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Thursday, 12 May 2011

The Luck of the Irish

A great writer quoth "The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself". After many years of self inflicted injuries, I tend to paraphrase this saying to "The only thing I have to fear is to fear myself". And in the great tradition of stupid accidents, I can now introduce my latest, the 'head/neck' thing. It all started when I was asleep....

I woke with a start. Pitch black, the only thing moving a cat rummaging around the bed. Tosh by the sound of it, licking his nether regions, a slightly disturbing sound and when attended to as enthusiastically as he does, capable of interrupting sleep. Fully awake, the bathroom called, so I crawled out of bed and headed, sleepily to the smallest room. From experience, I can attest that when engaged in potentially life threatening accidental behaviours, no account is true. There's always a degree of recreation, embellishment, fragmentation, and this was no different. When I say I 'felt' myself falling, noticing as I did so that I had tripped over the bahroom mat, I am entirely unsure what order I felt the fall, and what order I noticed the trip, but lets just suppose that I did.

Again, its ex post facto, but the next thing I noticed was a hefty connection with the windowsill and a sharp pain in the neck. It was all very quick. Next I suppose, I blacked out because I dont regaining my feet, but I must have because I now remember urinating. Then I went to bed. Next day, a hugely stiff neck, and a massive headache. I also felt like puking all day, but this particular feeling has been a constant for the last two weeks as final deadlines for the degree - next Tuesday- rush to meet me. Some may quibble here : how, they might ask can a future event rush to meet you? That, I would say is a decidely Western view of time - linear and static. Many cultures (ok, some) dont view time that way, they percieve it as a great big sea that we float around in, so the past present and future are all around us. Our relationship with time isnt fixed, sometimes tides rush us towards the future and sometimes the same tides bring the future to us. for me, the last few weeks have seen the future approaching me as I float statically in Sargossan tangle of words, unable to move. And the future hasnt just been approaching, it has been a tidal wave, an unstoppable tsunami. Naturally, and with the smell of rotting - in this case rotting words, not kelp- that I always imagine pervades the Sargossa filling my nostrils, I have felt ill for good portions of the time. So to awake then feel like puking is not that unusual.

I should at this point mention that three days after the event everything feels fine - neck only a slight twinge, headache completely gone, nausea still present but only for very short intervals and only when I think about essay deadlines. Possible diagnosis - possibly a mild concussion, some soft tissue damage to the neck. Treatment has been icepacks and painkillers. But that’s this time. In all seriousness, it could have been much worse – I could have damaged the windowsill that RHB had taken such pains to beautifully paint. And medical services here are, despite the best effort of the brilliant doctors and nurses, not the best in the world, as our politicians insist on politically telling us. I don’t want to enter a political diatribe describing how neoliberal economic determinism that’s rampant in the UK(and that Canada is shortly going to understand the full fury of, given the recent victory of the Harpon tyranny), knows the price of everything and the value of nothing and therefore puts a price on our health, but very little value. And I don’t want to say that what was once a victory of civilization – universal health care – has now been re-trenched to a minimal service and the bastards that have run this country for the past thirty years are now even going to privatise that as well. NO, I will not say that, as politics has no place here.

But perhaps its time for a rethink. Perhaps, given that the next time I do injure myself I may be asked to choose between a full repair and a patch job, based on my ability to pay, maybe I could change direction: focus less on the physical accidents , and more on the cerebral haplessness. So instead of falling over, and off, and onto things, I could focus on saying the wrong thing. I could perhaps, be introduced to someone for the first time, and just gratuitously insult them. The thing is, it will have to be accidental.

Opportunities arise for this new career next week, as I travel to Greece immediately after handing in my final assignment. My plan is to get to Athens, and then somehow get across Greece to wherever it is my friends are getting married. The trip involves at least two days of solo travel, by train, bus and ferry. I will of course have to speak to hundreds of total strangers. Probably in Greek. My knowledge of Greek is limited to dogma, praxis, Soto Kyriakous, Telly Savalas and the notion that Oedipus has sex with his mum. This might be the ideal opportunity to test my new verbally based, insulting accident career.

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