As an inveterate reader of packaging, 37-year-old Kettering warehouseman Keith Markup always knew that excessive consumption of mints could produce laxative effects. But these days, he says, he just doesn't care.
"There are children being bombed and shot in Gaza, people being blown out of the sky over Ukraine, women being raped and mutilated across Africa...so what if I experience mild discomfort after eating a few too many mints? I mean, hello? Perspective?"
Keith would traditionally limit his mint intake to one packet of sugarfree 'Extra' mints every day. "I wasn't sure what they meant by 'excessive consumption'. Is that two packets a day? Five? I didn't want to risk finding out, so I kept a lid on it; kept things under control. Then at work last week we heard over the radio the latest death toll in Gaza and I thought, you know, fuck it. I'm going to break into my second packet."
He claims there's no going back. "Not with the way the world is headed today. There are kids who don't have pants to shit in, why should I get all hot and bothered about maybe having a little accident in my combats? Who really cares? Besides, I like mints."
Global conflicts and grinding poverty are causing Keith to question other aspects of everyday life. "Who says socks can't go in the pants draw, when there are people in Sudan with no access to fresh water? It just doesn't make sen..."
At this point in our interview Keith suddenly grimaced and shifted in his seat, saying "Oh god, oh god....oh......god." Then he sort of half-rose from his chair and ran awkwardly towards the exit.