Red Wine and Manuka Honey!

“Happy birthday to you”. The strains of the familiar song was belted out by the assembled group. I looked at the huge cake before me with 100 spelled out with candles glowing brightly.

I scanned the crowd around me, there was one other centenarian there besides me. It was the year 2038 and the life expectancy was now 90, it was about 60 when I was born.

“How did you manage it? Living to  100, I mean, and in such good shape,” said my friend Harry, who was 90.

“Red wine and Manuka honey,” I smiled.

“Hey, that sounds good!” shouted Harry.

“Did you have many worries as you grew older,” said Jenny, who was 80.

“I’ve had a few worries through my life, but I’ve tried to keep them to a minimum. But when I hit 70, my biggest concern was not how long I would live, but how I would age and what my quality of life would be.”

“Blow out the candles!” cried Ellen, who was 86.

I blew them out easily and made a wish. The group clapped.

“Well, you’ve done better than Mozart’s nine children,” said John, who was 75, a mere youngster!

“How’s that, John?”

“Only two of his children made it to adulthood! Those two only got older by luck!” laughed John.

“Well, when I was 70, I felt I still had some tread on my tires, but as the years went by, I started to feel the road more and more. But I still can get around fairly well with the help of my cane.”

“I used to take life with a grain of salt. Now, I take a few milligrams of Valium!”

I laughed, John was the joker in the group.

Smiling, John continued: “We erode from the outside and from the inside. Isn’t that right, Dave?”

“That’s right, John, but it’s no joking matter!”

John went silent for a moment.

“Our outsides age with sunlight, rain, wind and cold. Our skin starts wrinkling. Our insides age with chemical reactions that generate trash in our system and then cells die. This rubbish accumulates over time and this is called aging. Some cells renew themselves, but not all.”

“Hey, Dave, lighten up! The rest of us want to live to 100 also!”

“Sorry people, the lighter side is that there is some self-repair and healing.”

“So what’s the end result?”

“Well, my friends, lets put it this way; there’s wear and tear on all of us, outside and inside, but some parts do repair themselves and this process equals aging!”

“Bring on the red wine and Manuka honey if this will protect me from becoming a gibbering sad old freak!” said John.

“Hurray for us!”

The entire Writing Group, all 20 of us, raised our glasses. We were all laughing our heads off!

“My doctor told me, laughter was the best medicine, I’m surprised they don’t charge us for it!”

Where would we be without John to lighten our day?

I continued: “We all write to keep our brains and senses stimulated. Creativity keeps you engaged with the world. We older people want to entertain and inform our readers. Even though we are not jumping around physically, we can express ourselves in our writing and get it out into the world. Creativity makes you feel alive!

The entire group shouted in unison: “We Are Writers!”

You need a passionate interest to keep you going!

We all went home that day standing a little straighter!




Note: Manuka honey is called the “healing” honey, known for being high in antioxidant properties and having anti-bacterial healing powers. The bees collect the nectar from the Manuka trees in New Zealand. This honey destroys harmful bacteria without damaging body tissue.

Phobia Panic

One day when I was meditating in my favorite watering hole, a fella jumped up on the green padded stool next to me and bumped my elbow!

“Sorry mister, I’m a bag of nerves!”

He was  a big blond chap, about mid-thirties, with a twitch in his right eyebrow. I’m very observant because I’m a writer.

“Bartender, give me a beer with a whisky chaser.”

“Wow, that’s heavy drinking for the afternoon,” I observed.

“Mister, I need it. I’ve got two phobias and on top of them I get panic attacks.”

He was hyperventilating as he spoke.

Could I help his chap with some cognitive therapy?

I finished my glass of red wine and ordered another.

“What are your phobias?”

“Claustrophobia and hypochondria,” he said, breathlessly.

‘The fear of being closed in and worry about having a disease,” I said, knowingly.

“Holy Cow mister, do you know a lot about these things?”

“Not a lot, but I am a writer and I do a lot of research.”

My panicky friend ordered another whisky!

“Hold on now, don’t drink so fast. I want you to listen to what I’ve got to say. It might help you!”

His eyes lit up with excitement.

“Can you really help me?”

“I’ll try,” I took a sip of wine and swirled it around my palate.

“How do your phobias manifest themselves?”

“Well, the other day I entered an elevator and I felt panicky right away. I felt trapped and then I started sweating. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I had palpitations!”

“Do you worry about having heart problems?”

“Yes, my father died of a heart attack.”

“Do you fret about getting a disease in general?”

“Yes, sometimes I feel like I’m losing control.”

“In the elevator, did you feel confined like the walls were coming in on you?”

“Yes, and I started having a panic attack also. I was sweating and shaking all over.”

I felt sorry for this chap, he’s got it bad.

“Do you suffer from the fear of things closing in?” he asked me.

“Not really, the only thing is sometimes when I want to go to the tavern I’m afraid it is closed!”

“That’s a joke, right?”

“Right, a little laugh to make you relax.”

“Okay, I’m relaxed, now what’s the treatment?”

“As far as your fear of heart disease, I would go to the doctor to make sure your heart is okay. Then stop monitoring your body constantly for evidence of disease, this just reinforces your fear.”

“That sounds logical to me. I’ll try it.”

“Now, when you go into enclosed spaces, I want you to breathe slow and deeply, inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Use some positive self-talk, such as “I can cope with this and any difficulty life brings”. Slow down and breathe deeply  and let go of anxious thoughts.”

He smiled and said, “I have to go now, thanks for the help.”

The next day the phobia chap came in the tavern and sat next to me again.

“Well, how did it go?” I asked, hoping it went well for him.

