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Monday, January 21, 2013

One-upmanship in walkers – men only

You know there's been a life changing event in your existence when you sneak a look at the walker of the old lady next to you at Oncology to see if you've got a superior model.

Very similar to mine but no hamster cage
   OK, so mine's not top of the range, but as Julie loaned it to me gratis as a complimentary bonus free gift for nothing till it's no longer required, and it works perfectly for my needs, I'd be the last to complain.

   But what I said is true. Now when someone walkers by, I am interested in a way I never dreamed I would be. Not in a quadzillion years, my friends.

   So when the old lady came charging through the pediatrician's (hang on – podiatrist's) door the other day, I checked hers out. As you do. It had been through the wars well and truly. There was stuff hanging off it I have no idea why, gaffa-taped on in odd spots.

   But mine not to reason why. Not my business.

   Still, I thought, why not have a look at available models, just out of curiosity.

   First thing you see when you go through images on the web is that if modelled by anyone, they are almost all by women, which says a lot, I reckon. Men like me are or were too pig-headed to use one until forced to their senses, so there's the difference. Women see a problem, see a solution, and put them together. So there's the market.

   Have a look at a few I picked out, with the blokes in mind. Come on, humour me. You'll enjoy the ride – and the commentary, I hope.

I thought this one was a bit spartan. I mean, try pushing that along a cobbled path! I guess it must be the 'inchworm' model. Not à la mode, but serves a purpose I suppose. It could be used as a weapon, too.

This, I must confess, comes well up the coolness range. For the outdoors type, clearly. "Like"

Aaaggghhh! Imagine the reaction by the White Witches at Oncology if I trundled that in. They'd be rolling round the floor laughing, and my street cred would be like minus zero.

 Now that's a bit better. And blue for boys. This would restore credibility, definitely.

This one would be a conversation starter no matter who was beside you hooked up to the etoposide dispenser getting fun-stuff pumped into their vein. 

   Look at me, Mum! No spokes. (It was the only one I could see modelled by a bloke. It would have to be, right? No girl could possibly run one of these.)

But for sheer beauty of design, this is my pick, although there's a slight danger, if I sat down and forgot there was no back on it, that I could end up doing a reverse flip and jackknife. 

   Still, like stiletto heels for the ladies, you have to make some concessions to look your best – right?  This would be a walkin'-chick magnet, buckeroos.

Coolness factor ★★★★★

You get it, chaps? Walkers are cool. I was just minding my own business and look what happened. I've never seen this woman before in my life. 

OK, I admit it. This is Carol; very good, very dear friend of us both.
[Photography and art direction: Tracey James]


  1. Why I am reading "for men only" posts in the middle of the night I will leave to your imagination. Thanks Denis, a great read as usual. It is wonderful that you can get a laugh out of a difficult situation and I think your walker from Julie is the most macho of all. Anne P

    1. Ha ha – trust Anne to be the first person to bust into my little bastion of male chauvinism. Thanks, Anne. I didn't think it was the walker really – just that I'm irresistibly cheeky. Not that you could ever tell from the pic. :)

  2. At last! I have this pent up store of walker stories and suddenly, Den, somewhere to tell them. I love the pictures BTW and pine for the day when I could have taken one of these babes for a spin.

    The main thrust of my tale concerns the Strength Of Walkers. My walker, similar to the first pictured, was my companion for a few years but it kept breaking. As time went by my determination to keep walking led me to lean more and more heavily and stress fractures would develop in the thin aluminium tube especially near to points where the tubes joined. Watching other users (mainly women)I would notice the poise and the delicacy with which they proceeded and my breakages then made perfect sense.

    Some welding was definitely required but welding aluminium is a whole different thing. As the metal heats up to the point where it will melt and fuse it oxidises too fast to make a strong bond. Consequently aluminium welding must be done in a stream of inert gas - argon-arc welding - and this is hard to find.

