When I was born, which was on the same day that the great Cab Calloway recorded "Minnie the Moocher" (Jazz's first million seller), I weighed 2½ lbs (1400g), in those days a matter for serious concern. Years later I was told that they left me at the foot of the bed and the doctor said to the midwife in the hearing of my mother, "I don't give much for his chances. Good thing too, in the circumstances".
That was unkind, but one can see his point: my mother had been widowed a few months before, and had four other children and no money. But happily she didn't agree and asked if she might be permitted to give me a cuddle.
So I survived; she somehow managed to give me and my four siblings happy childhoods, and despite the bad start I had inherited a splendid constitution. This I persistently abused in adult life by my total rejection of sound dietary principles, the avoidance of all salutary pursuits such as sport and most kinds of physical exertion, and by devotion to indolence, gluttony, cigarettes and booze.
In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, I enjoyed sixty-five years of near perfect health during which I hardly ever gave a thought to the possibility of illness, followed by a further thirteen years during which I encountered only minor disorders calling for simple remedies like a daily cocktail of popular drugs, free on the NHS, and a couple of knee replacements.
So today I really shouldn't complain (though of course I shall, loudly) that over the next few weeks much of my time will be taken up with X-rays, scans, assorted tests and surgery. This may mean that I have to abandon for the moment the commitment which I imposed on myself in 2004, which is to post something in OMF every other day; I was getting a bit tired of it anyway. But though quantity may decline I shall try to ensure that quality will not: the unseemly levity, undiscriminating choice of topic, relentless facetiousness and poor taste will be just as unwholesome as always, but reduced in volume and frequency. No more tedious every-two-days sort of thing; as Samuel Johnson very nearly said, regularity is the last refuge of scoundrels.
A hard-earned reputation for egregious banality, paucity of imagination and profound untrustworthiness is not to be lightly tossed aside just because, for the first time for years, I shall probably be taking extended breaks from the keyboard; in between, my mouse hand and both of my typing fingers will be as assiduous as ever. So please go on watching this space, but not so often.
Further notes on this topic are here:
http://omf.blogspot.com/2009/12/they-had-told-me-that-while-you-are.html http://omf.blogspot.com/2009/11/knickers.html http://omf.blogspot.com/2009/11/full-life.html