Creakin’ Jack Flash

I blame Phyllis. She’s a good friend of mine. I’ve even met her once. So once more than I’ve met most of my friends.

It was her post on Facebook. ‘Ageing rock stars’ or something similar. They’re having to update their lyrics as they get older. The Commodores, for example. Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady?

Not any more. Once, Twice, Three Times the Toilet…

A Whiter Shade of Hair. Stairlift to Heaven. You get the picture. And obviously it set me thinking.

About getting older. About Jumpin’ Jack Flash starting to creak…

You know what depresses me about it?

What creaks, hurts or refuses to work is entirely random.

In my youth there was cause and effect.

Stopped a cricket ball with my shin. Large bruise, limped for a week.

My own fault for fielding at short leg. And 30 years on the dent in my shin is still there. But very definitely, cause and effect.

Not now.

Currently my right Achilles tendon is so sore I can only go downstairs one step at a time. My left knee hurts so much I can only go upstairs one step at a time.

I should take Desiderata to heart. Take kindly the counsel of the years and all that.

Well, I’m not. I’m raging. Not so much against the dying of the light as the creaking of the knee.

But I’ve far worse things on my mind than my knee. Definitive proof that not long now and ‘middle aged’ will be an optimistic description.

There’s no point writing these columns if I’m not honest. If I do not admit to the occasional strand of grey hair. And that my bladder is not what it was.

I go to bed early. Early to bed, early to rise. My dad would have been proud of me. And I slept like a log. Lights out until the alarm shook me awake.

Once again, not now. ‘Blimey, have I managed to get through to nearly three without needing a wee? That’s good.’

But I made a joke about it, and accepted it as the passing of the years.

After all, the new version of the Commodores’ hit was still a long way off.

But suddenly it has moved ominously closer. I blame the hot weather. Drinking a lot of fluids. One has given way to two.

And then – last night – came the final humiliation.

I’ve written about it before. It’s a rite of passage for a parent. You get up. Make a cup of tea. Check your e-mails. Go in the shower. Answer a few more e-mails. Start to think about breakfast. And the front door opens. One of your children. Home from a night out.

“Do you know what time it is?”

A casual shrug. “Yeah, sure. We went down to the beach. Then we went to Josh’s house. Are you making bacon sandwiches? I’ll have one.”

That’s bad enough. But it’s part of life.

Until last night. And a far more terrifying rite of passage.

I woke up. Dark outside. What was it? Two? Maybe even three? I fumbled for my phone.


Had my phone run out of charge?

Sadly not.

I plodded to the loo. Headed back to bed. What was that? A light on downstairs.

Someone must have left it on. I’ll have to go downstairs and turn it off. Sounds like someone’s left the telly on as well…

You know what’s coming. Alex was watching an old James Bond. You Only Live Twice.

I’d got up for my first wee of the night before my son had gone to bed.

I’ll leave you to come up with the film title…