One hundred fifty two!

No, friends, that is not the title of the upcoming one hundred and forty-eighth prequel to 300. That is the Hillbilly's current cholesterol level, down from a heart-wrenching (literally) 231 last summer.

You may ask yourself, "C'mon, Bahamian Hillbilly, how does a man in his mid-30s get high cholesterol?" Well, says I, through a strict regimen of shrimp stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, and deep-fried. OK, I'm stretching the truth. I didn't eat that much bacon.

But no more! Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Symonette of the Bahamian Wellness Centre, my arteries have one third less cholesterol than they did a mere seven months ago.

For those of you who don't watch Oprah, I'll explain what cholesterol is the same way my doctor explained it to me: Cholesterol is Bad.

If this were the 1950s, that's where the explanation would end. Back then, eating was much easier because everything was either good or bad. Milk was good. Chocolate was bad. Now, in some circles, people would rather drink out of the toilet than put lactose in their mouths. And chocolate contains gluethlyenproponol, a compound I did not just make up and which, according to many studies I've read about in my junk mail, will make me so irresistible to women, I'd have to drink my weight in milk in order for my bones to withstand the onslaught. I gather many of these studies are based in Belgium.

All this means that it's impossible to tell people what you eat without getting advice thrown at you about its negative effects. "I drink lots of milk," I used to say at parties because according to studies, that ranks just below, "I'm very famous and my crap is made of pure gold," as a pick-up line. (I used to say, "I'm very wealthy and old," but we all saw how that turned out for J. Howard Marshall.)

Anyway, I'd say I drank lots of milk and inevitably, I'd meet up with someone acutely interested in dairy products who would discuss, at length, what cheese was doing to my lower intestine. (Apparently, it takes up residence and acts as a gatekeeper for all other....ummm....items. And it's a pretty strict one.)

The point of all this is that, like the Force, there is a good side and a dark side to cholesterol. Cholesterol is no longer Bad. Some cholesterol is Good. Not sure how you tell the difference. Check its rap sheet, I guess, and see if it's clogged anyone else's arteries in the past.

As for my efforts, they did not include drugs although they were suggested to me by people who suggested them on the basis that I could then eat what I wanted to eat, consequence-free. Not sure how to counter that kind of "logic" but at age 35, I thought I'd give it a go with diet and exercise before I start in on the drugs.

Besides which, the list of side effects they list on the commercials for these things are getting so far out there, I almost think the ad people are making them up. I swear I heard one drug warn that if taken in large doses, you may experience the vague notion that Dr. Phil is a competent psychologist and not just a spoof character created by Jeffrey Tambor.