I am, it must be admitted, knocking on a bit. For most of human pre-history, my current age would seem freakishly old (much as it probably still does to anyone very far under 20). As a consequence, it is only to be expected that parts of me will start functioning slightly less efficiently than they did in the glory days of my (comparative) youth. Presbyopia has already claimed my eyes – which for the moment means I can use a screen or read a book without the aid of my glasses, but in the longer term the lack of accommodation and my myopia will no longer balance quite so conveniently.
I am also quite tall – certainly if I had my time again (and the necessary control) I would have stopped growing several inches sooner. Trust me, height is over-rated – I can see further in crowds and reach high-shelves, but the rest is discomfort, concussion, broken crockery and trouble finding clothes with long enough legs and arms. For the sake of economy (or profit), our world seems (mostly) designed for those a good few inches shorter than me (I suspect sardines feel much the same way). In addition to the previous list, being tall has at least contributed (I’d like to claim it as the sole cause, but others may take a more sceptical stance) to the poor posture I’ve used for most of my life.
As a result, I really should have had more trouble with my back – but my vertebrae have generally given me very little trouble despite their rather poor treatment at my hands (or cerebellum perhaps?). Still, luck eventually runs out and reasonably early on my second day in Wales I “did” something to my back. I have no idea what, it might have been a pulled muscle (so much less zeitgeist-y than pulled pork) or trapped a nerve or something else entirely. As revealed before, I dropped biology in the third form – long before study of the spine and its environs enters the curriculum.
This (whatever it was) was intermittently painful and occasionally very painful. Mostly it hurt when doing the most anodyne of activities – so gymnastic training hanging from rings: fine, leaning over to point at a colleague’s laptop: excruciating. It did tend to make walking uncomfortable, especially if I placed my foot carelessly, but did not stop me hiking up several mountains. I seem to recall that the worst thing to do for a bad back is to lie around, moaning softly while a lackey feeds you peeled grapes – and so I continued with normal life, wincing as required. After I while, with the issue not going away, I tried out the foam rollers you see at gymnasia (and which I’d always previously ignored). These are wonderfully pleasurable in use – but sadly did not fix my spine – nevertheless I shall continue to use them in a non-therapeutic role.
Am I still in pain i hear you ask? Well, yes – but that is down to this bout of the man ‘flu, my spine is fully recovered. “Share with us, oh wise one, how this miracle was brought about?” I almost hear you cry. Well, as you asked so nicely, I shall.
As previously noted, I don’t use my car very often. In fact, until very recently I hadn’t used it since January – and as a result, its battery was very flat. I do own a battery charger, so this was not a problem – except that due to the parking restrictions in my street, my car is parked almost a mile from home. Sadly, even if it were safe to use, I do not have an extension lead of anything like that length – and so the battery had to be moved, by hand, to my home and then back again. Car batteries are mostly made of lead (and acid) and this is quite heavy – so it was quite hard work lugging my battery from the car, and then back again now full of charge (which, luckily, weighs very little!).
“He’s gone off at a complete tangent. His mind has finally snapped”, I fear you are thinking. Worry not, this apparent digression is entirely to the mustard. After the first battery portage, my back was much improved. After the second, it was entirely cured! Forget your osteopaths and your chiropractors! All you need to deal with a bad back is to walk roughly a mile-and-a-half carrying a car battery (I used one from a 2011 Toyota IQ, but I don’t think the model is key to the cure). This insight could save the NHS millions! Most patients will have access to a car battery, but for those that don’t, I’m sure a small pool could be maintained at taxpayer’s expense – they don’t need to be charged, so dead, second-hand batteries would be fine. Quick, someone find my Jeremy Hunt’s phone number (or has he been reshuffled by now to something better fitting his talents, assuming some have been found?).