Won't you Lend your Lung to me?
Thomas Grogan of Captains of Industry is a barman, tailor, and generally genteel fellow. We bartended together for a year, and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. I was the Bubbles to his Ricky. The Fatman to his Jake. Then one day I showed up for work and he wasn’t there. When I asked where he went, all I got was some mumbled garbage about a collapsed lung. I caught up with him to find out, what gives?
VICE: Word on the street is you have a hole in your lung. What’s that all about?
TG: I have twin holes, actually. It’s a hereditary thing that mostly happens in tall slim males. The medical term is spontaneous pneumothorax. A hole develops in your lung due to stress or overworking. Then air escapes out of the lung and sits in the pocket where your lung sits, that's called the pleural cavity, so your lung can’t expand. It feels like you’re having a heart attack. You get really short of breath and they have to cut you open and stick tubes in you and suck all the air out.
You say it’s genetic. Your old man was recently admitted to the hospital with the same problem, right?
Yeah, he’s had five attacks so far… and this was pretty much the best one he’s had. The lung was down 99 percent, which is the best anyone in my family has ever had. He’s sorta the president of the club now, which he takes a lot of pride in. My uncle's had three, my other uncle has had four, my granddad has also had five, but none of theirs went down to 99 percent--that’s the best one. Mine was only 15, so I’m still a junior. I got a long way to go.
All the men on that side of the family get it?
Pretty much. The weird thing is my brother has had one as well, but we come from different dads. So I dunno. Maybe it was a sympathy hole. Or maybe just an attempt to get in the club.
That's sweet. Tell me this, is your lung hole the same genetic trait that dictates that you have red hair?
No. That’s another unfortunate gene.
You’ve got red hair and holes in your lungs, and your girlfriend also has red hair. If you have a kid….
They’re pretty much fucked. But my girlfriend’s only a redhead in spirt. Her hair comes out of a bottle.
Now Thom, you’re still smoking like a stack.
Doesn’t a little of the smoke come out of your lung every time you take a puff, and leak into your pleural space?
I shouldn’t be smoking. Simple as that. But I love cigarettes--it’s hard.
What advice has the doctor given you regarding your lifestyle choices? Because when we worked together we tore it up, and you drink competitively like millionaire playboy Arthur Bach as portrayed by Dudley Moore. Am I wrong?
That’s pretty accurate. I’ve never had anyone put it to me like that before. The doctors’ suggestions are to stop smoking and stop drinking and be…boring, I guess. Moderation is the key.
Have you been abiding by that?
Not particularly, no. I’m getting a lot better though. I am getting better. I’m trying.
Your new business, Captains of Industry, has really taken off. You’re also doing a lot of tailoring. Are you getting pretty good at it?
It’s one of those things that takes time to master or develop skills in, but I’m getting better.
So, if you’re a tailor why don’t you just sew those lung holes up?
I’m not a surgeon, Zero.
By the way, Captains of Industry is a gentlemen's outfitter at Lvl 1, 2 Somerset Pl, Melbourne. Head there for all your suits, shoes, coffee, haircuts and crude jokes.