What does the Doctor Think This Month?
My wife, Deannie (for new readers, otherwise known as Management, Head Office or Lollipop) and I love Southwold. There is a very smart shop in the High Street which sells meat pies (vegetarian options are available!) and has a massive salad bar where staff fill plastic containers to the customers' choice. We were joining the end of the queue when we noticed a family at the salad bar. They had poured out of a Chelsea tractor (a 4X4 favoured by people who dwell in the posher parts of London and need four wheel traction to get their kids to school) and were, in my opinion, indulging in child abuse. “What would you like to eat, Tarquin?” “ A pork pie and a doughnut, please Mummy”. “ O, come on, Tarquin, you know you prefer cuscous, hummus, sun-dried tomato and aubergine with a rocket salad – He'll have that please, shop assistant”. Gloom descends upon poor Tarquin and I really wanted to slip him some of my steak and kidney pie and steamed syrup pudding but, by the time we made it to the counter, following several other similar families, he had gone!
We were up at St Ives on the boat when Management got tangled up and was pulled into the water. We hauled her out and, after a shower and a hot chocolate, she was fine. Half an hour later, a man came along from one of the other boats moored nearby and said “I'm sorry I didn't come out to help but, when your wife fell in, my wife fainted on the loo”. I was trying to work out how his wife, sitting on the loo, could have seen Deannie flying past the window as she was pulled into the water when he explained that his wife has mini-strokes and her faint was not actually caused by Deannie.
Last month's article was a bit “heavy” so, we shall “lighten up”a bit this month, with rather more humour. There is something of a problem with the humour as the times are changing. For years, I have written these articles with the villagers, many of them my patients, in mind. I know them well and we share a fairly earthy sense of humour. The vast majority of the feedback I have received over the 30 years I have been contributing the articles has been to compliment me on the jokes , to keep them coming and to make them even more earthy. Unfortunately, since I retired from full-time practice, I have less contact with my friends, the patients, and there has been something of an influx of folk from elsewhere who seem either not to understand our sense of humour or to have an increased sensibility to “shock” at some of the content – usually jokes which I have thought of as at the safer end of the spectrum. One incomer in a local village on the A134, who has since moved away, reported me to the BMA for a joke which was actually harmless and depended upon predictable word association in the mind of the reader for its humour. She was thoroughly disgusted, accused me of being patronising when I explained the above and caused a lot of problems. (It was the Ford Taurus and Renault Clio joke and the BMA thought it was hilarious).
Many people send me jokes, about 5% of which are suitable for the magazines; Irish people send me Irish jokes and then other Irish people get upset when I use them.
So, what should I do? Leaving the jokes out completely, as suggested by Management, is not an option, as they generate 90% of the favourable comment and, on the whole, there is little feedback following weighty and considered articles. So, I shall “genericize” them. For example, in future, Paddy and Mick shall be known as Albert and Mike and readers will have to attribute any nationality they like to the subjects of the joke. Essex girl and blonde jokes can cause offence, so try this:
Albert and Mick went to the cinema with 16 of their friends and neighbours. “Why are there so many of you?” asked the ticket seller. “Well, the advert for the film said 18 or over”.
Two female netball teams, one with light-haired members, decided to share a double decker bus to travel to a tournament. The light-haired girls took the top deck. Those on the bottom deck had a wonderful journey, relaxed and happy. Half way through, they realised that those on the top deck were silent and one of the team went up to investigate. On the top deck, everyone was scared, staring straight ahead, clutching at the seats with white knuckles. 'What's going on?” enquired the girl from downstairs “We're all having a wonderful time downstairs”. “Yes, replied one, as she swallowed hard, “but you've got a driver!”
Some Tommy Cooper jokes: Two light-haired girls walk into a building; you would think one of them might have seen it. My friend drowned in a bowl of muesli – a strong currant pulled him in. A man recovered in hospital after a car crash - “Doctor, Doctor, I can't feel my legs” “I know, I had to cut off your hands”. Two Eskimos (I don't think any live locally!) in their kayak were feeling cold so they lit a fire. The kayak sank! This proves that you cannot have your kayak and heat it. Our ice cream man was found dead on the floor, covered in hundreds and thousands. Police are working on the assumption that he topped himself. A man goes to the doctor with a strawberry growing out of his head - “I'll give you some cream to put on that” said the doctor.
Best wishes to you all, Ian Nisbet