Guest post: Guilt-edged

Bananas with the Globe and MailToday was in need of humor. Here is another guest post from Kate Gilderdale (the original can be found here), who blogs at The Jaundiced View.

I found a website that lists (in a most unfortunate typeface) 29 types of humor. I’d say Kate’s writing combines – not always in the same post — wit, irony, understatement, repartee, satire, and that je ne sais quoi that can only be acquired by growing up in the British Isles. The word urbane also comes to mind. At any rate, I find that Kate’s posts brighten my days.


I know you can have Catholic guilt and Jewish guilt but you really don’t need religion to make you feel that whatever goes wrong is somehow your fault.

I feel guilty when I go through customs even though I am scrupulous about not bringing in anything illegal. I feel guilty when I go the dentist in case I haven’t flossed in the approved manner. I feel guilty when I try to defend my decision not to be tested for a disease I haven’t got, or don’t know I’ve got, or might have because at some point I’ll have to die of something – simply because I’d rather not know.

Now The Globe and Mail Life section reveals I could be guilty of hastening my demise by eating fruit. See The New Enemy in today’s paper, which warns that bananas are the arch enemy of the serious dieter and “that the high fructose content makes grapes and cherries as unhealthy as a plate of cookies.” Or not. Depending on which ‘experts’ you believe.

My chances of survival look gloomier by the day. I’m not training for a marathon, or even a half-marathon, my pecs and abs are frankly flabby and the only exercise I get is walking, gardening (on the odd occasion the spring monsoon lets up) and fidgeting. I don’t own a pedometer, or catalogue the kilometres I cover, or even measure my daily consumption of alcohol units.

I am a (non-power) walking time bomb. A poster person for decadent self-neglect. My name is Kate and I eat bananas.

Are we not one world?

Having yet again won the battle with Microsoft Word to retain the spelling I intended, I add this note to Americans: In the UK, Canada, Australia, and many other parts of the English-speaking world, “kilometer” is spelled “kilometre.”

There are two pronunciations: KIL-o-mee-tər and ki-LOM-i-tər. The first pronunciation follows the general rule for pronouncing metric units (CENT-i-mee-tər) and is preferred by the BBC. The second is preferred by scientists, as it follows the stress pattern for the names of measuring instruments (ther-MOM-i-tər).

For an obscure discussion of whether Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam objected to the first pronunciation, arguing that “kilo” and “metre” come from the Greek, a language that stresses the antepenultimate syllable, see E-mail Discussions on “Peeves” Topics. Nostalgically, this modest page contains entries dating back to 1998, when the Internet was so much younger than it is now.

Related posts:
Guest post: A sound mind in a disintegrating body
Guest post: A fat lot of good
“Tyranny of health” on KevinMD
Healthy lifestyles serve political interests
The politics behind personal responsibility for health
The tyranny of health then and now
The tyranny of health
The problem is you


3 Responses to Guest post: Guilt-edged

  1. Hi Jan
    I’m laughing in the face of death right this minute by eating a bowl of Cheerios topped with sliced bananas…

    I too really enjoy Kate’s writing – I’m a recent fan of The Jaundiced View, thanks to you.

    This guilt business, however, is not a laughing matter. I grew up in a rabidly Catholic family and attended a convent boarding school through high school, so I know guilt. In fact, many heart attack survivors have told me that the overriding feature of their trip to the E.R. in mid-heart attack (besides sheer terror) was the need to apologize for being such a bother!

    PS Thanks for the primer on Canadian spelling. I’m acutely aware when blog-writing that the majority of my readers don’t use our spellings of ‘favourite’ or ‘centre’ or ‘metre’, but I use these (correct!) forms anyway . . .


    Thanks for this, Jan.

    • Thanks for the comment, Carolyn. Glad you also enjoy Kate.

      There is substance to your observation of feeling a need to apologize when seeing a doctor. In the “old days,” people didn’t go to the doctor for something minor, like a headache or a stomach ache. In my opinion (back on my favorite soap box), there are so many disturbing headlines about why we should be anxious about our health that it becomes hard to gauge when a doctor’s visit is advisable. Better safe than sorry, definitely, but there’s also the fear of being labeled one of the “worried well.”

      Out of curiosity, I looked up “Canuck,” not knowing its origin or the extent of its use (such as, is it merely a hockey team). According to Wikipedia: “”Canuck” is a slang term for Canadians. Its origins are ambiguous and its usage varies from affectionate to derogatory.” The discussion of the possible etymology is quite extensive. Seems it’s always affectionate when used by Canadians.

      Cheers – Jan

  2. Good points, Jan – some of us are afraid of being seen as the “worried well” even in mid-heart attack!

    Re the term “Canucks”: I would agree, it’s virtually always affectionate when used by Canadians on each other (e.g. expressing delight while travelling in a foreign country when you come across another red maple leaf-toting Canuck!) Or, for hockey fans, the nail-biting shared angst of following our Canucks towards their Stanley Cup destiny. We live in hope…