Day 93

Missed, sucker!

Social Mistancing

If I hear the phrase ‘mental health’ one more time, I think I’ll go crazy. [Go? – Ed.] Throughout my life, so far, there have been various reasons for me to undergo the always risky business of visiting the barber for a haircut. Risky because the outcome was never guaranteed, even if the barber remained the same. My hair has a life, and legend, of its own, and generally if it leaves me alone, I leave it alone. I am intrigued, though, as to what it gets up to in the middle of the night. No matter which side I lie on to go to sleep, when I wake up, my hair looks as if it has gone fifteen rounds with Muhammad Ali in his prime. A bit like this, to continue the boxing references, but not so blue.

Don King’s face stays expressionless while his hair displays alarm

But every two months or so, the hair will get into such a state that I will have to risk the whole barbershop experience to impose some sort of order on the chaos. And it is usually a barber these days – I have left my visits to unisex salons behind me. Mostly because the woman who understood my head the best is in semi-retirement and it is increasingly difficult to win an appointment with her in the complicated lottery system she has set up.

Other, rarer reasons for going for a haircut include letting those Turkish guys set my nose and ear hair on fire, and discombobulating the odd FBI or CIA tail. Nothing screws up someone who is following you worse than your suddenly walking into a hairdressing emporium. I mean, what is your tail going to do? Follow you in and get a haircut he doesn’t need as he already has the regulation short back and sides on? And, in the process, let you get a good look at his face and eavesdrop on his conversation.

“Going anywhere nice for holidays this year, Sir?”

“Wherever buddy in the other chair is going, if I’m on duty that month.”

What I have never done is to visit the barber for the reason given on the News last night as the first reason members of the opposite sex will welcome the news that hairdressing salons are to come out of lockdown soon. Now, what women, particularly women I am financially responsible for, get up to when they go to get the hair ‘done’ is a mystery deeper than the seventh secret of Fatima, and I am quite happy for it to stay that way. (You thought there were only three, didn’t you?) The reporter on the news stated that women will be visiting the hairdresser for “mental health reasons”, a statement which caused me to splurt out the mouthful of tea and to so frighten the cat. If women have been going to the hairdresser for mental health reasons all along that would certainly go some way to explaining the extortionate bill that follows them out the door. But are hairdressers actually qualified to deal with mental health issues? And, if not, what do psychiatrists have to say about these amateurs muscling in on their territory?

Maybe there is something different about female hair that makes it grow not only outwards from the root the way male hair does, but also inwards from the root. If so, the roots delving deep into the brain matter could, I suppose, affect the operation of that organ, and, in those unlikely circumstances, I could see how a visit to the hairdresser to curtail their growth might have a beneficial effect on the mental capabilities and stability of the rootee. But that is really pushing at the bounds of probabilties, and I am more inclined to believe that the news reporter made an error and mixed up two different stories.

As for the ubiquity of the term ‘mental health’ everywhere else I look, I think there are two aspects to it that annoy me more than just its pervasiveness. It is without doubt a first World problem, and, as such, not worthy of my serious attention. The other niggle is that the preceding adjective is redundant. Mental health is the same thing as health, as if you think you are sick, then you are sick. Have these people not read St Thomas Acquinas? Or anyone else? There is no separation between mind and body, so ‘physical’ and ‘mental’ health are just actually health. If you break your leg, you do not feel guilty or embarrassed about going to get it fixed. Similarly, if you break your brain, there should be no social taboos involved in going to the headshrink to get it fixed. But do not ask the psychiatrist for a haircut while you are in with him.

mens sana in corpore sano

Satires of Juvenal (ad c. 60–c. 130)

With a subtle blue highlight, please.

Day 43

Are Cows Waterproof?

country kitchen

Any culchies reading this? Even pretend, blow-in culchies like Walter? Because I have a question about my cows. I do not actually own these cows, and neither does the man who owns the shit-flavoured field they are currently munching their way through. But the field is overlooked by part of the back garden of the estate which is overlooked by the bay window in the country-kitchen-style country kitchen which I am currently looking through while sitting at the country-kitchen-style country table you see in the picture above. Admittedly, in the picture, the table is in its Winter configuration so that the seatees at the table can benefit from the heat from the everything-burning stove which is just out of view to the left. But I could still look out the window from it were I seated in my rightful place at head of the table. Said table is currently in its Summer (I know, I am an eternal optimist) position in the bay window, and a change is as good as a rest to a blind man.

What I (slightly) want to know about cows is this: are those leather coats they are wearing not waterproof like the ones we used to buy in shops when we used to be allowed to go to shops are? Because, as it has remembered how to rain this morning, these wimpy cows – which are not mine, remember – are all gathered up under the shelter of the branches of some of my trees in the first wood, which happen to overhang part of the field which is beyond my back garden which is outside my bay window which is where I am currently sat. Exact enough locational detail for you, google? And for the FBI, CIA and conspiracy theory Trump Minions who read the interwobble for any mention of their despot? (Remind me to show you the successful result of the similar experiment about Russia I carried out some days ago.) So why would the cows, and the periods of seven days’ holiday from work, be in need of shelter of any kind giving that they are sporting leather coats, which should be waterproof, or else sent back to the manufactures with a strongly-worded complaint letter? The coats, not the cows; peel the cows first. And how much should I charge the guy who rents the field from the guy who owns it for this unwarranted, unrequested and, in all likelihood, unlegal use of the shelter provided by some of my trees? These and other conundrums will probably keep me safely away from any work work today.

There is a phrase in Irish which is currently at number seven in my top ten list of favourite phrases in Irish. Could I be bothered to look it up for youse and provide a link? OK, then, youse stay here and talk among yourselves in the Comments Section for a while while I go and get it (great use of two words together there to confuse Microsoft’s crap grammar checker; take my advice and pay for professional editing services) [Thank you! – Ed.] (I did not mean you, I meant me – me) [Oh! – Ed.] … shut up, now; I’m back! There you go, here is the link. Do you get the idea? So frucked-up to the eye-teeth are culchies about the whole subject of land that, in the dim and misty past when we all spoke garlic, they even made up a particular phrase for the dodgy son-in-law who they suspect of really marrying the farm and not the daughter. To explain the reference [new light out of old windows here – Ed.], Walter would be such a cliamhain isteach were he actually married to the woman whose cows he services in County Clare. (Not ‘services’ like that, though I would not put it past the same Walter.)

Although most of the rest of youse do not know Walter, youse actually do. Not my Walter, but a Walter. A Walter is that friend of yours whom your wife actually likes but who she wishes you would not go out on the piss with as she thinks he always gets you into trouble. What part-time wife does not realise or appreciate is, that for Walter’s part-time-common-law-wife, I am Walter. [Don’t you call my non-wife common! – Wltr] (Get the fruck out of those brackets right now! – me)

In Belfast slang all Walters are rockets: you never know when they are going to go off (on one) nor where they will end up. Re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere is also problematic for them, on occasion. But we need our rockets, I say. Boris is a rocket, and thank God he will be back today doing his stand-up routine at the daily farce that is the government’s update on how it is mismanaging the pandemic. He was on the piss yesterday wetting the head of what he claims is his fifth child, but there are those who suspect he uses imaginary numbers when computing the fruits of his loins. As for the fruits of his lions, that is anyone’s guess. (I object strongly to the name of that website I have just linked you to: maths is not fun; maths is maths, and fun is fun. People should have paid more attention in Logic:101, or do they not teach that in primary school anymore? Please look away now while I wrestle this mugger bracket to the ground.)

So, answers on a postcard, usual prizes, terms & conditions apply. Are cows waterproof?