There is an old Irish expression: “Tá me ar muin na muice”. It is a reply sometimes given when you are asked how you are doing, and the literal translation is “I am on the pig’s back”.
You give this reply if you are doing well, as apparently a pig’s back is a splendid place to be, though I can come up with about thirty better places without putting any real thought into it at all. People back then obviously had simpler needs.
Another, almost equally old, Irish institution is the Just a Minute quiz on Larry Gogan’s radio show. Larry has been a DJ on RTE since radio consisted of a man playing a record on a gramophone attached to a really big ear-trumpet and placed beside an open window, and some of the replies given by members of the public during his quick-fire quiz are the stuff of legend. While most (“What was Hitler’s first name?” “Heil”) are obviously apochryphal, one that is true occurred when he asked “complete the saying ‘As happy as…’”, expecting the answer ‘Larry’, but receiving instead the equally accurate ‘a pig in shit’ (and,in fairness, he just said “Oh. Er, correct”, and carried on).
So, why all the pig references?
Today I had my swine flu injection. I am therefore firmly in the saddle upon Pinky, am as merry as Perky in manure, and am worried that this sentence has some hidden smutty meaning that I don’t in any way intend.
It’s not like I even asked for it. I never really thought about getting it, because, you see, I don’t usually get sick.
I do know that at this stage those of you who read this blog regularly are counting upon your fingers, going “blackouts, stopped heart, forehead-scarring, pacemaker, depression, derealisation, being over fifty,” and are now thinking of adding amnesia and dementia to the list before you run out of counting-fingers, and I know the above statement sounds a little odd coming from a man who’s very blogname is derived from the fact that he has an artificial implant, and not for cosmetic or, er, inadequacy reasons either.
But you know what I mean. The issues on my Medical CV, many though they are, don’t count. Apart from them I don’t tend to get sick in the way that normal people do, i.e., colds, flu, coughs or whatever peculiar affiction it is that causes people on my train in the morning to snuffle and snurckle like (and the theme is back) a pig trying to eat a tennis ball through a surgical glove.
So I listened to the debate about the injections, sympathised fully with the uncertainties felt by pregnant friends (congrats & best wishes, by the way, K8), but had not really felt the whole thing applied to me in any way, since I never catch any of this stuff.
Then this morning I’d to go for a blood test, ordered by my shrink, since apparently there’s a very small chance that the super new drugs he has put me on might damage my liver (I’ll be really pissed off if they do – if he wants to damage my liver all he has to do is ask and I’ll go to the pub more often). Anyway, my doctor happened to be in reception when I arrived, she said to the nurse “it’s ok, I’ll do it”, and while she was doing the test she said “actually, we could probably argue you’re in the high-risk health category, so I can give you the swine-flu jab”, and she did it.
So, will it work? I’ll let you know. First inclinations are good, though. She said one of the things it does is make your left arm really sore, and it certainly hasn’t let me down on that. I have a lump the size of an apple on my arm, and yell like a (oh, God, stop) stuck pig if I brush against anything. I suspect the mercury in the injection might be rising up my arm like in a thermometer as I get warmer.
Of course, this will probably be my last post for about a week, as God didn’t create a world as weird as the one we live in without having a very dry sense of humour.
And writing, on a blog, on the internet, effectively potentially telling the whole galaxy, that I never catch anything is really just asking for it.