Don't kick the habits of childhood - revisit them
I PROPOSE to speak to you this morning about keepie-uppie. Some of you are sniggering. The keepie-uppie I have in mind contains no innuendo, lacking in particular any reference to the vertical proclivities of a chap's tickling stick (I put it no stronger than that).
The keepie-uppie to which I refer is of the footer variety. A chap - or, increasingly in these immoral times, a burd - takes a football to a park or other green place and attempts to keep the aforementioned sphere in the air with his knees, head, feet or bottom. The idea is to gain a high score. In the past, when I was happy and popular, I scored over 100. My most recent high was 74. But most of the time I register about 15.
What is the point of this? It's exercise. That's the point. But it's also fun and, were I able to spin out the idea, I'd write a bestselling health book on my discovery. So much exercise is dull. According to recent anecdotal evidence, collected in several bars, 82.5 per cent of joggers eventually go insane or commit suicide. Pounding the streets to lose pounds attracts such scorn from normal, well-adjusted citizens that it drives practitioners peculiar. The worst affected progress to cycling, adopting garish costumes and endangering the lives of pedestrians and drivers alike as they embark on misanthropic journeys upon the devil's transport.
My keep fit through keepie-uppie programme, on the other hand, makes a fellow full of vim and a magnet for desperate members of the opposite gender or species. It's aimed at the middle-aged. Young people need not keep fit. They are already fit. When I was in my twenties I ate chips all the time and never did any exercise. Result? Fit as a fiddle, lithe as the deer that flits winsomely from crag to crag. It's only when you turn 30 that the blob appears. It's closely followed (for chaps) by the breasts, the sag, the limp, the squint, the sweat, the plop, the plump, the farts, the cricks, the pains and the wobbling, aching horrors from the depths of the sub-basement in hell. Apart from that, everything's tickety-boo.
At 40, you're already half-dead. You must run just to stand still, and then some. You must do something, particularly if you're fond of beer and cakes, as am I. I do not approve of Satan's shrubbery, or salad as it's known, and still cannot believe that people find satisfying a dish of pasta with a splash of glorified ketchup on it. Nope, it's a roast with all the trimmings for me: juicy meats; joyful potatoes roasted in oil; boiled broccoli for leaving on the plate.
If you share such proclivities, the sad truth is you have to sweat them off. Of course, you can go to the gymnasium. I've taken this up of late and find it surprisingly enjoyable. The sight of grown men at the dumb-bells staring endlessly at themselves in mirrors can be distressing, but an unexpected number of people who attend the gym are normal. The staff at my cooncil-run club are fantastic. "Hoy, you, the lard-arsed fellow," they will shout at me. "You bring shame upon us all with your waddling efforts at fitness. And stop leaving your underpants lying around the floor."
I jest, of course. These fine chaps encourage me manfully, making the gym a grand place to be. But the sad truth is a fellow needs fresh air, particularly in these days of accursed sunshine and irritating heat. It's here that keepie-uppie comes in. Most fellows in their forties and fifties have given up on footer. Their lungs cannot cope with bursts of speed and their knees sound like ancient swing-bridges on rusty-watered canals.
But playing with a ball is the bee's knees. It connects you to childhood. In the vast acres of the park where I strut my stunky fuff, the ball, the blue skies, the green grass conspire to make me happy, miles from desks and phones and the awful small "p" politics of everyday life.
Apart from keeping the ball up, a chap can take it for a light dribble, just enough to get mildly exhausted. Then he can flop down on the grass and gaze dreamily at the sky as a bee bumbles by and a bird overhead loops the loop. And that's all it takes: you and a ball. Even the embarrassed, those with potato-coloured legs and knees like turnips, may safely wear shorts in my park, which is so huge that nobody notices. Generally, you're left undisturbed. Far from the mirthful sniggers of the beautiful people and the fashionable set, you realise deep down there's no greater purpose in life than to keep a ball in the air. With knees, head, feet or bottom.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West