The merry-go-round of ageing and my Leftsideacacia-guntheredthefuckiosis

The merry-go-round of ageing and my Leftsideacacia-guntheredthefuckiosis

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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Eating Cream cakes with Oprah…

Eating Cream cakes with Oprah…

I’m thinking of getting a full body replacement.  There are too many bits of me that require attention these days. If it’s not my back it’s my knees or my shoulder, my dodgy ankle or some random pain that just appears and then goes away without rhyme nor reason. Leaving aside my altogether far too dodgy ticker, the occasional digestive problem and  deteriorating eyesight and hearing, if I was a dog, you’d put me down. I’m not even all that old (relatively).

I blame it on good living. When I was younger, I played all sorts of sports, rode my bike everywhere and ran far too many miles including a marathon. The result? Every bone, joint, ligament and piece of shagging cartilage in my possession, is now complaining to me that I should have stayed in my bed, eating crisps and watching sport instead of playing it.   To be fair, given my cardiac genetics that would have seen me in the grave long before now, so perhaps the aches and pains are good value for a life well lived after all.

In fairness, I am still a magnificent rugby player- well from the comfort of my armchair at least. My darling Joanna threatens to film me watching Ireland play, as apparently I kick every ball and take every tackle as if I was there. Not true, I think she’s making it up.  In fairness I do get a little excited.  Tomorrow I will watch Ireland play Scotland on the edge of my seat and to steal a quote, “It’s not the despair – I can stand the despair. It’s the hope I can’t take.”

Now the problem with me is that I have the attention span of an ADHD gnat. I’ll forget completely that I’m knackered in more ways than I care to really admit, and then go do some ridiculously vigorous physical activity as though I am still twenty years old and in full possession of my faculties. Cue, disc prolapse or anterior cruciate ligament damage.   But I can’t help myself.


My back is in a terrible state – far too wrecked in that department to go into detail. It is so bad that I realised people were noticing and making allowances for me. In response, I cover it up completely now.  There is nothing more boring than listening to me bang on about how much pain I’m in, and when the person being bored is yourself…you’re in trouble. Now if anyone cares to ask, I say that I’m fine. 

I can’t ever allow myself to become someone who is stopped by the niggles that creep in as you get older.  What should I do? Should I say no I won’t do that because I’ll be in bits tomorrow?  No Damn it.  I’ll do it and BE in bits tomorrow, at least that way I am living my life and not giving in to decrepitude. God knows how much more I’ll be afflicted in twenty years’ time if I survive that long. But what do I do? Should I give in to the big things? No way buddy!  Maybe allow the small things to take me out for a while? Afraid not.

I’m not saying I don’t have the odd mumbly grumble, of course I do.  If I’m sitting with my leg up, sporting an ice pack, it’s hard not to see I have a problem.  When I’m fubarred after I’ve dug three feet of snow from the driveway because they haven’t fixed all the  blockages in my ticker, well fair enough, but I’ll be fecked if I don’t go clear it anyway. I know I drive my darling Jo nuts sometimes.  She watches me like a hawk and tells me to stop as I try to assuage her with, “Yeah just this bit and I’ll come in” but she is never fooled. I guess some of it is inspired because a little part of me, always wants to be her Superman, no matter how creaky I get.


I know that I’m not alone.  We all have some physical issue from time to time or in some cases, all the time to a lesser or greater degree than I.  One of my pet hates is however, the whinge that is exaggerated for sympathy.   Honestly, I work with a permanent and reasonably high level of pain every day.  I get up early, do a full day’s work and anything else that needs to be done.  I write, I walk the dogs every day and so on. It’s called getting on with life and I neither want nor need anyone’s sympathy. 

When I hear someone with a cold, whine on about having ‘the flu’ or a person with a minor ache turn it into a living nightmare, it rankles me.  I see people I love carry on, get on with life, overcoming great physical distress in some cases, but never stopping until the job is done.   My nearest and dearest is one such person and on top of my undying love, she had my respect and admiration for her ability to overcome whatever is thrown at her.

I am not sure where such resilience comes from. Grumpy auld feckers like me, will cite how we were brought up the hard way. We had to walk to school in seventeen foot drifts of snow in our bare feet, each of us carrying a lump of coal to light the school fire so the teacher could stay warm, while he beat us repeatedly with sticks the size of tree branches and forced us to rote learn the entire one hundred and eleventy times tables…and that was just the teachers pets…Lucky Bas**rds!

It’s no wonder we get on with it (save the odd whinge like this in a blog). Every generation since has had it easy…that’s what we would say if it wasn’t for the crippling arthritis in our jaws, brought on my them being punched repeatedly by our friends as entertainment as we had nothing else to play with when we were kids and no feckin’ telly.  Aah telly when I was a lad… now there was a reason to go outside and hurt yourself…

I suppose when I’m nostalgic I look back with fondness at  The Clangers and Captain Pugwash.  I romanticise about ‘quality’ programmes like Mannix, Longstreet or The Rockford Files… ah yes dem were de days!  Me arse! 

I remember watching the test card waiting for the telly to start broadcasting at 4 or 5 pm and then watching the National Anthem after the Late Late Show at 11.30 on a Saturday as it came to a close. Nostalgia has a way of forgetting all the sh*te that was on the box back then.  So it’s no wonder I spent so much time outside injuring myself and then found my way into sports where I could hurt myself even more.


I’m sometimes surprised that I can get up of the couch… (Sometimes it can be a struggle to be fair)… but where was I?  Oh no I forget!  I’ve lost my train of thought.  That’s it…It’s probably early onset dementia!   I wouldn’t be at all surprised.  That’s either from watching all those rubbish TV programmes or from falling on my head once too often as I jumped off the garden shed when I was seven… So remember- play it safe.  Nothing too physical when you’re young, feet up watchin’ the telly ,eating cream cakes with Oprah and…and .. oh hang on.. is Oprah even on the telly these days…  Damn this feckin’ creeping dementia!

Of course I have to add a caveat here.  My mother always warned me about not saying you had something that you didn’t actually have.  It fell under the general description of “Mocking is catching” so just to be safe … I’m grand, I’m fine…. nothing to see here…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –
twitter @maxpowerbooks1

Universal book links

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