It's almost painfiul to recount, but as a young man (yes, I was one of those once) I was disgustingly healthy. After three years or so of exploring how sick I could make myself after drinking too much alcohol on the weekend, I almost completely stopped drinking booze. Although I have been known to steam rather impressively on a rugby pitch during a winter game, I have never smoked. I kept myself reasonably fit, and I didn't eat crap (well, not too much of it anyway). This is all well and good - or at least I thought it was - but to be quite blunt, it seems to have been a waste of effort.
At present, life seems to consist of waiting (not very long) for the next medical appointment to come around. Of course as you're probably aware (at least I hope you are, I don't see why I should be the only one going through this shit), a medical 'appointment' is a euphemistic term to describe the act of turning up at the prescribed place at the prescribed time in order to wait for the medical professional (who is without exception 'running a little behind' *) to grant you an audience after wasting a considerable portion of your time while you don't get paid for the privilege. These days, to add insult to ailment, eye contact with a doctor seems to be an increasingly rare event; most of them (and I'm visiting quite a few lately, so the sample size is reasonable) prefer to stare at a fucking computer screen while asking questions or prognosticating or even prescribing. I don't even get the satisfaction of an eyeball wrestle, for God's sake.
* That phrase always makes me think of a man chasing a small pair of buttocks around a race track. Help me...
While highlighting the contrast between the first forty-ish years of my life and the current period, this state of affairs also has me contemplating my mistakes in life. Most of them seem (to my embittered eyes, which incidentally, are going to be checked on the 19th, just in case you were interested) to revolve around the idea that if this is where I have ended up anyway - a broken, pathetic excuse for a man - maybe I should have enjoyed myself a little more when I was younger. Perhaps - I think - I should have drunk more, tried some recreational drugs (I never did, not once), leapt off tall buildings or Norwegian cliffs with a parachute strapped to me, taken my motorbike to its absolute limit and - perhaps most alluringly - had sex with as many women as I could.
Then, usually as something starts to hurt for the fifteenth time that day, I remember. In order:
- I drank quite enough to make me want to not do that any more.
- I was a cop, and doing drugs would have been a less than ideal career decision. Family to feed, etc.
- Leaping off/looking down from anything higher than three feet above terra firma makes me shit my pants.
- I'd have crashed and be very dead, and finally
- I suspect (with a tear in my eye) that I already did that. 'Not many' seems to have been my destiny in the field of shagging.
Ah well. The chances are that if I had made it this far after filling such a wish list, I'd be a sclerotic (I do love that word but can't figure out why), unemployable, faintly poo-smelling, one-legged/armed and syphillitic lump of humanity.
I rather doubt that I'd feel particularly pleased with my life.
We'll never know, I suppose. Unless...as the man said, the night is young!