The Other I

December 19, 2015

May I introduce my 5-year-old?

I was seeing my GP several weeks ago for my general annual check-up which I try to have at least once every five years.  He said high blood pressure was a frequent problem for people my age and took out his blood pressure monitor.  “Oh,” I said, “I have white coat syndrome;  it will be very high.”

“You’re worried about what I might tell you?” he asked.

“No,” I replied, “I’m 75 years old.  But there’s still a 5-year-old inside me that’s worried about what you might think about me.”

“What are you worried I might think?” he asked.

After a short reflection, I answered truthfully:  “Whether I’m smart or not.  I can’t walk into a doctor’s office and take a test without feeling that I have to get an A grade.  If I don’t, I’ve failed.”

The doctor demurred.

And my 75-year-old self does too, of course.  But that 5-year-old stubbornly wants the approval of passing the test.

To my surprise, I found making this confession out loud quite liberating.  It’s obviously so neurotic. Even now, I’ve found myself tempted to try to fake the tests – something which I’ve found it is sometimes surprisingly easy to do.  But what a stupid self-defeating thing to even contemplate.  And does it make me smarter to pass an exam meant to find out if I have a medical problem?  No, it make me stupid.

I’ve told this story to several friends and discovered that a good many of us seem to harbor these stubborn 5-year-olds within.  One 5-year-old – resident in a very attractive mature and not over-weight woman – screams that she’s fat.  Another one that she’s lazy – she is one of the most industrious workers I know.

Some children just don’t grow up, do they?

(I am glad to say I did not fiddle the blood-pressure figures the doctor had me take for three days at home.  I thought the figures were not A+.  But the doctor says I’m in “good nick.”  Glad he’s not been deluded by my resident 5-year-old.)

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4 Comments »

  1. never heard the phrase good nick – so googled it interesting – the meaning in your blog is, of course, obvious, the the derivation seems not so much. my 5 year old went in search of trivia in order to avoid balancing my check book – which i guess i will do now – in the nick of time

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    Comment by kateritek — December 19, 2015 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

    • Piqued by your comment about its derivation, I too went googling. The derivation seems to have arisen in Australia or New Zealand in the early 1800’s and referred to the breeding of race horses. If the breeding was successful, it was called a “good nick.” Gradually the term began to be applied to sportsmen in good condition. And now it even applies to 75 year old’s. And 5-year-olds, no doubt.

      Interesting that you’ve never heard the term before.

      On Sat, Dec 19, 2015 at 5:54 PM, The Other I wrote:

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      Comment by Terry Sissons — December 19, 2015 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  2. 54 year old here… Also with a 5 year old me. Thought I was the only one!! Love this blog. Kath

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    Comment by Kathleen — December 19, 2015 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

    • Thank you so much for your comment. It makes me feel a little less like — well, a failure?

      Seriously, thank you.

      On Sat, Dec 19, 2015 at 6:44 PM, The Other I wrote:

      >

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      Comment by Terry Sissons — December 19, 2015 @ 8:38 pm | Reply


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