No pain; no gain

I was up at 4.30am this morning. Up, and at the wheel of my car. Driving doesn’t describe what I was doing, which was more like fumbling.

The good thing about driving this early is that there isn’t very much to hit, when you nod off. I was on our way to buy fruit and vegetables. At the market.

Normal people buy them from the greencrocer’s, or the supermarket, but we are buying organic fruit and vegetables because they are Very Healthy.

Please explain to me what is healthy about getting up at 4am, pouring boiling water over your arm in an attempt to make tea while sleeping, and being behind the wheel at 4.30am in a state that verges on catatonic. I know I said there isn’t very much to hit; but the few things that are on the road are the size of an office block and travelling on 16 wheels.

Why is it that all the things we do that are Good For Us are also painful?

This is particularly true in my house where the rest of the family have turned it into an art form.

Nothing pleases them more than a massage in which cries of anguish are wrenched from their inert bodies by masseurs who, I suspect, use pliers. And tongs. Even corkscrews.

My daughters return from an hour and a half of this abuse with seraphic smiles on their face… and a limp. They revel in how he (or she) found all those particularly agonising little spots and tweaked them.

The same with yoga. My wife wakes the day after a yoga session and is delighted to discover she’s in pain from the shoulders down. Apparently she has been using muscles that were dormant and this is Good for You.

And it doesn’t end with yoga and massage either! They take things. As in, they imbibe spoonfuls of jollop and strange, foul-smelling pills that will make them more regular, stop them getting arthritis, improve their memories and prevent aging.

Take psyllium husks. I mean, consider psyllium husks. For God’s sake don’t take them. When mixed into water (which is how you’re supposed to take them) they have the consistency of congealed snot. They are, without exception, the foulest substance ever to pass through the intestinal tract of a human being. And boy, do they pass through!

Sensible people buy proprietary laxatives that contain psyllium husks, but which have been manufactured with other substances; substances that taste nice. Or nicer than psyllium husks, anyway.

Cat turds, for instance.

But in my house they force down the unadulterated article, because it is Good For You.

I must sound hard on them, but I don’t mean to be. I’m aware that probably every house in Townsville is home to at least one person who equates discomfort to doing you good.

That’s why they own ergonomically designed chairs you have to kneel on, and a medicine cupboard full of disgusting products masquerading as fruit juice, usually from Tibet, or Togoland. No pain, no gain.

Which, like so many tidy little epithets, is rubbish.

I drink wine and beer, not cranberries, nor goji berries nor noni juice; no one touches my body except me and certain intimates of my acquaintance; I can’t place my right foot in my left ear and I’m glad.

I don’t have arthritis; I am reasonably fit, nothing twinges and I am regular (if you must know). I rise when the sun is up (except when I’m being bullied to the markets) and I meander through the day without thinking about very much at all. Especially, I don’t worry about what’s Good For Me and what is not.

It is possible, of course, that I am terribly sick but just don’t know it.

Good. I’m going back to bed.