Life

Jake O'Kane: Marking another milestone on the road to my inevitable demise

Now the proud owner of a nose-and-ear-hair trimmer, I recently made the mistake of using it on my eyebrows. This has resulted in them sprouting with such vigour I have to part them to see where I'm going

Jake O'Kane 'celebrates' his 60th
Jake O'Kane

WHEN my wife suggested throwing a Zoom birthday party for me earlier this month, I agreed that would be a great idea, hoping she’d really enjoy it, as I wouldn’t be attending.

As a content introvert, I’ve never understood why people insist on ‘celebrating’ birthdays past the age of 10. Bad enough that birthdays are a countdown to our mortality, but why people feel the need to involve others in such a morose event is beyond me, especially considering that, in my case, I’ve now reached 60.

I’ve now completed my allotted bBible quota of three score years and am in freefall into my final 10 and then the grave.

I hate the lies around ageing. Why don’t shops sell honest birthday cards? At 60 they should read, ‘not long to go now’; at 70, ‘put your teeth in'; at 80, ‘put your teeth and hearing aid in’; at 90, ‘YOU’RE 90, YES, 90’.

Due to having a wife and children, I was forced to allow some degree of birthday frivolity, as shown in the photographs above. As my wife pointed out, I look like I was walking to the gallows in the first.

"Smile big fella, it might never happen," has been a constant refrain of my life. Well, it’s happened; I’m 60 and feel every damn day of it.

The contents of my pill box increase as those bits of me which haven’t fallen off now only work intermittently. Where once I’d the local pizzeria on speed dial it’s now my GP surgery, and I visit Noel at Belfast Physio & Sport Injuries so often he’s become a family friend.

My prostate has enlarged as my memory has decreased and my days of visiting a barber are long over. In fact, I think I may have worked out one of life’s great mysteries, namely where the hair lost on your head goes? You’d think you’d find it on your pillow, but no. If you happen to be male, your disappearing hair is pulled by gravity out of your ears and nose; women’s thinning hair is diverted somewhat differently, ending on upper lip and chin.

Now the proud owner of a nose-and-ear-hair trimmer, I recently made the mistake of using it on my eyebrows. This has resulted in them sprouting with such vigour I have to part them to see where I’m going.

* * *

LAST Saturday my home internet was cut off by Virgin Media – supposedly in error – after we decided to move to another provider. Somehow Virgin pre-empted the date of transfer by weeks. After hours on the phone with no resolution, I gave up and am still awaiting reconnection.

Bereft of television and internet, I was forced into the garden and a task I’d been putting off since the first lockdown, the laying of eight pavers at the back of the garage.

I started by levelling and compacting the ground, which involved more exertion than I’d expected, so I took a tea break halfway through. Shirt off, and covered in dirt and sweat, I slurped my tea like a working man as I waxed lyrical to my wife about the obvious physical and psychological benefits of simple manual labour.

Ten minutes later I was completely dissuaded of all such romantic notions. Frustrated at not being able to line up the pavers – a side effect of my perfectionist tendencies – I jumped up and stepped on a rake which hit the side of my head with such force I nearly knocked myself out.

My children naturally found my misfortune highly amusing as I tried to remember the symptoms of concussion. A job which would have taken a one-armed blind man an hour to complete took me three. No doubt the first rain will wash the whole thing away, but for now, I’m as proud of my paving as Hadrian was of his wall.

* * *

GERRY Adams has once again featured online in his new role as head of Sinn Féin advertising, this time pushing eggs – not free range, but Free Ireland Easter egg variety.

How long until we turn on our computers to be greeted by a smiling Gerry selling insurance?

"Hello, Gerry Adams here. We live in a very dangerous world, if you know what I mean, so make sure you’re covered in all 32 counties with Sinn Féin insurance.

"Yes, Sinn Féin insurance; we’ve you covered for when your day has come. The insurance policy everybody’s talking about, even the touts. Go compare… if you dare."

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Life