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*Pulls sorry face*

I watched this programme on BBC Four the other day about the link between emotions and the brain; a preoccupation that acted as a diversion a few weeks ago, as I went through nearly every emotion trying to produce those wretched assignments.

One of the things they demonstrated with an experiment involving a brain scan was that people have different levels of empathy – nothing you didn’t already know if you ever looked at David Cameron’s fake sympatico face. In the experiment, people are first asked to fill out a questionnaire about how empathetic they think they are and then they have a brain scan to test their empathetic response. Turns out many people think they are super empathetic but the brain scans show otherwise – there is no corresponding brain activity. So we can surmise that humans learn to respond and pull a sorry-looking face as appropriate in certain situations: like when one cuts budgets, but it is not always a truly empathetic response.

And the key to empathy. Well it is experience. If you have experienced something yourself and someone else then experiences it and tells you all about it, all the same parts of the brain light up as did when you were actually having your own experience. So without suffering yourself, you can’t properly empathise with another person’s pain. Don’t worry though *David, you can carry on practising your face in the mirror.

Re the surtitle: from the way the Memphis Mafia walk I am pretty sure they’ve all got more than one shoe *crosses finger*

*Just in case I come off as an non-empathetic old cow with my recent bellyaching about our PM I would like to add this footnote. I know Mr Cameron has known his own personal pain and tragedy and I am sure I do feel sorry for him in that regard; this post is purely to do with his political role and the faces he concocts when trying to feel your pain in economic hardship, usually combined in a deadly cocktail with long-term unemployment, garnished with lack of opportunity.

Why walking a lurcher is bad for your shoulders

My shoulders to be more accurate. You see I have been stepping the old training programme for the Southend 10K which is in but a few short weeks. When I say stepping up, it is really stepping it up from a baseline of zero which is in part due to holidays, but also because of a set of impediments to overcome which included two knackered knees. So this week, most mornings before work, I have been trotting about in my New Balance trainers (none of my own obviously) with the dog (two birds one stone, multi-tasking, time is money, lunch is for wimps etc. etc.).

Looks like there’s a sudden outbreak of parentheses there doesn’t there? Well that’s because I slipped into running mode and when you are engaged in that activity thinking tends to take on a parenthetical aspect. (Sorry if I just made that word up.)

It goes thus: I am thinking at the front of my brain “Ah yes only fifteen days to go to the 10K. With a positive attitude and a few more sessions like this I’ll be well on target for breaking the makemeadiva PB set last year.” And then that other voice chimes in (Yeah right, you’ll be lucky if you manage to break out of a walk. Remember last year when the blind runner ran right past you? Muppet.) So on I go. Positive mental attitude being dragged down by bracketed rudeness and general undermining.

Back on track. The dog accompanies me. And most of this week I have been wondering (not in brackets) why at least one shoulder is so damn stiff and my legs are fine. Is my upper body running action excessive? It took me about four days to work it out. Now you see the etymology of the word lurcher is purported to be from the Roma word lur which means thief. But having owned a few dogs I would say thief is probably a fairly general term for most dogs (except perhaps for those toy breeds that don’t have secret rope ladders to compensate for their lack of stature). Rudi read the page in the manual on thieving, but he has elected to take his breed name quite literally.

I am a lurcher therefore I lurch.

On all walks I will lurch suddenly across the path of my handler at cats and squirrels wrenching her shoulders nearly out of their sockets. It’s in the job description. There’s probably a song that he sings too.

I lurch all night and I lurch all day, the people round here they all do say….

That’s to the tune of “There’s a worm at the bottom of the garden”.

My musical response is this. Bear in mind I am now going to work, my shoulder hurts and that flipping happy as larry lurcher is lazing on my bed as I type. Probably on my pillow, even though I hid it. Happy Friday.