Martin Jensen, author of How to Get What You Want, gives you the lowdown on his personal life.
Why do little ducklings walk softly? Because they can’t walk hardly.
To be serious, animals that have lost their mums fixate on people who try to look after them.
Ducklings, even baby hippos, will follow you around.
When I was five, I developed an infection behind my right ear. My mum put flour on it to dry it and told me to always wash behind my ears. She told me this in the street on her way to wash bottles for the war effort. Eighty-one years later, it is as if I see the scene now.
And at age 86, I still wash behind my ears. Like a duckling or baby hippo, the act she imprinted on me is essential. If I don’t wash behind my ears, it feels wrong. And to do it brings me comfort. I imagine that my long dead mum would be amazed at this result but there it is.
Another thing I do compulsively, is have an eyebath. Each morning, in the shower, before washing behind my ears, I prime my small plastic eyebath with a trickle of salt. Then, when I’ve cleaned my eyelids with soap, I apply the eyebath to each eye in turn, blinking, of course, so the saline contacts the eye.
At 86, my eyes are not good and have been easily infected. Not now. On my last visit to the ophthalmologist, I told him my habit. He sighed and said, ‘I’m not sure you can buy eyebaths anymore.’ Next day, I ransacked two Chemist Warehouse stores and left about fifteen eyebaths at the desk for him.
At night, after a hard night snoring in front of the boob tube, my eyelids feel gritty. Do I use eyedrops? Not always. I lick my finger and rub them over the closed lids. It gives almost instant relief. Saliva is partly antiseptic and does the job. It’s not for nothing we have the expression ‘licking your wounds’. If saliva is good enough for cats and dogs, it’s fine.
Another thing I never miss is flossing my teeth. At 86, I have lost two teeth, but would have lost more without this habit. I’ve made a flossing device with two prongs to hold the floss. There is a wooden handle attached with two long screws surmounted by wingnuts, one on either side. One holds the spindle with the floss. (You just gut the floss container and fish it out.) The other secures two brass washers that clamp the end of the floss in place. I have made a dozen of these contraptions and have one in several rooms of the house. Another in the car glovebox. Another in my overnight bag. And I have donated more to friends and family. They make flossing extremely easy and reduce the cost to almost nothing.
Finally, as I squat on the toilet (if you sit on it you’re a fool) it brings my toes conveniently near my hands. This makes it easy to grab a nailfile and roughen the nails of my feet. Then I brush them with antifungal solution. The lacquer is dry before I step into the shower.
I have now divulged the minutia of my self-maintenance regime.
There is more, of course. Lifting weights, bike riding, walking, but you don’t need instructions for that. Except to say that if you lift weights when you are 20, you can improve your fitness 10 per cent. But if you start lifting weights after 75, you can improve your fitness 30 per cent. So if you want to die fit, get a press bench.
Then there’s diet. More veg. Less meat. And a morning teaspoon of brewer’s yeast, which contains every trace element known.
Go, and do thou likewise.
And remember that growing old is the only way to live a long time.
You can read Martin's Books on Buzzword.