When we kids would say, "Stop smoking, Mr. Sam!" Sam would say tell us to leave her spouse alone, something about "After all, you could get hit by a bus tomorrow, you know!" And she'd hand him another bowl of ice-cream, which he'd grasp with his tobacco-stained fingers.
(I should also mention that under Sam's care, I broke my arm, and later, one finger on each hand--various cabin and bike accidents, and Sam would take us fishing on a LIVE railroad trestle that spanned a river--and yet my mom sent us back there!).
So I can't remember exactly--heart disease or lung cancer--but Mr. Sam did indeed depart somewhat early from us, and Sam needed to babysit more than ever to support herself.
I finally found what I think might be an explanation to why a majority of people are able to eat Krispy Cremes while the death toll from chronic diseases piles up around their feet, and rising.
In this marvelous book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz says,
"Respondents [in a study] judged accidents of all types to cause as many deaths as diseases of all types when in fact disease causes 16 times more deaths than accidents...dramatic, vivid causes of death (accident, homicide, tornado, flood, fire) were overestimated whereas more mundane causes of death (diabetes, asthma, stroke, tuberculosis) were underestimated."I just watched a medical malpractice case where the deceased was a man who worked hard to support his family, became super stressed at work, ate at ton of junk food, was overweight, ignored a 20-year history of high cholesterol, etc., and subsequently died of heart disease in his mid-forties. The family blamed the doctor (for not installing that fancy internal defibrillator-thingie Dick Cheney has that costs $32K?), but I they really should have been suing McDonald's. And the jury did agree that the doc could only do so much against the onslaught of tranfats, corn syrup, GMOs, toxins, etc. It was sad all around--the sad widow also had lung cancer on top of all this (both had been smokers). I kept gazing at the children through the trial, sending them telepathic messages to not eat junk food.
So I guess the lesson is, in the absence of flood and fire, you may want to tell the FertilityBitch to shaddup, wanting to eat your tube of Pringles in peace and leave cleaning up your health habits for another day. But that habit is sixteen--(16!) times more likely to kill you than getting hit by Sam's proverbial bus...