20 August 2008

Scarface….. and it’s not Al Pacino

I phoned my brother Robert last night. We try to talk once a week but sometimes things get in the way such as my trip to Normandy. Usually we talk about family matters or football but last night’s call was dominated by his latest news – he’d suffered an ‘industrial accident’ when a pump coupling broke loose and hit him square in the forehead, knocking him unconscious and giving him a rather large dent in his skull. Taken to hospital, he was given 8 staples to put his head back together (it all seemed a bit dramatic to me) but despite the pain and embarrassment, he felt as if this unfortunate accident was some sort of sign, a lucky break so to speak.

Like millions of others watching the Olympics he was aware that the opening ceremony began at 8 minutes past 8 o’clock on the 8th day of the 8th month in the year 2008, 8 being the lucky number in China. So he figured the 8 staples he received was a lucky symbol and he’s now going round Chinese restaurants in Glasgow making sure they see his wound, hoping they recognise the significance and offer him a free meal. I told him that using superglue to change the shape of his eyes and getting the Chinese flag tattooed on his cheek was just a bit over the top.

Robert has an unfortunate history of accidents and illnesses, dating back to the days when we were boys playing with our train set at home. As usual he did something to annoy me and I just threw the first thing which came to hand. Like I did, I’m sure he saw the bit of curved railway track fly through the air in slow motion and stick right in his temple. I patched him up and we carried on playing with our train set, but to this day there is a scar on his left temple with the unmistakeable shape of a Hornby Dublo curved track section. Any model train enthusiast would recognise it a mile away.

Years later and having left his job at the steel mills, he received a letter telling him that a UK wide compensation scheme had awarded him £3,000 for loss of hearing. Now Robert had never claimed for loss of hearing nor had he lost any of his hearing ability but nonetheless off he went to the lawyers to pick up his cheque. On his way home, probably after celebrating a little bit too much, he fell over and smashed all his teeth. It cost him almost all of his £3,000 to get them fixed !

Move on another few years and he was rushed into hospital and had his appendix removed which was not very significant until 12 months later when his doctor wanted to rush him to hospital again……………with a severely rumbling appendix ! Needless to say, Robert changed his doctor.

He’s lost the tip of his little finger in a slamming door, has a bad back and probably has severe liver damage caused by an unhealthy liking for WKDs – vodka and Irn Bru to you and me. He suffers regular heartbreak (when his football team loses) and probably has emotional problems because he doesn’t see me too often. He’s been the innocent recipient of a flying bottle in a Glasgow pub fight and probably has hardened arteries from the deep fried pizzas and similarly cooked Mars Bars which are a speciality north of the border. To say he is unfortunate (from a health point of view) is stating the obvious.

The problem is he still looks better and healthier than I do !

For those that do not recognise the food in the picture accompanying this blog, it’s ……….deep fried Mars Bars !

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