Is it because I is a g**ger?

I was once told by a senior anaesthetist in Chicago that he dreaded working on redheads. This was, he said, a consequence of finding out, when he was working on a football player with flame-red hair, that the mutant hair also carries with it a mutant response to painkillers. Basically, redheads feel pain less, and are harder to dope. Does that make us necessarily tougher, or generally more foolhardy? Or both? I can think of a good few red-haired Marines, and Jewish people, and of course the Tudor gang, the Normans, or Churchill, as less than shrinking violets. Obviously, its because they is titian, innit?.

I thought this the medical equivalent of an urban myth, but now a growing body of evidence seems to suggest that it is true. So, there you go.

Here's me rationalising my general weird mix of patience, cowardice and stamina as Christian self possession, and in fact it's evolutionary. Are there any other redheads out there surprised to find this all out? If, of course, you're English, I understand the point that 'ginger' is an anagram of a word about black people to be used in much the same way (usually from a safe distance), but you could at least try and focus on the science, should you have avoided your schooling and newspapers enough to educate yourselves.

I have a wide variety of strange responses to substances--some drinks or drugs I just can't take at all, and not because of the state of my cardiovascular system--and others have no effect on me. I've always thought of myself as mildly dyslexic, but now I should obviously become a two-pills-to-see-the-sunlight sort of a man as well (when I was little, my skin used to come off in sheets if I was in the sun for more than a few hours).

You learn something every day. I am a rather boring sort of X-man. My mortal enemies are free radicals, which I suppose is why so many people who look like me are currently employed in American police forces wanting to hit them with sticks.

You've got to laugh, haven't you?


Mary said…
Hi Martin,
It's true. Redheads are tougher. Maybe they have to be to cope with all the abuse they get..especially the boys.

I have dark hair, but all my redheaded children are evidence of a very strong recessive gene. I've grown to appreciate the hair colour and it doesn't seem to cause my daughter any problems. Of course, being 5'9" tall and very slender probably helps.

By the way, talking about mutant responses, I have no response whatsoever to paracetamol. It simply does not work for me at all. Now, I'm sure you really wanted to know that.
Martin Meenagh said…
Hi Mary

When I'm given over to 'gourmet drinking' as it were, which despite the thought processes or lack thereof evidenced on the blog is rare these days, I often down a few paracetamol/tylenol 'just in case', with a pint of water before sleeping. I can't do that like I used to these days--getting old! If I've had any spirits or cigars, I tend to cut the dose a bit. I don't get hangovers, though leg cramps can be quite nasty, but I blame white wine, which doesn't agree with me, if that ever happens. Frankly, I wouldn't touch the stuff, though I can drink gallons of red. On rare occasions, a nice sauvignon or alsace wine has been acceptable.

In other matters, paracetamol has never done anything for me. Nurofen are good, and I went through a phase of mixing flu tablets with diet coke to stave off colds a few years ago, though I'd never have done that with chicken soup or whiskey (which are of course interchangeable). I very rarely drink spirits anyway, but mixing them with pills is A Bad Thing, whilst tablets tend to ruin the taste of chicken soup, which I take with lots of pepper when I'm ill.

For those North American readers still reading, I have never had a non-emergency medical examination (being the beneficiary of European medical practices) and can therefore say that I know of no problem with my behaviour. Whereof I do not know, thereof I cannot speak. I also do not drive. :)
Martin Meenagh said…
That said, I once got trolleyed with a Stauffenberg in a mini in Belgium once. Does that count?

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