Long ago during the Second World War there was in the UK a very popular weekly radio show called "It's That Man Again (or ITMA - as it was universally known). It starred the fast-talking comedian Tommy Handley and was renowned for its catch phrases and the names of its characters, one of whom was Colonel Chinstrap, a retired Indian Army officer of the old school. By Martyn Warwick.
Now, you might well be wondering what Colonel Chinstrap has to do with telecoms - so I'll tell you. According to some of those with interests not unadjacent to the cosmetic surgery industry, mobile phone users are liable to be struck with so-called "smartphone face" a terrible but, (at a price), happily reversible affliction allegedly caused by spending far too long rabbiting-on on a mobile.
It seems the condition results in sagging jowls, double-chins and "marionette lines" (no I hadn't heard of them either), the creases that running from the corners of the mouth down to the chin. As I make it a point of personal honour never to spend more than five minutes a month on a mobile phone, I'd like to know why at the tender age of 65 I am exhibiting all the symptoms of this foul disorder. What on earth could be causing it?
Reports say facial skin and and muscles lose their elasticity because people are spending more and more time sitting with their heads bent whilst on a mobile phone.
Interviewed in the main London paper, the Evening Standard, Dr Mervyn Patterson of Woodford Medical said "If you sit for hours with your head bent slightly forward, staring at your iPhone or laptop screen, you may shorten the neck muscles and increase the gravitational pull on the jowl area, leading to a drooping jawline."
Yes, but then monks did it in scriptoriums for centuries and countless millions of office clerks have done exactly the same thing over the past couple of hundred years and more - but, of course, in those days there was no plastic surgery, just leeches and rusty saws.
Unsurprisingly given the global media coverage of the determination of California's beautiful people (and others) to stave off the effects of aging until at least the ninth decade of life by recourse to multiple visits to cometic surgeons and plumping up their chops by having nerve poison injected into them in beauty parlours, "skin tightening procedures" and "chin implants" are becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the world. Indeed, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) so-called "chinplants" are the must-have body reshaping accessory de nos jours, more popular even than breast implants and liposuction. Well, I suppose they have to repurpose all that sucked-out unwanted fat one way or another.
The president of the ASPS, Dr. Malcolm Roth, says the upsurge in the use of video conferencing technology and video chat over PC's tablet computers and smartphones is making people "more conscious" of their appearance and perceived physical shortcomings. Good grief! Time to break all mirrors?
By the way, the average price of a chinplant is about US$12,000. A chinstrap, fasioned from duct tape costs about a dime.
As for Colonel Chinstrap himself, well he dealt with the depredations of age by other means. The character was based on a real retired ex-Indian Army officer and a friend of one of the ITMA cast to whom he confided, "I have just done the most marvellous piece of business. I’ve bought a water-heater on ten year’s hire-purchase and what the gas company doesn’t know is I am drinking myself to death".
Nine years and seven months later the actor got a telegram from the old boy's family. It read, "The Colonel beat the gas company by seven months." Brilliant.
As the novelist L P Hartley wrote, "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there". Thank goodness.
please sign in to rate this article