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Bah, humbug for Christmas

Boz magazine, 72: 12, December 2000

Brian J Ford

You'd better avoid Christmas this year. Hide out until it's over. The European Union authorities are going to issue a series of warnings that will make you realise how, every year in December, you have been dicing with fate. Christmas is a hazard, and in the modern era of health and safety everyone has to get acquainted with the facts.

Your turkey, for example, is almost certainly contaminated with Campylobacter. Or Salmonella. Perhaps both. Handle it with disposable gloves (you can find them near the towel dispenser in any garage forecourt) and make sure the gloves are safely destroyed afterwards. It's also best to avoid the stuffing. Scientific research in Aberdeen has shown that intravenous injection of even small amounts of sage and onion stuffing can cause thrombosis


Don't have sausages, either, because statistics show that everyone who eats sausages faces a fatal outcome. My uncle used to eat huge amounts of sausages, and sure enough he ended up dead. He hadn't even turned ninety. What a tragic waste of life.

Once you eat the turkey, do take care with those needle-like sesamoid bones. In the stone age, native craftsmen used to use them to punch holes in leather when making moccasins. If they can make holes in leather, just think what they could do to you. Come to think of it, with the risk of infection and the chance of septicaemia through needle stick with turkey bones, it's probably just as well to avoid turkey altogether. The vegetables aren't much better. Sprouts contain carcinogens, and carrots can turn you orange. Potatoes are in the deadly nightshade family, and become highly toxic when exposed to light. Boiled vegetables are a hazard in themselves - boiling water can destroy tissues and cause lifelong scars. Best to steer clear of veg, then.

The pudding is best avoided. Suet is full of saturated animal fats, the dried fruits are often produced under highly unsanitary conditions, and the rum taste is due to chemical flavouring. We all know how dangerous chemicals can be. I'd skip the pudding, too, if you want to be cautious. To be safe, a little lightly boiled lettuce should be all right, along with scrambled egg. Discard the yolks (so rich in cholesterol and dangerous doses of vitamins) and just scramble the whites. Make sure you wear heat-resistant gloves during this potentially dangerous procedure, and wearing plastic safety goggles is just as well, too. Can't be too careful.

The Christmas tree is something you need to think carefully about. Every tree we cut down is a loss of a carbon dioxide sink, so by buying a Christmas tree you are making the greenhouse problem even worse. The needles from the tree are sharp, and can stick into your feet at Christmas. People get blood infections from injuries like this, so it's as well to play safe.

The lights are a potential threat. There are 240 volts across a string of Christmas tree lamps, more than enough to kill an adult and double the voltage they have in America. I am surprised that Chrtistmas tree lights haven't been banned already. Then there's alcohol. Chemically this is known as ethanol, C2H5OH, and it's one of the most lethal life-poisons known to science. Nothing can survive in alcohol, which destroys living cells and denatures proteins. No wonder it's used to sterilise so much scientific apparatus. Alcohol is far too poisonous for any right-thinking European to imbibe.

Christmas crackers have been around for a century or more, but it's high time we put them in perspective. Many of the coloured dyes used to make the crÍpe paper are toxic to human metabolism, and the explosive cracker itself poses two dangers. The chemicals are the same as those used in early artillery shells, and we all know the dangers of high explosives. Not only that, but the sudden bang of a pulled cracker produces an acute psychological response that can have serious consequences. Some groups of people, particularly the elderly, are highly susceptible to the shock of an unexpected explosion, and you don't want to have a dead relative on your hands at Christmas, do you? Of course not. Wait till spring.

Now, I know what you're thinking. At this rate it would be best to stay in bed throughout the Christmas season. Oh no! Big mistake. Lying down in bed can cause hypostatic pneumonia, and the pressure of the legs on a mattress can cause a deep vein thrombosis. Staying in bed unnecessarily is a threat to life and limb. So - do have a happy holiday, won't you? With a little care and forward planning you will soon get used to this new era, and are quite likely to survive this Christmas.

Then you can start preparing yourself for the next.


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