I told you I was ill

Oscar’s hypochondria continues apace.

He has been worried about a small scratch on his side now for about three weeks. He keeps showing it to me. I have run out of things to say.

I find it very hard to be sympathetic to these minor ailments. If truth be told I find I run out of sympathy pretty quickly with major ailments too, but scratches and bruises do not elicit any sympathy at all.

I tried to explain to him what growing up in the Seventies entailed. I do not remember a week going by without some kind of scab forming, pustule exploding, rainbow hued bruise blossoming etc. Once you had garnered these war wounds you were then free to fill the up to that point unblemished areas with any number of stings, scratches and/or insect bites of your choice. If you hadn’t managed to cover your entire self by then you could always resort to Chinese burns, patterning yourself with a compass, or love bites (self inflicted or otherwise).

It’s a wonder any battered children were recognised at all in those days to be honest. We must have looked like we were permanently in the act of falling down stairs and hitting every step on the way down.

Oscar was fascinated by this information. Fascinated but entirely unbelieving. We are at that point in my life cycle where anything I tell the children about my childhood sounds like either a) a totally fantastic and utterly made up yarn or b) ancient history, which is why they still ask me if I went up chimneys when I was small, is a Triceratops really that colour and did I have a television etc.

Yesterday, when he got up, he rushed to find me to show me his toe nails. He waggled his feet in front of my eyes like a sea anemone going in for the kill. I asked what I was supposed to be looking at. He said:

‘My toe nails are green.’

I inspected them more closely. I could not see any green at all. Not even a mottled hue.

I pointed this out. It did not go down well.

‘But they are green. Will we need to go to the hospital do you think?’

I assure him that I am not going to the hospital either with or without him. I reiterate that he will be fine.

He looks at me, in that way, that way that tells me he thinks I am just fobbing him off so I can get back to drinking coffee and reading my book.

I say:

‘When I have finished my coffee I will get the bread knife out and we will amputate.’

He skitters off to watch the television. He throws a glance back at me over his shoulder as he goes. It says:

‘You will be sorry about this when I’m dead.’

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