I GOT a new pair of trainers this week. I had forgotten how white and shiny new trainers are, particularly on small blokes like me, who are getting smaller.
Didn’t you know? Scientists say you get smaller with age. You can lose a third of an inch every decade from the age of 40. Which is not good news for someone who didn’t have that many inches to start with.
It’s to do with the discs in your back. They are, apparently, made from 88% water and standing up puts pressure on them and squeezes out the fluid.
However, you do get a bit taller in bed at night, when the discs have a chance to reabsorb the lost moisture. I wish I’d been told this much sooner. I could have spent two years on my back in my early teens, before my hormones kicked in. By the time I was 20 I could have been 6ft tall.
It’s too late now, of course and a lifetime of standing up at bars in pubs has squeezed most of the fluid out of my back. And so I have shrunk. However, to compensate my feet are getting bigger. I think I’m turning into a hobbit.
This makes it even more difficult to appear casual in a new pair of pure white trainers. All right, there may be those among you who ask why I even need a new pair of trainers at my time of life. The short answer – well I can’t very well give you a tall one, can I? – is that they are comfortable and my old ones wore out.
And aren’t they bright when they’re new? I mean, they shine like beacons, which is all very well at night to warn oncoming traffic, but a bit off-putting during the day when their glare in the sunshine can blind unwary pedestrians at 30 paces.
They are also stiff and, because I got a size larger for my expanding feet, I keep falling over them. There I was, all jaunty in the pub, and not only tripped on the way to the loo, but on the way back as well.
“Isn’t that Norman Wisdom?” someone said.
“More like Bilbo Baggins.”
“Perhaps it’s a relative. He trips just like Norman.”
To be honest, I’m from an age when everyone wore pumps for playing out. These were white canvas plimsolls that had to be painted white for gym lessons. Every time you ran, the dried paint would come off in little puffs as if the pumps were tired.
Then along came baseball boots and trainers and now everyone wears them as a fashion item, from rappers to royalty. Although, to be honest, I suspect the Queen and Prince Philip don’t slip into Nikes when they are off duty in Buck House.
But Prince Harry wears them. How does he solve the newness? Of course, he’s six foot two inches tall so it’s not that much of a problem. People tend to look up at Harry and won’t notice his trainers. Besides, he’s a royal; he should be wearing new ones all the time. If he did, he could sell each pair on e-Bay for charity after just one outing.
In fact, that’s not a bad line to use if anyone makes fun of my new trainers.
“They used to be Prince Harry’s. I got them on eBay.”
“You want to be careful. E-Bay can be hobbit forming.”