“Great! I went to the doctor and he told me:

“I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is:


The Melting Pot

I had a dream that I was on a different planet. This planet had one large Green Country and two small countries, one Blue and one Grey.

The Green Country was a rich country and was inhabited for thousands of years by the Green people. It was known as  a country of thoroughbred people!

Then one year the people from the Blue and Grey countries started sneaking into the Green Country through cracks in the border.

The Blue and Grey people were sick of their poor existence in their countries. They wanted a better life in the Green Country!

The government of the Green Country thought maybe this was a good thing, to have a mixture of people, it might work out to the benefit of the Green people!

After a while nobody knew how many Blue and Grey people were in the Green Country. There were wild estimates that infuriated the Green people. Some Green people said the estimates were exaggerated to stir up the population. It might be less than the estimates or it could be much more!

Life was hard where the Blue and Grey people came from, so they wanted to get into the Green Country, where life was good and there were many benefits!

Then large scale protests began in the streets of the Green Country. Social unrest was rampant, it became a thorny issue; should the Greens push out the Blues and Greys from the country? BUT, would that be against their Melting Pot Rights?

Walking through the streets and sitting on the park benches, you would hear all kinds of conflicting conversations:

“The Blues and Greys are getting the benefits of our Green Country without contributing to it,” said one Green, angrily.

“But some of them do bring skills to our country, that are needed,” said another Green.

“They are taking some of our jobs, when our people are unemployed. Should Green jobs go to illegal Blues and Greys?”

More and more Greens were coming to add to the conversations.

“Some illegals are having children here and the parents claim the right to stay in the Green Country. The Melting Pot Rights Act says they are entitled to a family life and can’t be kicked out!”

“The Blue and Grey children are born here, so they are legal citizens. But, if the illegal Blue and Grey parents weren’t here in the first place, their children would have been born some place else!”

“It’s hard to converse with some of the Blues and Greys.”

“Why is that?”

“Because they are well-balanced, they have a chip on both shoulders!” said a Green, laughing.

“We are suffering from over population!”

“Our leaders don’t know what to do. They have one meeting after another and nothing gets sorted out!”

“Can there be a solution to the problem, when there is so much bad feeling around?”

“Maybe we could stabilize the population in some way to allow some immigration.”

“One thing that has to be done is to plug up the cracks in the borders. Then maybe we could have an orderly in and out flow of migration.”

“It could work, if our leaders would agree to it and stop kicking the problem into the long grass!”

A big burly Green stepped into the crowd and said:

“The other day a Blue stopped a Grey on the street and thanked him for letting him into the Green Country and giving him so many benefits!”

He said: “But I’m not a Green!”

“Oh,” said the Blue. “Where are all the Greens?’

“Probably at work,” said the Grey.


All of a sudden two Greens jumped up on a box and started shouting. It was like a Bug House Square where anybody could get up and speak.

One Green said: “The Blues and Greys keep coming in with their strange ways, we Greens are losing out identity!”

The other Green shouted: “Someday we’re going to have to learn to live together!”


I woke up in a cold sweat.


“I Don’t Want To Do Anything!”

I remember the day my Long Lost Cousin came to me with a ghastly problem. Since I found him after many, many years, I felt very protective toward him. I try to help him over his problems.

“I just don’t feel like doing anything. I just want to lie in bed,” said my cousin, anxiously.

“How did this attitude come about?” I said, trying to get some background to the problem.

“Well, since I lost my job a month ago, I get very depressed at times. I feel like I have failed at a job that I liked and now I don’t feel like pursuing any activities!”

“A classic case of Motivational Paralysis!” I said, very authoritarian.

“On top of it all, my wife has been on my case constantly, with her innuendos!”

“What kind of innuendos?”

“Well, the other day she said, I should get a job in a sleep clinic. It would be my dream job.”

“That’s because you’re lying in bed too much!” I deduced.

“Then she said, I should get a job in a bakery, so I could loaf around all day!”

“Your wife should get a job as a comedienne,” I said, laughing.

My Long Lost Cousin looked very sad.

“Please cousin, help me! How do I get out of this depressed mood?”

“You need to work on two things. Your thinking and your doing!”

“Sounds complicated to me.”

“First, upgrade your thoughts. When you lost your job, you saw the world negatively. You became depressed and your thoughts became distorted and wrong. And finally, your mood hit rock bottom and you didn’t want to do anything.”

“So what now?”

“Turn your thoughts positive. Say, I will find another job!”

My cousin looked incredulous.

“Then elevate you mood by acting positively and doing constructive things. You are a thinker and a doer!”

I hoped I was getting through to him.

“You’ve lost your will power and any activity seems difficult and pointless. You are completely overwhelmed by the desire to do NOTHING!”

“But I like lying in bed, it’s easy to do and I can go to sleep and get out of my depressing world!”

“Now, that’s what I mean by WRONG THINKING!”

“Maybe you’re right cousin. Come to think of it, it’s boring and very painful thought-wise, moping around and criticizing myself.”

“Now, you’re getting the idea. Lets hear some more positive statements.”

“Okay, how’s this, I can’t sleep all the time. I have to get up and move my arms and legs, otherwise they will seize up!”

“Right on, cousin.”

“My problems won’t go away by lying in bed. I have to face them with positive ACTION!”

“Hurray, you’re on the way to recovery! Fight those wrong thoughts. Get rid of those bad emotions. Escape into ACTION!” Now, I was getting carried away!

As my cousin got up to leave, he said:

“I’m going to apply for some jobs tomorrow. One of them is in a bakery making loaves of bread. I won’t be loafing around either, I’ll be working hard. I will be using my loaf!”

“Good luck, cousin,” I said, laughing, as he walked out the door.