in peace! Indeed, life is a contradiction. Destiny is not the same for everyone. That is why my people say that if a rat follows a lizard to jump into a pond, the lizard will come out dry while the rat will suffer from acute moisture.
As I was typing this write-up, a text came into my Whatsapp which says that sitting for more than four hours can cause damage to the spinal cord. The speaker recommends taking a walk after sitting down for such number of hours. If that is true, then, some of us who sit long in the office, at the confessional and in our rooms will soon find walking sticks. Those of us who sit and drive for long hours are liable of paralysis. I asked myself, ‘What is the fate of someone who lies down for several hours? Can it cause bedridden’?
Nowadays, most people go on special diets. Some eat food without salt or pepper. Some avoid red meat but consume white meat. Some of us cannot differentiate between red meat and white meat. For such persons, meat is meat. Someone defines white meat as any meat that does not have red blood in it while red meat is any meat which contains red blood corpuscle.
A certain man abstains from chicken meat but he eats half dozen of eggs every day. Does a chicken not come from an egg? How can one abstain from lizard but eats rat? Some avoid red oil and cook with olive oil. Are both not oils? Does the stomach distinguish between red oil and white oil? A particular sick man went to hospital. After diagnosis, his doctor asked him to avoid red oil.
He went home and resorted to cooking with engine oil. For him, if engine oil can keep a car engine working, then it can likewise make his sickly body healthy again. Those who consume excessive oil are liable to suffering from internal and external combustion.
If an aeroplane flies without landing, the lives of the passengers are in serious jeopardy. Let me now drive my point home. The moral law states that virtue lies in the middle. An English saying states that too much of everything is bad. Laughter is said to be the best medicine, but if someone laughs for no reason, then he needs medicine. No food or drink is bad as such.
However, too much consumption is problematic. A little of this and a little of that is the best recommendation. Nonetheless, something must kill a man, whether you eat and drink or abstain from both. There is no death without a cause attached to it. Unfortunately, it is impossible to collect our death certificates before going to the grave. However, the grave is not our final destination.
The last bus stop is Heaven or Hell. It is not what we eat or drink that merits us eternal life or eternal damnation. Rather, living virtuous life while on earth is the guarantee of eternal life. Eternal damnation means eternal suicide. The Struggle continues!