Men’s Health Matters – The Medical Pitfalls Of Being A Man And How To Avoid Them
The golden age of men’s health and fitness sadly passed away some decades ago. There was a time when men’s jobs carved them from Scottish granite and only seven stone weaklings and circus performers lifted weights.
In those halcyon days we ate what we liked, drank what we liked and felt no shame in indulging in the fruits of our hard labour. A man would smoke Capstan Full Strength as if they were tubes of mountain breeze and it was expected of him to die of an industrial disease or war related injury. If this happened before the age of thirty five then all the better.
While every effort is being made by the current government to redress the balance on the “war related injury” front , the Health and Safety Executive is making sure that even a minor paper clip injury is extremely unlikely. The bloke you meet in the average pub nowadays is more likely to shove the benefits of mono unsaturates in your face than the jagged end of a hastily smashed Brown Ale bottle.
Your modern man –and I use that term loosely- will not die of an aneurysm in his early forties: he will be expecting some sort of foundless crisis about his imagined ill health, even though he has the arteries of a fifteen year old Buddhist monk. The supposed scourge of weekend binge drinking is a thin veneer over this terrible eyesore of unnatural longevity.
The blokes you meet down the pub now all work in call centres or offices. They down olive oil chasers and eat organic apricots and are doomed to live joyless and unnaturally long lives.
I for one am sick to the back teeth of society molly coddling me in this fashion; or at least I would be if I had any back teeth left. It is a sad fact, however, that you can’t indulge your favourite fetishes and peccadilloes if you are in a hospital bed or even deceased. Not unless your tastes run to bed baths and passive necrophilia, obviously. So here are a couple of general tips to help keep the engine ticking over without having to change the habits of a lifetime too drastically.
You awake one morning to find yourself stuck down. One of the many mutant strains of airborne herpes viruses has found its mark and you have contracted acute nasopharyngitis. Don’t panic. It isn’t that visit to the unlicensed brothel in Kuala Lumpur coming back to haunt you. It’s just the technical way of saying you have caught the common cold.
Your legs are columns of fag ash, your head is full of wire wool and your face feels like it is suffering from constipation. Your pathetic attempts at breathing are resulting in a sound like an asthmatic pig gargling embalming fluid. First and foremost DO NOT GO INTO WORK. RING IN SICK. You will be bitched and whined at down the phone, but ignore these people and ignore them good. Do this for two very important reasons.
They are breaking the law by harassing you in this manner
They are on the other end of a phone line and can do precisely nothing about whether you go in or not unless you work for MI5 or something similar.
Bird Flu Vs Man Flu
Next there is the wife or lady friend to contend with, should you happen to live with one. She will be of the opinion that men’s colds are not worse than women’s. She is deluded on this point. She will accuse you of having “Man Flu” and will trot out how women are uncomplaining in the same situation. This is doubly deluded because:
Women complain about not complaining. Very regularly.
They fucking well do complain. Firstly when they are ill, with the loudest scream of all: the silence and stoicism of the martyr. Secondly, in more graphic terms when they are fully recovered and you are too ill to defend yourself.
Your lady fails to appreciate at this point that she lives in a very different world to that which you inhabit. She goes to work ill and she gets sympathy. Not much admittedly, but a few never minds and advice on what to take to get rid if the nasty germs. You go work ill and at best the fact will be totally ignored. At worst, you will be carpeted for excessive dripping of mucus at your work station.
So, ignore her scorn and sweep aside any suspicion of guilt for being a malingerer. Then lie back and luxuriate in one of the few truly manly pleasures left; that of actively enjoying being unwell. Read your backlog of men’s magazines. Watch your favourite films. Masturbate frequently and unhurriedly.
When your good lady returns, her maternal instincts should kick in and you will receive hot toddies, soup and a cool hand on your fevered brow. If she successfully ignores these instincts, then at least you will be left alone, which is preferable to an overbearing idiot in an ill fitting suit shouting at you for your human frailties. Then return to work with you soul a little lighter and ready to skive your little socks off.
The Way of the Worrier – Cultivating Hypochondria for Well-being
Hypochondria is the ultimate weapon against illness without having to suffer the indignity exercise and a nutritious diet. It is a well known fact that hypochondriacs never actually fall ill, and with some carefully planned strategic fakery some of this immunity can rub off on you.
Diseases in general do not like a crowded house. Confronted with a body which is convinced it has every ailment in the medical dictionary, they tend to wander off and find somewhere quieter and more civilized to bed down. So, step one is obvious:
Buy a Medical dictionary
The Universal Home Doctor, or an internet equivalent, is the easiest way of fooling the subconscious into thinking you have every malady going. Just like a true valetudinarian, you will develop only hints of the preliminary symptoms, so quality of life remains virtually unaffected. Be cautious, however, and only dip into the book randomly rather than reading it section by section. Even the most suggestible hind brain will become suspicious when all the afflictions start with the same letter or are in alphabetical order.
Look in the Mirror
The image we have of ourselves and the one which confronts our fellow humans is always very different. Stand in front of a full length mirror, but make sure you are fully clothed the first time, or the shock may prove too much. Now, look very closely at what you see, as if viewing an interesting painting for the first time. All sorts of thought will occur to you. What’s that mole? I don’t remember it being that big, or that colour. Is that a bald patch? I’m sure one of my legs is longer than the other etc etc. You will probably panic and start to hyperventilate, but that’s ok, it will pass. It’s all part of the process.
See the Doctor
Eventually, despite the fact that this is all a subterfuge, you will begin to think that these symptoms are real. Visit the GP immediately. Your mind will be put at ease and you can go back to the textbook and the mirror again. The aim is a gently swinging backwards and forwards of your mental state, like batting the little white dot to and fro on a game of Pong. With careful cultivation and subsequent pruning back of the neurosis, a suitably hedonistic lifestyle is possible with almost complete impunity.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013