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Spalding's John Ward: "Responding well to treatment"

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Here's the regular column from John Ward

It’s been ages since I last heard the expression: “I have to ask your age to buy this,” as I did in one outlet recently and no, strangely this remark was not addressed at me although it could happen I suppose if I decided to comb the parting in my hair a bit more flamboyantly.

The age thing seems to be a bewildering state of mind at times with some folk wanting to be older but possibly a larger percentage wanting to appear (or wish they were) younger as some go to extremes as their birthdays seem to hang in limbo or in some cases they go in reverse.

Columnist John Ward (56949275)
Columnist John Ward (56949275)

I was invited to one birthday party, or event, a few years ago where the heat given off by the sheer amount of candles on the person’s celebration cake, which took two people to get it ignited, was something to behold - well, I can remember it and hence you are reading about it now.

I think the way forward is going digital as having a screen on your cake with the numbers coming up as programmed would be environmentally friendly and save candle wax, wicks and wood if using matches.

Being digital, you could also include the current time, calendar, ambient temperature, alarm for when to take your tablets or pills plus it would also be handy to set up an alarm for a year ahead to let you know when your next birthday bash is about to happen.

One thing that I could never quite get my head round was years ago when I joined our, then local, library as until I was 18,I needed one of my parents’ signature on the application form, although a family friend whose son had turned 16 enlisted in the army as a junior soldier or whatever it was called then.

So there was a sort of two year difference - or threshold - from wanting to borrow a book to nipping off to far flung countries to meet new, easily excitable people whom you didn’t really get to know long enough to find out if they played darts, cricket, did needlepoint etc as you were there to possibly to shoot at them with some of them easily offended by this action as they returned fire.

One rare occasion happened many years ago when I went to see my then doctor or rather the locum who was standing in as holiday relief for my own doctor, whom I had never met before and vice versa.

On entering to see him it was a greeting of “please sit down and let me look at your file” – this was not the super dooper computer driven age of today – which then was a bulging folder of sorts as he scanned the latest, then up to date pages and then looked at me and said he hoped I was “responding well to treatment” as that “was about as much as they (?) could do” for me (!).

This did surprise me to say the least as this was the first time I had visited in the past few years - one doctor in the practice once greeted me by saying he thought I was dead as he had not seen me for ages, and I asked in return did he send flowers as it might be a bit late now for a refund, assuming we could establish the date of my supposed departure.

However, on this occasion I had gone regarding an accident I had suffered or was daft enough to let happen to me - please, I know my limitations in such matters - so I was there to ‘be checked over’ after being advised to do so after being discharged by the local hospital A & E department, so references to “responding to treatment” was a mystery to me.

It turned out that I had the same birth date as another of the same name but slightly different initials but a 30-odd year age gap between us, hence he thought I was the person concerned but then it was slightly worrying that he thought I looked 30 years older, so was I in a worse condition than I had thought if he had not picked up on that?

To think he did not notice the 30-odd year difference in my appearance meaning that I was decrepit looking then but I wasn’t, if you get my drift, whereupon I am now in that age bracket and now looking decrepit although it’s something you grow into but it takes time of course or in my case about 30 years or so.

I pointed out what I was there for, or who I was to be precise, and he apologised for the error but I couldn’t help but feel a bit concerned for the person who was “responding to treatment” and how he was getting on.

Buffoonery, however, doesn’t come much better than the following example of a telephone conversation I had not so long ago on ordering a saw blade for a metal cutting saw, which is slightly specialised as not being readily available in DIY shops.

I had dealt with this company before some years ago but now things have moved on in this ‘compootah driven’ world we endure as I placed the order, double checked the size required, payment details etc as just as I thought that was that I was then told by the person taking the order that she had to ask an important question before the order was dispatched.

Could I confirm I was over 18 years of age (or in old money, old enough to sign for my own library books) as I did ask how would I confirm this over the telephone but said I was over four foot and 18 inches tall, so would that be okay?

The reply was, and I quote: “Well, I would think so (!) as you can’t be too careful (?) but I have to ask customers this,” which made me wonder how the other customers responded to that request or are they too “responding well to treatment” until further notice.

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