The Tories, according to an online headline, have attacked pensioner inflation. It is true that, with 8.5 years to go until I can join the queue at the post office (or whatever means is by then available, for it may be that post offices will by then have been re-named ‘centres of community excellence’ or ‘outreach communication and retail network facilities’), I have noticed that pensioners have indeed begun to inflate, as have I, and that the simple business of getting in and out of the post office is getting more and more difficult.
I have tried to kid myself that my personal inflation index is genetic, since my father also expanded his girth at the same age, and had to keep adding notches to his belt. But then he, like me, was careless about eating and drinking, or rather, cared about eating and drinking. His own excuse was that he had been very fit in his twenties (this is true: he was a county rugby player on a couple of occasions), and that he was paying for this by going, ever so slightly, to pot, as in belly.
I have also tried the Jim Fixx defence (no relation to ‘Jim’ll Fix It’) on myself, and I quite like it. Fixx was the man who popularised jogging, made lots of money from a best-selling book on the subject, and dropped stone dead in 1984, at the age of 52, while jogging. But I know in my fatty heart that I am kidding myself (Fixx’s family had a habit of leaving the world early) and that I am not so much drop-dead gorgeous as one of the drop-dead gorgers. This is so unfair to myself, by the way, that I feel better just writing it. For this is another defence, the Say It Loud, I’m Stout And I’m Proud gambit.
All my weight goes to my stomach. This is of course another pre-pensioner self-con. Where else was I hoping it would go? Was I hoping it would distribute itself evenly across my body, that some would slip casually, like the soil they dug up in The Great Escape, down my legs? That my shoulders would shoulder some of the extra pounds and ounces? I even have a further delusionary argument up my (thinnish) sleeve, which is that I have a naturally concave back, which exaggerates the convex nature of my gut (it’s sort of true. My daughter has inherited it, although she is naturally slim, as I was once, and said to me ‘SO THAT’S WHERE I GOT IT FROM,’ in what I would regard as a frankly rather unforgiving way. There is no need for teenagers to talk in capitals).
Plotting the curve (as it were) of the overweight, I suspect that life expectancy in the west will fall quite soon. They have already – this is grim but also true – had to instal larger furnaces in crematoria to deal with the dead weight of the dearly but calorifically abundant departed.
Ah well. I know what I have to do, and I doubt I’ll do it. Gymnasia phase me. Rambling scrambles my mind. There was a song (by Jethro Tull, the big name of 1970-71, and still going) in my teens, which had a line ‘Don’t want to be a fat man: people would say I was just good fun.’ I can live with being just good fun.
Incidentally, as Molesworth would have said, if the phrase ‘pensioner inflation’ referred to the effect of the recession on the wallets of the elderly, I neither kno nor care.