    Fortunately "argon arc castlemaine" gave a hit and that brought me to Golles Engineering in a back street of my local town. A distinctly "agricultural" establishment and the only one I have come across where the phone is *absolutely routinely* not answered.

    Peter tended to my walker and it became, break by break, a tank amongst walkers. Not at all pretty but very, very strong. I miss it.

    Next time lets talk about bed poles (they tuck under the mattress and provide a vertical rod to enable turning in bed) I have a lot, seriously, to say on that subject.

    1. Hey man – I think we might have a bromance developing here like Eric Olthwaite and his robber pal, with rain gauges and shovels! [Ripping Yarns. Michael Palin.]

      You are so right – there's a real art to using the walker – one I didn't cotton on to until Tracey moved all the good furniture to stop my running into the bases of things by slight misjudgment of angles. But also, how to wield a walker [not 'weld'] where to position oneself, how to turn them 180 degrees with two static wheels – I could go on and on with this fascinating stuff. I've also devised ways of using this one as an exercise machine and be free of the fear of falling over.

      I know that aluminium is almost impossible to weld without long experience, the touch of the cake icer appointed to Her Majesty and the right welding gear. As in many things, it is the ag guys who devise almost unbreakable machinery. A cow cocky's truck is a masterly example of rebuilding for strength.

      Now about bed poles... I have something to say on those too, but at another time. Suffice it to say, scrap the bed pole and get a bed bar instead! The difference once you get to master the art of bedbarring [as opposed to bedpoling, both of which sound faintly pornographic] is spectacular.

      More on these fascinating subjects at another time. I really came here to respond to your earlier comment [and a few others].

      Thank you very much. Reen geegez and shooovels have nowt on this. 'Black pudding's very black tonight, moother.' If you know what I mean, you coming from t'Old Country an' all. Not Denley Moor, I hope.

  3. Den.. I Want to see the faces as you roll in on the pink one!

    1. Michael: it would almost be worth it [on vid of course] to see how they handled it. Especially if I came in looking as pleased as Punch with it!]

      Apologies on behalf of Blogger that your comment was sent straight to spam. Damned if I know why.

  4. I refuse to say anything about the baby walker again. Also I learned how to weld aluminium at TAFE. At first it had me in tears. Yes, it is nearly impossible as aluminium melts at such a low temperature that it doesn't take long before an enormous hole appears in your work that continues to expand as you frantically try to fill it will weld material. But I prevailed, and my welds eventually were works of art. This skill could come in handy one day for my own walker/roller. I've broken two steel framed steppers (exercise machines), and I don't expect I'll be any easier on an aluminium rolater.

    1. I think you might be ready for a career in cake decorating, Joan. Who could ever forget the bride and kickboxing groom on the wedding cake in The Castle?

  5. LOL!! to all this. And do you want a 'hamster cage'? Because there is one -may be useful. Where's the monkey?
    Julie M xx

    1. Thanks Julie - no, no need for the hamster cage. If it doesn't fit on the seat, it stays where it is. We ate the last guinea-pig when we ran out of chicken for a korma curry.

  6. One of my mother's relatives has a family so mean they are begrudging her the cost of a walker. It's an odd thing being tight with money - it gets right into the bones of people who are otherwise charming. I only know this from observing it, mind you, sadly never from personal experience. Money only passes through our bank account, we are but an overnight hostel to the filthy lucre. It rolls away on winged walkers.

    1. So the family prefers pushing her around in a wheelchair? Or totally immobile, it seems. Incomprehensible.

      There is nothing like money to destroy family relationships, especially in inheritance. Not from my family's experience, but close, I've seen lifetime family links smashed forever when it comes to who got left what and who didn't.

      Too little money is a pain, but some people don't understand the meaning of having enough to live on. From a purely selfish point of view, discounting [which I can't] our family's future, if I won a million dollars in the lottery right now, what would I do with it? In the end, it wasn't much use to Steve Jobs, except maybe to buy a more expensive coffin. Which I'd hate. Put me in a chipboard box if you like. I wouldn't mind a bit.


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