The window’s open. Cars are whizzing up and down the road outside.
‘Lockdown? Rings a bell, mate. Just remind me will you…’
But I can’t complain. Lockdown has been good to me.
I’ve been out walking every day. I’m fitter – I may even be one of the few people in the country who’s lost weight.
But there’s been a price to pay. Mostly by my knees. Goodness me coming downstairs first thing in the morning is a struggle. And then when I do get downstairs there’s ten minutes of stretching to tell my back it’s a new day.
“I’m done for,” I said to my lovely and ever sympathetic wife.
“That’s a nuisance,” she said. “It’s your turn to cook dinner.”
I reassured her that I might survive long enough to cook Parmesan Chicken. In return she treated me to her I-suppose-I’d-better-express-an-interest face. “What’s fallen off this time?”
She’s not a woman who’s impressed by lists. I merely indicated that sitting at a desk all day wasn’t doing me any good. “You know what they say. Sitting is the new smoking.”
“It’s hardly coal mining is it?”
“Writing and editing, dear. Sitting on your bum and breaking off to make yet another coffee is not coal mining. Last time I checked you were wearing shorts and a t-shirt. It’s hardly full PPE.”
I grudgingly conceded she might have a point. And looked out of the window. Two teenagers went past on bikes. Two remarkably fit young people jogged by on the other side of the road.
They had what I need.
The problem is, I’m feeling a little bit mortal. My brother was my age when he died of cancer. Ten more years and that was the end of my dad.
I need to be young again.
I need this fantastic new invention. I spotted it when I was out every day in lockdown. Apparently it’s called ‘youth.’
Goodness only knows who invented it. People my age would pay an absolute fortune for it.
And yet – astonishingly – the inventors of youth give it away for free! And they give it away to people who don’t appreciate it. Who completely waste it. Who have not the slightest idea what to do with it.
Who use up their supply of youth on drinking and parties and nightclubs and everything that goes with them.
Fortunately I have a solution. It would cure the nation’s health woes at a stroke and – bluntly – it cannot be beyond the wit of modern technology to arrange it.
What we do is give millennials a taste of getting older. A week should do it. Bad back. Eye drops every night. Fired out of bed by an ageing bladder at two in the morning. ‘Don’t forget to take your tablets.’
A week of that and they’d appreciate this ‘youth’ thing they’ve been given.
That’s my plan for improving the health of the nation. Send millennials a postcard from their old age and they’d be far less likely to let themselves go. ‘Cheese? Red wine? You must be joking. Still remember when they gave me that grey haired bloke’s body. Nightmare week…’
I’ll send an e-mail to Matt Hancock. It’s not like he’s got anything pressing at the moment.
And – of course – while millennials are learning to tell the time by their bladder, I get a week of being young again.
‘Hangover? Rings a bell, mate. Just remind me will you?’
Think of all the exciting things I could do without worrying about my back. Putting my socks on. Emptying the dishwasher. And the other one.
Whatever it was. Just remind me will you…