Hearts & Mines - A Bomb Or A Politicians Promise.

Yes, it has been ages. Let’s get on shall we. Right, so I had pancreatitis over Christmas 2018 and was hospitalised. Now I can’t drink alcohol anymore or eat most of the delicious food that was, unbeknownst to me, destroying my innards. Which blows, but I look better in tighter t-shirts now and don’t feel dreadful half of my waking life, so I guess it’s swings and roundabouts. Three months sat at home really makes you appreciate having to get up and go somewhere (like work) and I’ve also joined a gym, so on the downside I have become everything I hate. In other news, my dad died, which is more the thrust of this post. It’s not been a banner year. It’s going to be interesting to see how entertaining I can make this one, based on the less than hilarious subject matter.

His heart and connected arteries were the main culprits. They’d had enough and that was that. And so it was that I found him at his place, just a fragile shell of the strong, passionate, occasionally too grumpy, excellent roast dinner making, let’s-have-a-good-old-moan-about-the-world-and-everything-in-it man that I’d loved and learned from for thirty seven and a half years. It was utter bullshit if I’m honest. It’s still utter, utter bullshit. This isn’t going to be about grief, processing loss or how it can sometimes be difficult to have public emotions as a man though. I’ll save those subjects for when I’ve got a bit more strength and don’t feel the need to slather my raw feelings with the soothing balm of funny. Hearts though, are weird and funny things. I am now aware of a family history of pretty rubbish hearts, and because I’m a rational, grown up man, I’m convinced that mine will explode imminently.

Boring, illustrative stock image.

I’ve had the tests now and, apparently, I only have a 1.8% chance of having a heart attack in the next ten years. I don’t smoke anymore, and I live a remarkably healthy life now, but that’s still a chance, right? While I was fretting about the mere weeks I definitely had left, I visited a friend and mentioned that the tests had revealed that I had a very low resting heartbeat. “Oh, that’s a good thing,” he reassured me, before following up with the markedly less encouraging, “because hearts only have a limited number of beats before they give up”. I pictured my heart with a countdown timer, a visual reminder of its built-in obsolescence. As if it were a bomb or a politician’s promise. Or an Apple product. Naturally, this played on my mind for a while. I walked slowly, avoided exhilarating computer games and TV shows and consciously didn’t think about boobies, all to avoid an increase in the thumps in my chest thus extending my time on this increasingly bizarre planet. Alright, fine. I still thought about boobies.

After a day or two of this I had an epiphany. Everything has a limited number of uses. Every body part, object, thought even. Your knees will eventually crumble. The indestructible Kenwood Chef isn’t either of those things. After several months of Brexit related thoughts, it’s increasingly difficult to repeat the self-flagellation. Everything has a shelf life. Even shelves. A cursory google reveals that most of us will manage less than four billion beats in our lives. Pussies. But also, that you don’t die because you run out of heartbeats – you run out of heartbeats because you die. Which seems really fucking obvious and not at all worthy of a top result in a Google search. Sure, hearts repair themselves pretty darn slowly, so eventually they all go bye-bye, but not because they’ve boom-boomed a certain number of times. So the way my friend put that limited heart beats thing to me was basically nonsense and everything just breaks in the end. Oddly reassuring.

The good news then, for you lot, is that my heart won’t be detonating as soon as I thought, so I’ll be able to write more of these things. The bad news is that my heart won’t be detonating as soon as I thought, so I will be writing more of these things. I’ve had a hard year, humour me.

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