Mohicans, Vices and Gout in Oban.
Admittedly, this is a strange title but it came from observations made whilst sitting in my car yesterday afternoon in Tesco car park, Oban. It transpired that gout was about to pay me a visit. What fresh excitement is this do I hear you ask, telepathically, through the ether?
How did I come to make these observations? Well it’s like this. The surreal world of Bill went to Oban with me, as is its wont. As I was sat in my four wheeled ‘women of a certain age magnet’, my right hip was engaging in its usual grumbling unpleasantness and generally giving me the finger. However, this afternoon it was joined by my right big toe making its presence known with a discomfort level that rated a ‘six’ on the Richter scale.
I hope I’m not coming down with blooming gout again, thought I. Gout can come on at a terrific lick and can cripple a chap (or chapess) within about four hours. My tablets were of course back at Chez Bill & Beloved so the return drive home became somewhat imperative. I took pain killers knowing that they would not even touch the pain if it were gout but they might knock me out. This would be an advantage as long as Beloved was driving. Otherwise we would be heading straight towards the car park that is deep in ‘the warm brown pungent stuff’ that hits the fan.
Gout! What a blooming horrid name. It ranks right up there with crud, ooze and puss. Why can’t they call it Dagger Disorder or even Buggins Syndrome? Either would do. Gout sounds so archaic. So Henry VIII. Blurghhh!
I stayed in the car whilst Beloved made a quick run to gather the good booty of Tesco and as happy circumstance would have it, the painkillers started to kick in and I felt drowsy. My right hip needs… well a new hip, and the big toe? I slipped the gear lever quickly into denial as I could in no way be coming down with gout again. Surely not? They call this the rich man’s ailment and the disease of kings. As I’m terminally skint and have the lineage of an unbroken line of peasants this is obviously a load of utter bollocks! Give me the riches and the odd monarchy and I’ll accept yearly bouts of gout.
Doctor ‘S’ says that some handsome, intelligent and spectacularly gifted individuals are prone to gout but as you can readily see, she will say anything if you bung her enough boodle. I seem to be one of the chaps that get gout and in my book, that proves that I am both handsome AND intelligent. So there! As for the spectacularly gifted bit, a euphemism if ever there was one, well… as long as my doctor says it to be so, it follows that it must be so. If you’ve got it you are doomed to flaunt it. (Peter the pine marten is looking at my screen through the study window, laughing so hard he has just choked on an errant peanut).
I eat a pretty healthy diet, as long as certain strict ethical and hygiene considerations are met. These being; pull its horns off, wipe its bottom and I’ll eat it. However, on the dark side, if I drink any nice drinks like red wine, port, Guinness, McKewan’s Champion ale, single malts, brandy, sloe gin or indeed Bovril, then I’m in for trouble. Christmas is a blooming nightmare of, “No you can’t have another glass of port!” and “Put that stilton back on the shelf, it’s raw carrots for you my lad!”
Anyway I digress… Back to the title. As I gazed soporifically across the Tesco carpark a young chap with dark hair walked past my vroom-mobile sporting a Mohican haircut. (The young chap not my car. The car would just look silly, like it had been through a mad-panda carwash and brought a panda home, given it a severe back-combing and decided to wear it as a hat.) The young chappie looked a little incongruous, sporting, along with his Mohican, a coating of very pale skin and paint spattered overalls. In my fuzzy haze of drugged discomfort, I thought of a walking paint brush but soon nodded off into a passing dissociative fugue, whilst beloved hunted in the forest of goodies that is Tesco.
After many years working in Electrical and BMS Controls on high-end engineering projects, I learned to spot certain tradesmen. Painters were the easiest to identify. Scaffolders tended to stand out too as they were all built like Arnold Schwarzenegger. As with most trades there were very few older chaps. This is natural enough as it is a physically demanding world and as age creeps up, older guys tend to find themselves drifting away. I spotted the writing on the wall, mainly because I put it there. Therefore I opted for retraining as a commissioning engineer and later I moved into the more favourable area of project design and management. This was followed by a stint as a sales engineer for a large German company. The young chap walking towards Tesco had already developed the waxy pallor of a painter. The fumes from some of those modern high-tech industrial coatings will kill you as soon as look at you and the preliminary poisoning is the work of a moment.
While I tried to ignore the stabbing surges in my lower right limb, to cheer myself up, I thought about some of the wonders of me. Yes you’re right, there weren’t very many of them. The upshot was a sad realisation that I am a man of few vices which in my opinion, is letting the side down. I resolved to acquire some additional degeneracy PDQ (pretty-damned-quick). For my new year’s resolution I shall reacquire ‘the smoking of cigars’. This I shall add to my existing vice repertoire of ‘slothfulness’, ‘pie eating’ and ‘drinking more beer than is good for me’. I tend towards ‘Seven Giraffes’ a fine amber beer brewed in Falkirk… beer vouchers welcome. (Beer vouchers are brown or blue in colour and have the Queen’s head on them in England. Here in Scotland you may find Robbie Burns, Robert the Bruce or Lord Kelvin amongst others).
There was a knock on the car window and Beloved’s voice said, “I’ve got your pine marten bread and some of the cheap jam for Peter’s butties… and milk and some vegetables. You have sausages in the freezer so I didn’t get anything from the butcher’s department. And William… You have been napping again haven’t you? You’ve been drooling into your beard. Here’s a hanky.”
By the time we got home an hour later my big toe was hurting like blue blazes and had raised its game up to a ‘nine’ on the Richter scale. It felt like someone was digging a dagger into the joint and twisting it with malicious delight (theirs not mine). Beloved had to help me hobble into the house. I am now laid-up until the tablets do their thing.