"Good evening barman."
“Good evening sir. What are you having?”
"Well barman, I'm having a bad day. I've started to worry about the effect that living here is having on my health. I appear to be going through some kind of mid-life health crisis. Or to be more accurate, some kind of mid-life bad health crisis.
You want to know what's wrong with me?
Well, for a start, I can't get drunk like I used to. I mean, I can't get drunk in the same way I used to. It's now a lot harder and takes a lot longer than before. Before my crisis, I could seamlessly work my way through half-a-dozen beers, with chasers, followed by any number of cocktails and concoctions.
I knew this would have the desired effect of making me ten feet tall and bulletproof by at least midnight. Now I have to start much earlier, and plan things carefully.
There's real science going into my benders these days. It takes so much effort these days. The beer leaves me so bloated I have to hit the chasers much earlier in the night, and they often have to be double or triple strength before my body takes any notice.
"Oh!" it says to me after yet another tequila, "You're trying to get drunk? Why didn't you tell me?" before hitting me with a skull cleaving migraine.
I have to force the cocktails down my throat, and make sure I have a ready supply of pain-killers to keep up my momentum.
And then there's the hangovers. These are real medical emergencies, complete with double vision and loss of speech. My body fights off the attentions of the humble paracetemol and faithful old aspirin with barely a twitch. It demands stronger chemicals and state-of-the-art manipulation. No longer does the hair of the dog that bit me calm my jangling nerves and synapses.
Now the ugly mutt keeps his jaws clamped to my temples leaving me moist eyed and wiped out all the weekend. On these occasions my memory lets me down ever more frequently. Maybe it's always been this way, but I just can't remember.
The other week I found myself driving around in south of town and had no idea how I'd got there. I'd only gone out to buy a packet of smokes from the corner shop. I drove home feeling confused. It's only when I'd got back to my neighbourhood, I remembered I needed something from a shop in the south of town.
If only I could remember what it was.
My knees creak, crack and crunch every time I stand up, or run, or move too quickly; the result of an argument with the ground when falling off this very barstool.
My left ankle has faired better than my right, which stiffened up after toppling down the steps of the disco one night. I now have the annoying tendency to veer to the right when running. Fortunately I don't do too much of that these days. I could go on barman, but do you understand what I'm saying? What's the answer?
"Excuse me sir, I didn't quite catch that."
"The usual please barman."