So the nights are getting shorter. But not short enough for me. I’m done with nights. Sleeping is an appalling waste of the little time we are allowed on this mad carousel.
If you live to 75, you will have spent 25 years asleep. Do you have any idea how much you could accomplish if you never indulged in these ridiculous second-rate comas? You could squeeze two new careers and three more marriages into the time you’ve been unconscious. I’m going to give it a shot. No more sleep for me from now on.
Also, I went for blood tests and I might not have much time left. Whenever I go to the doctor, which isn’t very often, he circles things on a form and tells me to go for blood tests. The form joins years of unpaid traffic fines in the footwells of the passenger seats, where they soak up seawater, blood, spilled beer and the like.
The most recent form was picked up by a rogue gust of wind and wrapped itself around my face, causing me to veer into the path of an oncoming taxi. The driver thought I was playing a game of chicken and held his line until the last second, when the form detached itself and I swerved violently out of his path.
I took this as a sign and decided to go to PathCare first thing in the morning and find out what manner of deadly filth was coursing through my veins.
Not belonging to any religions that fast – or any that don’t – I was distressed to discover that nothing was to pass my lips from 10pm until the test. It seemed extreme. I do all my best indulging after 10pm. Deprivation doesn’t come naturally. Fasting is for people who either can’t afford food or are doing penance. I prefer to punish myself in more pleasurable ways.
I woke at 8am, delirious with hunger, and made a cup of tea. It’s tea, for heaven’s sake. Not a jug of melted lard. How could it possibly skew the results? Anyway, to get a true reading, wouldn’t it make more sense to test people when they’re in their regular state? Anyone can pass a blood test when they’ve lived like a monk for 12 hours. As soon as the tourniquet is untied, they are going to make a high-speed run to the nearest Spur and gorge on dead animals and vodka milkshakes. When they stagger out three hours later, belching and farting, that’s when you want to test them.
The PathCare receptionist seemed surprised to see me. Did she think I would be dead? Quite possibly, given my results from five years ago. She asked if I’d eaten anything or had tea or coffee. I wasn’t going to tell the truth because she’d call security and have me escorted from the building. I could see she knew I was lying, and not just because I had a teabag tag stuck to my chin.
The nurse said, “You’re going to feel a bit of a prick.” I sighed. “Wouldn’t be the first time.” There was no response. I hoped she didn’t take it the wrong way. Not that there was a right way.
I wasn’t overly worried about the results because I hadn’t looked at the form and consequently had no idea what they were testing for.
A few days later my phone rang multiple times. It was an unknown number. After ignoring it for two days, it occurred to me that it might have been my doctor with the terrible news that I had another 30 years to live.
I’d rather die than speak to someone on the phone, so I went online and got my results directly from PathCare. It was a jumble of letters and numbers that made no sense at all, forcing me to scour the internet and learn new stuff.
“What fresh hell is this?” shouted my brain. “We’re in med school now?”
My cholesterol was high, but also lower than it was at the destructive peak of my last marriage when I was doing everything I could to trigger a fatal heart attack. It seemed quicker and cleaner than divorce.
My PSA levels showed my prostate was still a happy little walnut and I probably didn’t need to fork out money for a stranger to root around in my bottom. When it comes to that sort of thing, I’m the one who charges.
My GGT was 95, the highest I’ve ever scored for anything. I opened a bottle of champagne and called my father with the good news. Thought I’d never amount to anything, eh? That’ll show you. There was a long silence. I felt my liver convulse like an angry foetus.
“You might want to check your research,” said my father.