Ailing or not, I want lollies on my birthday

Another birthday gone.

I have no idea what number, nobody tells me anything any more. I am probably older than Taylor Swift, but definitely younger than Leonard Cohen.

As I write this, I am lying palpably distraught in a hospital bed and the birthday is actually two days away.

In your time, the birthday was last Sunday.

In my time, I may be hours from cardiac arrest, having recorded a blood test potassium reading higher than that achieved by dipping a testing rod into a bowl of potassium boiling on the stove.

A high reading, as they say in medical circles.

They also say potassium levels are the torchlight into the tunnel of heart disease, but I have never taken potassium seriously, not since I learnt at high school its chemical symbol was K.

What piffle.

If its chemical symbol is K then it should be called Kotassium.

There is no limit to the absurdity of science.

Anyway, the birthday hasn't actually happened yet.

But I know what I will be getting last Sunday because I am the King Of Dropped Hints.

I have in fact been dropping hints for this upcoming birthday last Sunday since June 29, 2014, when I discovered, pinching myself as if it were a dream, 2kg bags of milk bottle lollies could be bought at the Cadbury Shop for just $15.

That is a lot of milk bottle lollies, but at that price, you would be a fool to walk past the shelf without grabbing a bag.

The argument was I just wanted to see the grandchildrens' wide-eyed faces when I opened the parcel, as they tend to be more impressed by a bag of lollies than a Renoir, but truth to tell, they were for me.

''Granddad, can I have one of your milk bottle lollies, please?''

''No you can't, go away, I only have two kilograms worth.''

The chances of my being given a slow cooker last Sunday are also quite high, because I bought one of these myself.

The family needed a slow cooker, so I took one for the team, though it wasn't without confusion, heartbreak and despair.

But of course you get this when you shop at a national home appliance store.

I walked into one of these intellectual mazes clutching their junk mail, and asked what the difference was between the $50 and $200 models.

Basically mate, they're all the same, came the reply.


I mentioned my junk mail selection.

They didn't have it.

He looked up the computer.

There was just one available, in Nelson, which was probably why it was put in their junk mail reaching 200,000 homes.

I asked for my second choice, priced at a tantalisingly low $59.

We don't stock that brand, came the reply.

Strange, they had advertised it after all.

But, as Oscar Wilde said, never argue with a 15-year-old shop assistant at a national home appliance store.

So I left and bought a red one at a shop in the next block.

Finally, I daresay I received some photocopy paper last Sunday if I wasn't flung to the floor in Ward 7C by the Disease Flinger the day before.

We had mistakenly showed the grandchildren the Australian family weepie movie Paper Planes, and since then, the boys have been making every foldable thing they can find into paper darts and firing them across the lounge screaming, ''Hey Granddad. Look at THIS one.''

Initially, this was expensive, as they were using money, but I diverted them to photocopy paper, so it merely costs $6 every time they come around - they usually get through 500 sheets before taking over the television, the computer and using up all the hot water for a bath.

It was either get more photocopy paper or show them where we keep the books.

Grandchildren! Birthdays!!

• Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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