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I listened with a sadness and anger that the Honourable Jim Flaherty,who recently retired as the Finance Minister of Canada, died suddenly as a result of a heart attack in his home in Ottawa.

For the past year he has not looked well. He had experienced some very painful skin problems but as he told the press: "they were not the reason for his departure from government."

My best friend Gerry served with Jim in the Ontario Legislature for many years. Recently he underwent successful open heart surgery. They both served their country with the distinction but with little free time on their hands fitness was not part of their daily lives. Times sure is fleeting. Too soon the mind forgets but the body remembers with a vengeance as oneís health deteriorates.

Was Jimís death and anomaly for men? Stats Canada statistics for acute myocardial infraction (heart attack) has a disturbing message: "five men to every women dies of heart related causes."

No wonder there a so few men living in the retirement homes, The numbers show that we males are not great in the longevity department. Most of us never make it to the centennial department.

While middle aged women are in their prime we macho men are suffering from all the maladies of being overweight, high blood pressure, cholesterol.

Most men are achievement orientated driven by mission statements, dead lines, aims and objectives that are the basis of their raison díetre. Time is of the essence with cell phones captivating their harried lives. Working lunches, twelve hours a day of meeting along with long distance travel sure is not a good recipe for a healthy life style. Half-heartedly men promise that to-morrow they will take the time to try to reduce the stress and take care of their health.

Rarely are men able to prioritize their needs over the demands of their work place.

The bible teaches us that the life-span for men is: "Three score and ten our years may number. Four score year if granted the vigor. Laden with trouble and travail life quickly passes. It flies away".

Jim Flaherty died way too soon at the age of sixty-four. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned?.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com