Horse flu, gambling and related ramblings

This bout of flu which kept me home today got me thinking about the national crisis we recently experienced. No, it had nothing to do with terrorism (to which we are to remain alert but not alarmed), the environment, or the impending parliamentary elections. We were shaken by a crisis of equestrian dimensions: Equine flu put much of our racing calendar on hold this year.

Word has it that jewel-clad trainers and height challenged jockeys had to downgrade their sports cars, whilst punters had to find a useful way to expend their weekly income, some even on food and family. Exorbitantly priced hats did not find their way onto the heads of botox-injected, surgically enhanced women with laser-bleached pearly whites who traditionally don the racecourse with a champagne glass in hand. A national tragedy for our culture and our economy. Luckily enough, by closing the state of Victoria’s borders to all incoming horses who may be carrying strains of this debilitating virus, we recovered in time to hold our most illustrious race, the Melbourne Cup, a fortnight ago.

Not once did anyone stop and think about the poor horses and their dilemma. Try having a runny nose with the capacity of a fuel bowser. It’s nothing to be sneezed at. Mine’s hardly running and it’s got my head going in circles. I digress. Would our world really be so much worse off if we didn’t gamble on horses? I propose the opposite would be true.

It’s like alcohol. We love it so much we can’t bear to admit the statistics which point to it being our society’s biggest problem drug, one whose deleterious reach extends to all aspects of health, civil and family life and society. But hey, it’s culture right? I propose that so is disrespecting women and honour killing in other parts of the world. I don’t mean to be exaggerative or alarmist, or even compare these evils. It would certainly be out of line to do so. I’m just suggesting that we are all blind to some things when we wear the blinkers of our cultures, and alcohol cannot be seen as an exception. Nonetheless, this sounds like a topic to inspire a future posting.

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