Music mogul Cowell suggests reading the brochure before hopping on your e-bike, writes Maurice Guéret, who has found his own foot cure in Arnotts.
We used to play a bossy childhood game called Simon Says. Does it still exist? Simon says stop singing. Simon says read the brochure. I'm reading of Simon Cowell's mishap at his hideaway in Malibu, just north of Los Angeles. Within seconds of taking delivery of a new electric bicycle, he was flat out on the patio, with some broken bones in his spine. Thankfully his spinal cord would appear to be intact, and he has issued a warning from the clinic where he had six hours of surgery about the importance of reading the brochure before sitting on the saddle. It would appear that the bicycle took off a lot faster than Simon did. There has been some debate about whether the machine he fell off was an electric bike or an electric motorbike. But these are semantics. It's not only speed that does damage. A few years ago, I wrote here about the rise in e-bike deaths in Holland, especially among older men. Bike deaths had overtaken car deaths there. It was reported that one-quarter of the 200 Dutch bike deaths a year involved e-bikes, and many of the accidents were happening either mounting or dismounting them. These machines can be ferociously heavy and difficult to control for older users. It's one thing for males to be confident, but overconfidence can induce premature use of a walking stick, or even worse.
One of the people I was most gratified to see again as summer faded was my dentist. There must have been many thousands of patients left stranded in the middle of treatment by this pesky coronavirus. In fairness, he looked pleased to see me, too. He had trained in America and told me that tending to my dentition over the last decade was akin to working on the San Francisco bridge. This puzzled me at first. I had never considered my gnashers to be any sort of trove of architectural merit. He then explained that working on the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous never-ending occupations in the world. As soon as you think you have finished painting, polishing and filling in the gaps of the ancient rust bucket, it's time to start afresh. Dozens of workmen labour 365 days a year with sandblasters, power washers, metal grinders and paint sprayers. And, boy, do they require a massive amount of equipment to access those hard-to-reach places. It was once said that so much zinc goes into the rust-fighting primer, it could treat a century of common colds. Yes, the Golden Gate and the Guéret Gob are jobs for life. I do like a worldly dentist with good humour and a winning smile.
My right foot
My summer pain, the plantar fasciitis in my right foot, seems to be nearing a happy end. It's all thanks to the men's shoe section at Arnotts, where they stock a great array of Ecco shoes that hail from Denmark. The company has been making shoes since the year I was born and I took up a recommendation to look for the style with the built-in shock absorber in the heel. I found the Exostride M model, with hard-wearing leather from a yak and the snot-green-hued Shock Thru technology secreted within the heel. The relief was instantaneous, and they are so comfortable that I'm tempted to wear them in bed too. I'm saving up for a second pair in brown to match the black ones that cost me €120. Just as I was being cured, a reader wrote to tell me of the relief he got for this condition from baths of Epsom Salts. Epsom is more famous for the Derby horse race now, but 200 years ago it was a spa town, noted for the magnesium sulphate in its waters. I'll write more about Epsom Salts next week.
Dr Maurice Guéret is editor of the 'Irish Medical Directory'