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Friday, July 08, 2016

Comic Cuts - 8 July 2016

We're in the run-up week before we go into the studio with Hotel Business, so I've managed to get out into the garden a couple of times. As someone who is about as far from physically fit as you can get, the consequence of nearly thirty years of sitting in front of a keyboard, a couple of hours attacking dangerous plantlife—who knew it was so pointy and stingy?—almost killed me.

The rush to get things done on Tuesday was down to the council collecting green waste on Wednesday morning. My gardening activities have been a little more relaxed since then, but still enough to remind my back that work makes it ache and that I definitely need to keep up the morning and afternoon walks, as it's due to that activity that I'm not laid up in bed filled with painkillers, which, ten years ago, is where I would have been.

My back problems are a long and frankly boring saga that started when I was a young buck of 22. I'd spent most of the afternoon and evening hunched over a typewriter, typing up notes I'd made at the British Library. I was due to go out with my then girlfriend, Heather, who unexpectedly called to say she was feeling unwell but I should go ahead and meet up with friends. The conversation went on for a while until I realised that the bus that was to take me to town was due in a minute or two. Running back into the living room, I grabbed the table—a long, low coffee table—with the typewriter on it, to put it back to where it lived.

I'd done this hundreds of times before but this time, I snatched up the table and felt an agonizing pain in my lower spine. The table dropped (I hadn't lifted it far) and I fell back onto the sofa in agony. I'd slipped a disc—technically I think it's called a lumbar herniated disc—and spent the rest of the evening trying not to move. When it came to bed, I crawled into the kitchen where, in one of the cupboards, was an old walking stick, which I used to heave myself upright. Between the stick and the handrail I managed to get up the stairs, swallowed a handful of painkillers and eventually fell asleep.

The next morning I was still in pain and now so stiff it was almost impossible to move. I had to crawl to the bathroom and haul myself up using the hot and cold pipes to get myself into a position where I could have a wee. Once upright, I didn't dare try to pick up the walking stick from where it had fallen the night before, so I struggled down the stairs clinging to the handrail for dear life. Got to the phone, phoned a taxi and went off to A&E.

There's more, but suffice it to say that I've had lower back problems ever since, exacerbated by a fall in the mid-1990s and, since physical work caused me pain, a tendency not to do anything physical since, which meant I put on weight, which then was causing me problems until I decided to do something about it a couple of years ago.

For the most part I'm free of back pain—it's why I started walking and why I continue to nip out a couple of times a day—but a hint or sniff of hard work and I soon realise that I'm still in a very sedentary job and I need to do still more exercise.

I was trying to figure out how to illustrate this column and did a search for "slipped disc, book". Didn't find anything useable, but it did remind me of those happy, smiling models who inhabit the world of Shutterstock, stock photos for all occasions. Our column header is a model who often appears as "pretty girl" or "pretty student" but who also appeared in a picture meant to illustrate back pain, which I'm including here because it has a terrific Photoshop fail.

Reach your hands around to touch your love handles... does it look anything like the picture above. Where's your thumb? Where's her thumbs?

Today's random scans... you know me... I'm never one to let a pun pass  me by, so here are some covers with the word "back" in them!

A nice big cover gallery should be appearing tomorrow featuring the work of Nicholas Monsarrat. Beyond that we shall just have to wait and see as I have a busy couple of days coming up.

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