Monday 26 September 2016

Billy Keane: There's roadkill on my face, but it's not as hairy as a late diagnosis

Published 03/12/2012 | 17:00

THERE'S roadkill on my face. A terrible, prickly, hedgehoggy growth with a separate existence of its own. I can feel the alien within, working its way remorselessly out. It's like pins and needles with real pins and needles. Inside out acupuncture.

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I'm sure it was a covert Failte Ireland dirty tricks op. Back in the Sixties it happened, right in the middle of the Cold War, but this was a Hot War or a Wet War, depending on which trench you were in. And it was fought between Ireland and Spain.

The urban myth was all about the poor young Irish girl who went to Spain on her holidays. Before she left, the mother ordered her to place a telephone book on any boy's lap she might happen to be sitting on and warned her never to eat any foreign food.

Spain was really foreign back then, with its very own fascist dictator and no sign of millions of English apartment owners called Fred and Doris or mock Irish pubs with bicycles and currachs hanging from the ceiling.

Salads hadn't yet reached these shores, and being the adventurous type, the innocent young girl ordered a few leaves of lettuce, a tomato or two and a thing called a cucumber which was banned in Ireland by Fianna Fail and the church – which were really all the one – on the grounds it was a phallic vegetable. I'm told the public display of melons and bananas was also prohibited around the same time as the books of Edna O'Brien and John McGahern were cursed by the Censorship of Publications Board.

But that is neither here nor there, as the man said when he went to live on the Isle of Man.

The young girl ate away, but according to the legend it was to be her last feast. She woke in terrible agony. It was the stummick, and she swallowed a packet of Rennies.

Soon she had to go to the doctor. He could see the terrible bubbling up under the skin and the horrible belching and gurgling noises coming from the core of her very being.

The Spanish doctor called for the priest. Such ailments were common in Spain. The girl was doomed. She died in excruciating pain. The post-mortem concluded the poor girl was eaten alive from the inside out. By dozens of baby lizards, or it could have been piranhas, depending on who's telling the story. I'd be a lizard man myself. What would be the point of eating your way out through a girl's belly if there was nowhere to swim after the escape?

It seems the eggs were attached to the lettuce and hatched inside the Irish girl. She never stood a chance.

And that is the reason why we Irish only took up eating healthy food in recent times. I know what she went through. There's a goatee on my face. For Movember. To raise money for prostate cancer services here in Kerry. And even more importantly, the hairy face is there to raise awareness. But more about that later on.

I've tried everything. Hydrocortisone cream and natural yogurt brought some bit of relief, but supernatural yogurt wouldn't fix this itch.

Then some genius suggested I try an ancient cure for female itching. The bread soda is heaped into a bowl. Add water and knead into a paste. Apply the paste to the afflicted area. But it made no difference whatsoever. I read on the internet female itching can be caused by yeast, so I gave up the drink, it being a well-known fact that beer is full of yeast. No good.

The ignorance of the slagging is worse. I blame Padraig Harrington. He has a ferret living over his top lip. Does that make him more manly than me, just because my growth rate is slower than a head of cabbage in the Gobi Desert? There is absolutely no correlation between virility and facial hair.

Padraig's dad, Paddy, died from cancer. He was a lovely man and a fine footballer. It's no wonder his young lad turned into such an all-round good guy. Padraig has spoken of his regret that his dad didn't seek treatment sooner. My own dad died from prostate cancer, and when he was first diagnosed there was little if any public awareness of the condition.

DID you ever notice doctors' waiting rooms are full of women? Some are probably in for a free chat because the husband couldn't be bothered listening to them, but most women take far more care than we men.

There was a character in one of the father's plays. The line was: "I'll let no man see me naked until I'm washed for the clay."

Well, boys, ye don't even have to strip for the initial prostate check-up. All it takes is a little pinch. Go and get it done. It could save your life.

There is a reality here, too. For all sorts of reasons, most men are at work when the doctors' surgeries are open. Maybe if the IMO gave up worrying about pay for a while and initiated a few after-hours sessions in their members' clinic, I'll bet cancer rates in men would tumble.

Special thanks to Sean Carey, our local hero who talked 30 of us into the self-torture.

Carey has fallen in love with his goatee and is refusing point-blank to shave it off.

Maybe the bread soda poultice worked for him.

Irish Independent

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