I was not going to say anything about the news I got during my trip to the doctor recently.
Blokes are like that, aren't they?
We're tough. Stoic. Macho.
"Tell me doc. I can take it," I remember saying as my doctor tried to make sense of my file on his new computer system.
"Well," said the doctor, squinting in likely disbelief, "It says here that you're an elite athlete. Is THAT right? The last thing I want to do is prescribe you a drug that is going to rule you out from competing in the Olympic Games."
Um, I am 43, overweight, my blood pressure and cholesterol levels are higher than they should be, my spectacles get steamed up when I exert myself even a tad and I was at the doctor's to get a prescription for more asthma medication.
"It depends on what you mean by 'elite sportsman'," I wheezed. "Are they likely to do blood-testing after my five-year-old son and I compete in the three-legged race at his school sports?"
The doctor shrugged.
I took this to mean that one just cannot tell when a man in a white coat is going to tap you on the shoulder on the victory dais and ask you to wee into a bottle.
As I said I was not even going to mention this, especially to my wife Katherine.
If she knew she had an elite athlete in the house, I am quite sure she would want to know whey it took me so long to mow the lawn or dice onions.
And anyway, I thought it was just a computer error which my doctor probably put right as soon as I hobbled out of the surgery.
The other day, however, I went to a podiatrist who took one look at my feet, with their neglected toenails and dry skin, and wanted to know if I played any sport.
"You mean ... apart from three-legged races?" I said, puffing up my sunken chest.
'"Is three-legged racing a proper sport?" he asked.
"Sure it is," I said. "I have even heard it suggested they are going to do drug-testing this year."
I have no idea why the podiatrist wanted to know if I played sport.
I can only assume that here was a man who spends his whole professional life looking after people's feet and probably recognises athlete's foot when he sees it.
Perhaps he wanted to challenge me to a race?
It is possible, of course, he was just trying to ascertain all the relevant facts before deciding on a course of treatment for me.
"Do you have any problems with you feet?" he asked.
"No," I said. "I am only here because my wife does not like my long toenails and dry feet."
"I see," said the podiatrist. "I will give you the 'beauty treatment' then?"
"Er, yes, but without the painted pink toenails though please," I said. Us three-legged race athletes have a public image to maintain.
The podiatrist cut my toenails, filed the dead skin from my feet by hand and with a little mechanical drill that tickled a lot, then rubbed cream into my feet.
Katherine has not commented on my feet yet.
Not that I have prompted her either, mind you.
Blokes do not brag about their soft, pedicured feet as a rule.
We're tough. Stoic. Macho.
Besides, Katherine went to the doctor yesterday - the same one I go to - and came home chuffed because her file on his computer had her listed as an 'elite athlete' too.
I want to let her down gently.
I do not want her comparing her elite feet with my my elite feet and realising mine are in better shape.
©April 16, 2002 John Martin. All Rights Reserved
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