I shall not, today at least, be tackling the rather poorly reviewed, late 80s horror film which shares my title. Nor shall I by providing any excessively generic predictions for those born under the star-sign of Libra, though what follows may cause the scales to fall from some eyes…
Back at the time the Seventh Sign was released, Oil of Ulay was still a brand: before it was renamed on a more global basis which new identity, in my mind, is always accompanied by the sound of castanets. Back in those heady days where a, perhaps illusory, sense of place was still admitted by the mega brands that rule our lives, they used to advertise their products as holding back the “Seven Signs of Ageing”. In those pre-internet days, it was never made clear what the signs were that their gloopy temporal dam was keeping from one’s face. Perhaps one was expected to write off to Ulay HQ for details?
In the three (or more) decades that have passed since first seeing this advertising message, I have failed to use any of their products and so my face (and more besides) has been ravaged by many signs of ageing. Melanin has largely fled the more visible out-croppings of my hair, which has itself moved to try and colonise new parts of my body: planting its follicular flags to support its extended claims to suzerainty. My eyesight has followed the traditional path with presbyopia being added to the pre-existing roster of myopia and astigmatism. I also seem to take longer to heal, or perhaps it just feels longer…
All of these effects are considered entirely normal as one passes though middle age and have been well documented in more august journals than this. A more unexpected consequence of the ageing process – and the one which I am proposing as the seventh sign of ageing – relates to my shoelaces.
The operation of my shoelaces in my childhood is lost to me, shrouded by the thickening mists of time. However, for most of my adult life my shoelaces have, once tied, remained in that state. Between 20 and 50, I only had cause to re-tie my laces on a mere handful (footful?) of occasions in total. Since passing my half century, it is becoming an increasingly frequent occurrence. It has now reached the stage where I cannot leave the flat without having to re-tie at least one shoelace: even for the shortest of foot-borne excursions. Have I somehow lost the knack for tying laces? Can I no longer muster the physical force necessary to keep my laces securely tied? Should I accept my fate and just wear slip-ons for the remainder of my journey to the grave?
I refuse to accept this apparent diminishing of my vitality and capabilities! I begin to imagine a conspiracy by “big shoe”. Perhaps this commitment-phobia of my laces is not down to operator error but to changes in shoes and/or laces. Does “big shoe” gain something from its consumers having to regularly bend down to re-tie? Is it an attempt to boost the trip hazard to which we are exposing our more elderly citizens as part of a broad range of measures to defuse the pension time-bomb? Is it an attempt to force us all into slip-ons or velcro fastenings, infantilising the populace and rendering us more pliable? Now I have opened your eyes to the actions of a sinister cabal of cobblers and actuaries, we can resist. The fight-back starts here!
Before we all become too carried away by the extraordinary brevity of today’s addition to the GofaDM canon, I’d like to mention another rather over-wrought advertising claim that came to my attention this morning. Oil of Ulay may have claimed to be able to keep Chronos at bay using only some mid-priced moisturiser, but they have been seriously trumped by Apple. The purveyor of hip (if expensive and far less intuitive than they claim) phones, tablets and computers has recently produced a new iteration of its somewhat popular iPad range. In attempting to hawk this to the general public, Apple have strayed into territory usually reserved to the titular head of monotheistic religions. In addition to claiming, somewhat implausibly, that their new product is “All Screen” – surely that would make it a screen, something we had for viewing slides way back in the 1970s? – they are also claiming it as “All Powerful”. Even Almighty Zeus and Odin, the Allfather, did not claim to be omnipotent. I can’t help feel that claiming to be all powerful is strongly heretical to all of the world’s main monotheisms: even if you can support an Apple Pencil (which does sound much nice to chew on then the typical Staedler example). I’m also concerned that should I let such a device into my life, I shall have to increase the security on my Mead of Poetry and will always be worried that my tablet will wander off and ravage attractive young ladies using an improbable range of disguises. Worse, this seems just the sort of claim that could encourage an historically rather laissez-faire deity to get busy with the thunderbolts. No, I shall be giving the new iPad a wide-berth and investing in some rubber-soled, lace-up(!) shoes: better safe then blasted to plasma by a vengeful god!