Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

08 September 2009

There’s A Lot of It Going Around

‘Groin Strain.’

What exactly is ‘Groin Strain’? Nobody I ask seems to know.

I think I first heard the term associated with cricketers - about ten years ago, maybe more. That’s when the sport was going through a patch of dandyism personified by capricious new baby professionals with bouncy, often bleached, curls who thought themselves more important than the team.They were brought to such a peak of nervous perfection that, like race horses, they were liable to break down if ill-used; a match too many inducing… Groin Strain.

I don’t ever remember Denis Compton or Don Bradman having it; perhaps it had another name in those days. But come to think of it, I can’t recall any occasion when those old cricketers had anything wrong with them at all; they used to go on and on.

But whatever it is it’s catching; soccer players are getting it these days - probably brought on by ever more outrageous ‘hollywoods’; and even rugby players, ever since they started doing those silly ‘high fives’. I’m afraid we’ve seen the last of those flinty, unsmiling, imperturbable warhorses.
Let’s face it, Groin Strain is just another fashion. It’ll disappear overnight to be replaced by something new: ‘femoral flux’, perhaps, or ‘patella passion’. (I’ll bet you didn’t know that appendicitis used to be called the ‘iliac passion’ - keep it in mind for Trivial Pursuit).

My sports masseur, who is as mystified as I about Groin Strain, was telling me the other day that it was not all that long ago that athletes would climb on to his table complaining of ‘Hip Flexor’. He says that it rapidly disappeared without trace from the repertoire of niggles.

‘Slipped Disk’ is another one. In the 1950s, particularly, every second soul you came across had it and it soon became so commonplace that people were looking for alternatives. One of them was ‘P.I.D’. I can still remember a desk-bound airman on my RAF station telling me that his slight banana shape was occasioned by P.I.D. and was a wonderful ploy for getting out of P.T., square-bashing and kit inspections.
‘P.I.D. It sounds awful’ I commiserated, ‘What is it?’

In contrast to the elusive ‘Groin Strain’ he was able to make a definition: ‘Prolapsed Intervertebral Disk.’ he replied, triumphantly. You must admit it was far superior to ‘Slipped Disk’ but both terms have fallen out of fashion.

Did you ever encounter ‘Urti’? Sounds like the name of a mid-African tribe. I went to Sydney once to have a meeting with a man who, when I got there, didn’t show up. I was told by his secretary that he was suffering from ‘Urti’. She carefully spelled it out: ‘U-R-T-I. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection.’

‘Oh, you mean he’s got a sore throat?’

He could hardly have justified missing an appointment with somebody who’d come so far if he’d only had a sore throat, Urti was so much more impressive.

‘Writer’s Cramp’ had its day. We could all understand that description. Even school kids had it. It was never permanent, but after writing an essay on, say, Gordon of Khartoum or The Reproductive Process of the Earthworm, it was necessary to flex the fingers as demonstratively as possible several times over as teacher came around. Writer’s Cramp turned itself into a monumental evil, embracing not only handwriting but also typing, word-processing, sewing machining, oakum picking, knitting and crocheting; it was the wildly popular RSI.

What, have you forgotten Repetitive Strain Injury already? It turned Writer’s Cramp into a benefits industry. And in some parts of the politically correct world just when it was really hitting its straps somebody came along and renamed it O.O.S. - Occupational Over-use Syndrome. I guess the word ’syndrome’ was what clinched it. Anything with that word in is worth a fortune when you’re putting in an sickness claim. Or maybe they called it O.O.S. because, like Urti, it could become a word in its own right: ‘Oose’.

It’s much nicer to say ‘I’ve got Oose’ (rhymes with moose) than ‘Arsi’, isn’t it? (Funny thing about Oose, not many self-employed people seem to get it.)

Every generation has its fashions but the more ’state of the art’ we become, the more technological they sound. I mean, my granny, if I asked her to bring me a glass of water in bed, would demur, saying she had ‘a bone in her leg’. Nothing high-tech about that but then she was a great one for bathing sprained ankles in chamber pots, and chewing cloves for toothache. She died just as ‘Housemaid’s Knee’ was on its way out; I think it gave way to ‘Tennis Elbow’, a condition much favoured by beer drinkers who never went near tennis courts but leaned a lot on bars.

Who knows what the next fashionable ailment will be? I suspect that it will emerge from the Internet and will be called ‘Cyber-something-or-other’. Or maybe it will be something as simple as was once diagnosed in me by a doctor when I reported sick with lumpy glands and spots before my eyes.

‘If you haven’t got your fly done up to your waistcoat, you’ve probably got Taloiga.’

‘Taloiga.’ I spluttered, in mortal fear.

‘Yes; There’s A Lot Of It Going Around…’



Blog Archive

Hits Counter


Loaded Web

Blog Directory for Albany, New Zealand


Blog This Here

Blog Flux

Commentary blogs


  • <$BlogCommentAuthor$> // <$BlogCommentDateTime$>


By Don Donovan

About Me

My photo

Don Donovan: Biography

I was born on 20 January 1933, nine days before Hitler came to power in Germany, I grew up in south London. Although evacuated during the phoney war and the quieter times I lived in and out of air raid shelters during the blitz and experienced both V1 and V2 attacks on London. Left grammar school in 1948 aged 15 substantially undereducated. I wanted to go to art school but because of family ‘poverty’ joined a commercial art studio in the West End. I was, thereafter, variously a messenger boy, commercial artist and typographer. I was in the Royal Air Force from 1951 to 1953 when the only useful thing I did was to take part in King George VI’s funeral parade.

In 1955 I married Patricia O’Donnell, a RADA graduate, at that time playing opposite Derek Nimmo, they were juvenile leads in a touring repertory company. He went on to great success because he had a funny voice.

We came to New Zealand in 1960 where I worked in advertising. At length I became managing director of one of the companies of whose holding company (the largest domestic advertising complex in New Zealand) I was also a proprietor and shareholder. I left the industry in 1990 when my company was bought out by American interests. My timing was brilliant, at that point my first book had been published and the next was on its way.

We have two daughters and four grand-children.

Now, apart from writing, I function as a self-educated grumpy old man.

Books & Writings

‘New Zealand Odyssey’, with Euan Sarginson, Heinemann-Reed, 1989.

‘One Man’s Heart Attack’, New House, 1990. (A special edition of this book was purchased by CIBA-Geigy for distribution to NZ doctors).

‘Open 7 Days’, Random Century, October 1991.

‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’ by Saint Publishing in 1995 followed by:
‘New Zealand House & Cottage’ in 1997. (Saint Publishing have also published calendars for the years 1994 to 2004 using my watercolour illustrations).

‘The Wastings’, my first novel was published in July 1999 by Hazard Press. Although an international subject it had very limited distribution, only in New Zealand, and the rights have reverted to me. (Colin Dexter read 'The Wastings' and wrote to me: 'I enjoyed and admired "The Wastings"... a beautifully written work... a splendid debut in crime fiction... More please!'.)

Also the texts of photographic books:
‘Colourful New Zealand’
‘New Zealand in Colour’
‘Top of the South’
‘Above Auckland’
‘Hauraki Gulf Destinations’
‘Bay of Plenty’
and a compilation of photographs and quotations titled ‘Anzac Memories’ 2004 all published by New Holland.

My written and illustrated book, ‘Country Churches of New Zealand’ was published in October 2002 by New Holland, who also published ‘Rural New Zealand’ 2004 (photographs and text), and a series of four humorous books of photographs and quotations in 2004 and 2005 titled ‘Woolly Wisdom’, ‘Chewing the Cud’, ‘Fowl Play’, and ‘Pig Tales’. My most recent book was published in August 2006 by New Holland, titled ‘Political Animals’.

Over the years I have written for NZ Herald, Heritage Magazine, Next Magazine and various local and overseas travel and general interest media.