I’m banjaxed. I’m like the wreck of the Hesperus lately. Sometimes I look behind me to see if any bits have fallen off as I walk. My body is actually making creaking noises, now that can’t be good. If I close my eyes I can imagine myself swinging in a hammock aboard a 19th century clipper ship. I am below decks in a corner of the captain’s cabin and just above the sound of the ocean, I can hear the ship creak as the timbers move. It sounds almost romantic until I open my eyes and remember that it’s my shoulder making that noise.
This morning I woke up lying on my back. My arms were elbows bent, fists to my temples across my pillow, in what I am sure would look like a natural sleeping position. Do you think I could rotate my feckin’ left shoulder out of that position? When I did, my back locked, so I twisted my body and my left knee touched my right knee and …you don’t want to know. I’m not even that old…relatively.
I saw Cian Healy the week before last. For those unfamiliar with Irish Rugby, he is a beast of a lad who can bench press 440 lbs – with ease apparently. I can barely press my arse up off a bench these days so we have little in common. He had the look of a fella that could carry a couple of bullocks under each arm and still shake your hand.
Now, I was never built quite the same, but he brought me back to a time when I could cycle fifteen miles to work and back each day, and afterwards go for a five km run before training. Unlike the bauld Cian, I was a more slender athlete. There was more meat on a butcher’s pencil to be fair. If I stood sideways in the shower, I’d come out dry. Ah dem were de days. I never put an ounce of weight on until I was thirty. My -how times have changed.
Someone once told me that aging is a process. Bo**ocks! It’s a pain in the arse that’s what it is. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the number thing. I’m ok with that. I don’t even mind the blonde becoming platinum or the extra crinkle or two on my auld face. What I do object to, is the regularity with which bits of me need a service. I hate going to the doctor – I really do. Now leaving aside the troubles this old ticker has caused me in recent years, I really think the rest of me should have held up a little better and I refuse to go running for medical assistance with every ailment. Besides I’m not even sure what’s normal anymore.
I was standing in front of the mirror the other day, as you do, and my left shoulder was screaming at me. It was calling me all sorts of names, telling me I was some baxtard for ever playing basketball when I was a young fella. I looked at my shoulder and could see no discernible difference between it and my less upset right shoulder. In fact they looked exactly the same.
So then I looked at my left knee and again, it was cursing me. Wasn’t I the feckin’ eejit for riding bikes to work, when I could have got the bus, and what the feck was all that running about eh? Once more, his neighbour the right knee, stood there quietly, not a moan or the hint of a complaint out of him, and it got me thinking.
The one affliction that I’ve had since birth is dodgy vision in my left eye. Now there I was looking out of my good right eye, at my ropey left eye, fecked left knee, my bitchin’ and moanin’ left shoulder and didn’t my heart go and actually shut down completely at one point altogether, and that was a lefty too. Hold on, I thought… There’s a pattern developing here.
I’m right handed, I dress to the right, kick a ball best with my right foot and my hair, let loose to it’s own devices, will try to fall to the right. Now to be fair, these days when I say ‘fall to the right’ it’s more of a memory thing. I’m not bald but the days of hair long enough to fall anywhere are long gone (Aah my Leif Garret days). Yes it would seem that I am left-aflictidy or I suffer from the well-known affliction of leftsideacacia-guntheredthefuckiosis.
They say that youth is wasted on the young, but I don’t know, maybe it’s partly true. If only I knew how fabulous I was when I was fabulous, instead of thinking that I was anything but. There was the odd occasion where I let my hair down and relaxed for half a second, to indulge myself with thoughts of minor fabulosity. Little moments like when I bought myself a lemon cheesecloth shirt for a date and went into town feeling like a million dollars, only to be stood up (Long story – she’d had a good excuse really ) and to feel instantly crushed as my young head saw only rejection in that moment. I went home deflated, feeling a little less like David Soul despite the hair-cut, but somehow still singing ‘Don’t give up on us Baby’ in my head.
Don’t get me wrong, I had my little swagger, “yeah baby”, but it was very much a self-conscious, not letting anyone see the nervous little imp beneath the bravado type of thing. I walked the walk, talked the talk, but never truly believed back then. Perhaps that’s what they mean by youth being wasted. I certainly didn’t know what I had, I only thought of what I hadn’t got and by that I don’t mean possessions.
As I’ve matured (some might think that statement questionable) I have learned to value the good things about myself. I still have a swagger that belies any insecurities remaining, but I throw that out for fun mostly these days. I don’t embarrass which is good, and I have been known to use this to my advantage. I certainly give the impression that I’m incorrigible at times but that’s deliberate and all for fun. It is something I’ve always had to some extent ,but only learned to appreciate as I have grown older.
But there’s the trade-off. Age brings additional confidence to be more true to yourself, I suppose. Unfortunately in my case at least, the wear and tear is a nuisance that I find particularly frustrating. I still go at things like a bat out of fell, throwing myself into a physical task with abandon like a twenty year old, only now I’m fecked for a couple of weeks afterwards.
I think the problem is that I’m so right side dependent that all the fitness levels I built up over the younger years, has settled to one side. I have the body of a twenty five year old on one side, with all the decrepitude settling in over to the left. If you were to ask me how I am feeling, I can probably say with a fair amount of confidence that I’m all right. I blame it all on my leftsideosis. The only question now, is can I do anything about it now or is it too late?
Haven’t read a Max Power book yet? I think it’s time to pick one up.
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