Fourteen months ago I suffered a minor stroke which knocked the stuffing out of me and dispelled my belief that I was still a teenager. I’d had intimations of this, needing hearing aids, and sometimes forgetting where I’d put them, when they were still in my ears and the batteries had gone flat. And I was attending funerals of contemporaries whom I’d promised to go for a jar with.

A continuing effect of the minor stroke was a slurring of speech even when I was cold sober andI still should be doing speech exercises. I can’t dance like Gene Kelly (the best I could do in my prime was Jivin’ or, for slow dances, Lurchin’ ) nor like Donald O’Connor in  “Singin’ in the Rain” and too often I skip the exercises  as they  are not set to music.

But they can be amusing, for example –

Timothy took a temporary job as a telepathic taxi driver.

Tracy’s truck transmission had been trifled with.

In idle moments I composed obscene tongue twisters whose Latin equivalents might one day be discovered in Pompey or Herculaneum. On rainy days in my youth I read graffiti on a Howth tram shed wall, making scandalous claims about girls who were by then respected matrons.I can still remember them and the wiser remark  –

A man’s ambition must be small, to write his name on a Tram-Shed Wall.

But one of the lines of my exercise reminds me of quite a number of journalists and journals –

Although he had spread scandalous lies, the scoundrel got off scot -free.

I can think of some scandalous liars, not Scots, even two who were knighted  or given peerages when their lies were exposed to the world.

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