Oh god I love some of the side effects of global warming. Every morning when I wake up in London I am staring down the barrel of another heatwave. Past 6 weeks we have had really warm days often reaching 30c, and then suddenly followed by cold days of 12c. The temperature fluctuations look like Hitler’s cardio diagnostics on April 29th 1945 when the Red Army knocked on his bunker’s door and he screamed “Scheisse”. The climate is properly unstable, it resembles the mind-set of Ray Liotta’s character in Goodfellas when he is having some proper mood swings, hot, cold, thunderstorm, hail storm, rain, amazing blue sky…..it just can’t quite decide, but generally it’s been pretty amazing. Looking into our garden gives me flashbacks from Nam’ in 69’ especially when the wife is wearing her black pyjamas in the morning. Our garden is like a jungle, this heavy rain combined with a lot of sunshine is putting every plant on some super growth path. The trees are greener, the plants are larger and I have a feeling the Gardner (me) won’t get a pay rise even though it’s twice the trimming and pruning.
I have harboured on about ageing and its effects on the mind and body. Well here are a few observations that really brought it home to me that it is really happening in front of my eyes. The other day the kids and I thought the house was on fire as mummy came screaming into the kitchen “oh my god I have missed my appointment on the 14th …..today is the 18th how stupid why did you not remember, you should have put a reminder in outlook, we are such idiots how can we miss this critical appointment.” I replied can I see the notice darling “Hey honey it says 14th of May, today is the 18th of April so you are 3 weeks ahead of schedule” My wife really looks forward, she loves the future but unfortunately in this instance she was 1 month ahead of herself. The Second reminder of ageing was in my krav maga class (Krav Maga is a military self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israel Defense Forces that derived from a combination of techniques sourced from boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo and karate, along with realistic fight training). Weekly a friend of mine and I attend this bashing session with lots of young, strong fit women and a few guys. Visions of Ralph Macchio from Karate Kid generally come up in my mind but after two body slams to the floor I realise most of the other participants think I am more like Mr Miaki without the technique. We had to do fight conditioning which involves someone holding your head down in a lock while kneeing you in the rips. After about 5 mins I saw my friend who is 50 limping off extraordinarily red in the face with a twisted neck. I laughed quite a bit and 5 mins later I looked like the dude below.
Age is a hell of price to pay for wisdom as George Carlin said. We both left the class in agony and went straight home with our sore twisted necks. The only conditioning we got to improve was swallowing pain killers and applying deep-heat on the neck muscles which I guess is a good thing coming of age. On the other end of the spectrum the innocence of youth is also deeply endearing. We went shopping in the supermarket and suddenly I heart my youngest daughter (6 years old) scream look at this dwarf daddy. She was in fact pointing at a garden gnome like the one in the picture below, unfortunately there was a real dwarf standing next to it admiring it, so I quickly ran up to her to correct her language and apologised. The garden gnome was expressionless but the dwarf wasn’t.
Back in the late 90’s I started playing computer games online. Then came broadband in 2003 and the experience got a lot better. Now I would consider myself quite a seasoned gamer with 2 decades of experience. I play mainly first person shooter games that involve some element of strategy and team work. My gaming name is knightmorphed and in one game I have to play a squad leader where I have to coordinate 8 fellow soldiers to build bases, set up defences, attack and capture points. You get quite involved and passionate and quite verbal over the radio communication. Now I don’t know what it is about gamers but they often chose quite bizarre gaming names. Recently I was leading a squad with a group of players that had the following names: Brumhilda Bavarian Bitch, Buttminster Browncrack, Slippery pickle, Lord Fluffinstein, Glitterfart, Beef_curtain, Weirdo , Whip_me_grandma. I was in the living room screaming commands to my team mates, and only afterwards did it occur to me that with kids sitting next to me watching a TV show maybe it was time to get a quiet room with some confidentiality:
This is an actual transcript from the game:
Knightmorphed: “Slippery pickle come to me now I need to put down a rally point near the enemy base. Weirdo and Slippery Pickle place your big gun at the centre of ammo hill and cover west to north-west. Buttminster Browncrack and Glitterfart cover the rear to ensure we don’t get flanked by insurgents….Don’t let them past the Eastern perimeter. Brumhilda Bavarian Bitch and whip_me_Grandma spawn as medics, Lord Fluffingstein hold out for as long as you can on the Southern perimeter, I will ask beef_curtain to come and strengthen your flank in 2 minutes”. The amount of sexual innuendos in the above transcript from my gaming session is ridiculous and as a result I was ordered by the boss to only play this game when the kids are in bed and to keep my commands down to a reasonable level. Unfortunately with a large headset on and in the middle of battle I scream like William Wallace in the battle scene of Braveheart.
Last month the large middle age and chubby torso of the honourable Danepack Shakur got to tick another box on the bucket list. A very generous friend of mine invited me to fly a jet plane. Not just any boring jet plane but a military jet from the 1960’s that saw active combat duty in the early 70’s in the Middle East (still had scars from 1 bullet hole on the tail). The pilot was Putin’s sister, her name was Tatiana and she knew a thing or two about g-forces. We had a 1 hour briefing about how to pull the ejector seat at which point your spine experiences 25G…..so in my case that would be 2500kg of pressure on my tight glutes and tailbone. It doesn’t sound too good for a middle aged man with lower back problems, somehow I don’t think my Pilates classes will help. It was a 45 mins flight over the North Sea with some aerobatics, let’s just say Tatiana knew that if she wanted to survive this flight she better go easy on the control’s or I would have given her a stiff left hook on the chin. I flew the plane for majority of the time and I have to say the controls were more sensitive than my privates, a minor flick of the control and the plane barrel rolled, we did a few loops and my breakfast almost came up, then we headed towards the sea at 700km/h and when we were 10 meters above we did a sharp turn and my underwear was more damaged than after a night out on laxatives after consuming a spicy curry. Glad to have experienced it, but even gladder Tatiana brought me back in 1 piece.
Well on that happy bombshell, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful summer. May you get time to relax, unwind, and laugh in the sunshine!
All the best,