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Mayday Mayday Mayday!

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I was reminded of the famous distress call Mayday Mayday Mayday when I sat down to write this item a few days after May 1, also known as May Day for the labour movement.

My May Day story goes back to when I was a medical student and proverbially broke.  I sat down to think of a job that was not too hard, and paid well.  The answer was a “wharfie” as wharf laborers were known in Australia.

Brim full of enthusiasm I went to the wharves and saw “the boss” who told me he could give me a job, but I had to belong to their union, the Waterside Workers Federation (WWF).  He even told me where their office was located.  Such a nice man!

Half an hour later I was in the WWF office asking to join such an august body.  “What wharf are you working on, son?” I was asked.  I replied that I was applying for membership so that I could work on the wharf.  “You can’t join the WWF until you are working on the wharves!” was the reply.  “But I can’t work on the wharves without the WWF ticket,” I countered.  “That’s right,” the union official replied, and it was then I learned what a ‘closed shop was all about!

But I began this with the Mayday Mayday Mayday distress call in mind.  The origin of this is interesting.  In 1923, a senior radio officer, Frederick Stanley Mockford, in Croydon Airport in London, England was asked to think of one word that would be easy to understand for all pilots and ground staff in the event of an emergency.  Much of the traffic he was dealing with was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in France.  With both the French and English languages in mind, he came up with the unique word “Mayday”, the Anglicized spelling of the French pronunciation of the word “m’aider” which means “help me”.

Which, in turn, gets me to the real subject of this e-news.  How often do you ignore distress calls from your body?  Your liver may be shouting Mayday Mayday Mayday, but you are ignoring it.  Your blood pressure ditto.  Your blood sugar may be far too high, but you can’t hear its Mayday Mayday Mayday call either.

What to do?  Invest a very small amount in your future by getting a check-up, and incidentally if you get one for you, you get another for your partner free!  (But that is only till the end of May.)


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