Owie

The tear of my left knee’s lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is only partial, according to Doc Russia. Nevertheless, it’s bad enough that I need 6-8 weeks’ “light duty” (as we called it in the army).

This means that I will not be able to make the Portledge high bird shoot in Devon with Mr. Free Market on Wednesday, because the shoot involves scrambling along muddy hillside paths and steep climbs and descents and both he and Doc Russia have banned me from any such foolishness. So High Bird Shooting will remain on Ye Olde Buckette Lyste until sometime in the future, and all my shotgun lessons at Barbury and Royal Bisley were for naught. (Not wasted, of course — lessons and practice are never wasted — but for this event, irrelevant.)

I’m even wearing a knee brace just to get up and down the stairs at Free Market Towers.

Other than a sprained ankle as a boy, this is the first time in my life that I’ve suffered any kind of serious physical injury.

And I don’t bloody like it.

What Have I Done?

Yesterday morning, a stranger’s face peered out of the mirror at me. This was because, in an uncharacteristically-impulsive action the night before, I shaved off my beard and mustache; and now, for the first time since Army boot camp in 1977, my face is naked.

Actually, it wasn’t impulsive. My facial hair grows like wildfire, and I just got sick of having to trim it about every other day. So I’m going to try this new look / sensation for a while*.

I grew a beard right after graduating from high school back in 1971, and even then I tired of trimming the damn thing — no Muslim-type ragged growth for me, thank you — but I was fortunate that I was always able to find a willing face-gardener to do the tiresome chore for me.

And speaking of which: several women in my long and checkered love life adored my beard and muzzie — one said that after kissing me, all other men felt like she was kissing a woman — but as my chances of ever kissing a woman in that way again are depressingly slim, I don’t really care. (And I’m going over to Britishland again in a few weeks so the odds grow even slimmer.)

Not that I’m looking to kiss a woman again, mind you. For one thing, cooties; and more importantly, that would require some kind of affection on my part, so fuhgeddabaht it.

I also trimmed my luxuriant British-styled hair back to its usual 3/4″ all-over length (no kidding, I did have my hair styled Over There), but that’s not really a change.

I think I look like a mugshot of a man wanted in twenty states for serial murder, but Doc Russia (who has a full, luxuriant Orthodox priest-type beard) thinks the clean shave makes me look younger.

Not that I care about that, either.

Thank goodness I have a decent badger-hair shaving brush and a choice between a single-edge (if I’m in a hurry) and straight razor (if I’m not). I do need to look at aftershave lotions, though; the last time I bought any was about 1979. Does anyone know if Halston still makes 1-12, or am I dating myself terribly by even suggesting it?


*No pics; I don’t do selfies and I can’t imagine why anyone would be interested in this nonsense either.

Oh Hell

Ever since Part 1 of my Britishland sabbatical and my horror at seeing what looked like a heavily-pregnant old man shooting clays (pic below), I’ve become very conscious of what I eat [diet details redacted because nobody wants to read that shit*].

As a heretofore-lifelong chocolate eater, however, I can honestly say I hate Charlie Martin. Why?

Fortunately, I’m not studying, the only tests I face are of willpower when confronting my fourth or fifth pint of 6X, the only test I want to “pass” is a police blood-alcohol test, and I’ve had enough “new information” to last me several lifetimes, thank you. So I won’t be hitting the Aero or Milky Bars (my erstwhile choco-drugs of choice) anytime soon.

Unless, that is,  some scientist discovers that eating chocolate will make me irresistible to 55+ year-old women (and as we all know, another medical study will then “prove” that eating chocolate is linked to geriatric leprosy or something).


*Yes, I’m on a diet, for the first time in my life. No, I’m not going to talk about it because dieters are more boring than first-time mothers or even vegans. If it works, you’ll see pictorial proof at some point; if not, I’ll just go back to eating chocolate and drinking 6X to wash down my fish & chips / steak pies, and nobody will be any the wiser. And finally: all dietary advice in Comments which includes the words “paleo”, “crossfit” and other such foulness will be summarily stricken. In fact, don’t bother with any advice at all. You have been warned.

Falling Over

For many years now, I’ve suffered from a mild form of vertigo — a feeling of dizziness felt especially in high places, but not necessarily just there either.

The first time I felt it was when I lived in Chicago. I had a bad cold, I’d just had a hot bath, and when I got out, I nearly fell over. I thought the feeling would pass, but the dizziness didn’t go away, and I started to feel really bad. I was alone in the apartment — The Mrs. had gone shopping with the kids — so in a panic, I called 911 for an ambulance. As luck would have it [sarcasm alert], The Mrs. arrived at the lobby to the apartment block precisely at the moment I was being wheeled out in a stretcher. You can no doubt imagine her reaction.

Anyway, I had all sorts of X-rays and such at the hospital, and they found nothing wrong with me, and to add to the irony, I felt much better — so much so that I checked myself out and went home.

The next time I had a similar experience was much later, in Texas. Same thing, except I didn’t have a cold and hadn’t just had a bath. I was getting out of bed and couldn’t stand up without falling back over onto the bed. By this time, The Mrs.’s health had deteriorated to the point of being essentially bedridden, I didn’t want to pay for the EMS guys to carry me the few miles to the hospital, so the Son&Heir took me.

(Some background: I have a family history of heart disease — it’s killed several on my mother’s side — so I’ve always been wary of anything untoward happening because I’m generally in very good health. Hence my excessive caution, and going to the hospital in both cases.)

Anyway, on this occasion, the same thing happened in Plano as had happened in Chicago: tests, X-rays, MRI etc., and nothing bad had happened; that, plus the fact that I was (once more) feeling fine by the end of it, meant that I checked myself out again and went home.

A couple of years ago, you may remember that during the U.S. Open golf tournament in Chambers Bay, Oz golfer Jason Day had a severe attack of vertigo which almost caused him to withdraw from the last round. Greg Norman, one of the TV commentators, did a little research on the ailment and described the symptoms — and to my astonishment, it was like reading a list of the things that had troubled me in the past. (I should point out that my G.P. has checked me out very thoroughly, and concurs with my self-diagnosis. I should also add that my annual check-up always ends with him telling me to bugger off and quit wasting his time because he has really sick people to attend to. Apparently, when I do die, he’ll have to beat my heart to death with a stick.)

Now, as I’m getting older, I’ve since had some more mild vertigo attacks, but nothing serious: an occasional wobble if I make too severe a turn while walking, or I might lose my balance momentarily on a staircase, and so on. In each case, I pause for a few seconds, my balance reasserts itself, and on I go.

As a condition, vertigo is suffered by 5-10% of the population, is mostly caused by a malfunction of the inner ear balance mechanism, and occurs more frequently as one ages. (For a fuller description, the Wikipedia entry is as good as any.)

And yes, I also have fairly severe tinnitus caused by a lifetime spent shooting guns without much hearing protection (until fairly recently) and by a youth spent playing loud music in a rock band. Cliff Notes: my ears are fucked.

Anyway, I thought I’d just mention this issue in case some of my Old Fart Readers get dizzy and can’t figure out why; this may be the reason, but in any event, get yerself checked out by a doctor just in case.

As I’ve often said, this getting old shit is not for young people: you need to be tough and cynical (as brought on by age) in order to get through it.

This post does require a pitchur to help get the idea across; so here’s another Kim, über-hottie Kim Novak, getting directed by Alfred Hitchcock in Vertigo: