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Chicken legs

One has to have a sense of humour! Life is difficult but as George Bernard Shaw once said, “Life was not meant to be easy, my child, but take courage – it can be delightful.

I have had several nicknames over the years. During high school I was ‘machine gun’ because of my stutter. My classmates were pretty good actually, but the boys from the younger grades gave me a hard time. I would make my way to the tuckshop and order a “cccccccccan of ccccccoke” but to the delight of the smaller boys around me who would tease and mimic me. In young adulthood my chiselled torso earned me the nick name “chicken legs” and despite spending many hours waiting by the phone no modelling agency phoned me up nor did Calvin Klein consider me for their next poster boy.

In one school I discovered a group of the lads called me “Pirate” for my habit of having only ONE football tactic “Run hard!” It would seem that any team coached by myself became aware on game day that as I strode up and down the side-lines the only thing I could yell out to the players was “Hard, hard, hard!” based upon the belief that if you ran hard you would score.

The week before last I was out walking and I saw an older gentleman ahead of me, slightly over weight and I knew that despite being a little older I would easily overtake him. As I drew level I noticed a small piece of plastic on the ground about three meters in front of us. I walked past it and then guilt got to me and I turned around to pick it up. “Pricey!” came a voice from the gentleman just passed! “Pricey, it’s Joe, you taught me at school 35 years ago!” Wow! I stopped in my tracks, shook his hand and then we chatted. He works as a police officer now. Then came the moment of truth.

“Pricey, as you passed me I did not recognise you but then when you turned to pick up the plastic I noticed your hairy arms. Then I thought, ‘I’d recognise those arms anywhere! It has to be Br Price!”

I blushed but then found myself thanking him for wanting to chat and to recall old times. Sure, life is difficult. Sure, we have our hard times – we all do – in various shapes and forms. But as the song goes, “always look on the bright side of life!” One of the noblest things we can do is to choose to see the good in people, choose to see the lighter side of a situation, choose to keep all in balance, choose to laugh at ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously, choose to be a person of hope despite all that mitigates against it.

There is a whole litany of images: the sunrise after the night of storms, the vista after the mountain climb, the shower after the strenuous gym session, the wreath after the arduous marathon run – whether it be physical, emotional or psychological. All of these and more point to the whole, to balance and to perspective.

One of the doorways to this balance and perspective is to be able to laugh and to laugh at yourself when life’s beautiful but strenuous journey asks much of you. Anyone looking for a chicken legged, hairy armed, elite sporting coach and stammering model for a photo shoot you know where to find me!

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