Two days ago I broke my neck. Not in the traditional ‘cervical fracture’ sense of the word. No, this is far more painful, annoying and, most importantly, sans sympathy.
There was no precursor to my neck’s sudden and inexplicable strike. I simply got out of the shower and realised that turning my head was an excruciatingly painful exercise; it was as if my neck seized my naked and wet vulnerability as the perfect opportunity to execute a carefully planned attack. If it had a mouth it might have said “I’ve been here for 24 years swivelling your weighty bonce around so that you can interact with groups of people over a full 90 degree range, cross the road safely, nod in agreement, shake in disagreement and what thanks have I got for all this effort? I want some recognition and I demand some respect!” Respect it has – albeit a begrudging respect, like the kind you would give to Robert Mugabe, knowing full well that he might kill you – but it is now respected nonetheless.
The worst thing about the neck’s new regime, aside from looking like C3PO every time I want to glance left or right, is that despite the insufferable pain, you get absolutely no sympathy because people just assume you’ve cricked your neck. Roz’s parents laughed at me and called me ‘old’, albeit in Chinese, so at the time I just smiled and nodded until the shame was translated for me later on. Even when I went to see a doctor yesterday and told him that the current dosage of Co-codamol/Ibuprofen was doing nothing to alleviate my agony and that he’d have to prescribe something stronger, he eyed me with the type of wary judgement reserved for the no-doubt countless drug addicts that come to him feigning injury. So, not only has the neck now forced me to respect it, in a tyrannical autocratic kind of way, it has also knocked me down another few rungs in society. Who would have thought that a pain in the neck could take you from disenchanted dreamer to a drug addled menace to society in one fell swoop?
The only saving grace is the fact that I now have a prescription for a stock of powerful opiate based painkillers and Valium, which should not only alleviate the pain in the neck, but also the social embarrassment of this dreadful affliction. And if that fails, there is always the option of joltily ambling around the Hackney estates in a gold droid suit referring to everyone I meet as Master Luke in an upper class effeminate voice. That’ll put an end to this regime once and for all!