If The Mediterranean Diet Is So Damn Good, Why Aren't There Any Functioning Countries There

This week the Wall Street Journal cynically posed this question. I say cynically because the WSJ thinks mostly in terms of money. And yet, haven't most people learned you don't measure a life by its bank accounts. Instead, by the wealth of its foundations, families and friendships. To test that out you don't go to Wrigley Field on a noisy summer day, you visit a hospice on a quiet winter night.

Don't wrinkle up your face...! I'm not saying you have to go; just saying you have to consider.

Look, we all get the same 60 minutes per hour. Not the same number of hours, but that's another story. What we do with our hours depends on a lot of things, but one of the more important is this thing we call prioritizing. When you've got a free weekend, do you go golfing or hunting with the gang, or do you take the people you love to some thing special? That's prioritizing,and that's what people near the end of the journey tend to look back on.

So maybe the WSJ has it wrong. Maybe what's so good about te Mediterranean diet is, well, the Mediterranean. You know, that special sunny basin of ancient culture in lands like Italy, Greece and Spain where our species seems to have first learned about the 'good life.' Until the age of Mediterranean power three and four centuries ago, the human race spent most of its time hunting, gathering, farming, and urbanizing. Then with the rise of Greece and Rome and later Spain, liesure-time became more of a priority.

Right down to today's lyrical travel brochures about "lands of perpetual sunshine," "people who know how to savor life," and "come live the days of wine and roses with us."

This is not to say the Mediterranean culture is the only sunny culture; but it is to suggest these lands seem to have mastered the art of the long lunch, the grand siesta, the nights without end, and the passion for sheer passion. It's been said that in contrast to the Germans in WWII, their Italian allies made much better lovers than warriors; depending on who says it, that is either a salute or a sneer!

Anyway, here's my own Italian take on the WSJ. Banks accounts, investment portfolios, and stock markets are each important parts of a nation's economy. However, what they have to do with a nation's happiness index is open to debate. Lets debate it over a long ravioli and wine dinner at my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. If you can change my mind, I'll pay the bill......

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