Uncut: Growth hormones

2/6/2007

Before I start, let me make it quite clear, no human growth hormones were used in the preparation of this column.

In addition, following the regular testing that all columnists on this paper must undergo, no evidence was found of any growth hormones normally used to enhance the performances or recoveries of horses, greyhounds, or racing pigeons.

In fact, nothing was used in the preparation of this column other than the two fingers on my left hand, the three on my right and the lump on my shoulders.

At one point I broke off for a small cup of coffee, made excellently and expertly by the neighbour who brought it over after I had assisted her husband in bringing down a palm tree.

This was a joyous job. There is no finer sight in the suburban garden than the recently-brought-down palm. Apart from, that is, the recently burnt-to-a-cinder palm or the disappearing-to-the-nearby-tip-on-the-back-of-a-truck palm.

All right, I don’t like palms and I take it seriously.

The palm is a tropical tree and, forgive me if global warming is moving faster than I am paying attention, most places where the palm is planted in this great state of ours are a long way from the tropics, sub-tropics or Bremer Bay.

Peter, not his real name, attacked one side of the palm with a tomahawk he had nicked from my shed, while I attacked the other side with a large axe I had bought in the local hardware shop.

After we returned to our respective sides of the fence I continued to work on a stump that has stumped me for a month and while swinging my axe in typical manly fashion, like I knew what I was doing and this was the most important task I would ever undertake, I crunched my hand between it and one of the pointy bits.

It hurt like hell. I screamed like I was in hell. Peter and Penelope, not her real name, did not appear over the fence to ask if I was ok.

The first thought that came to me was: I have ruined a perfectly good hand and the only way I will be able to reduce the ever expanding swelling and complete next week’s column is if I find some human growth hormones to speed up the recovery.

But this would never happen, because if there is one thing my addled brain does not need it is more medication and my body has long preferred fresh air and home grown garlic.

Eventually, like a lot of men I know who are in pain, I fell onto the settee and watched a perfectly healthy band of fit young men run onto a football field, fall over a ball, run into each other and two hours later return to their shed with their heads low and their faces showing a pain much deeper than mine.

I refer, of course, to the Dockers.

Now, I know about the rumours, each and every one of them is false and clearly started by columnists working for other papers, or politicians who were not mentioned last week.

Let me say once again, categorically, I have never taken illegal substances, parked illegally, worked in a fast food joint, trespassed, or even jay-walked, to assist in the production of this column.

All right, just the once, there was the time I left the keys in my car for 24 hours just to give me a topic, an idea, a starter, but once I got started, everything else was as factual as it can be in this modern world of spin, turn, twist and backflip.

Before I leave you, let me say that I understand the need for growth hormones, especially if you must constantly parade yourself in public, on film, or television, or there is someone at home who thinks your personality will be improved by massive doses of testosterone.

There is no need for that in our house. Or next door at Peter and Penelope’s.

And, rest assured, you have my word, no human growth hormones have been smuggled into this paper to endanger the equilibrium or health of the reader.

So please, read on.

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