Much Ado About Arse   Leave a comment

Picked up leaflet in charity shop recently that informed me that I almost certainly had most of the symptoms associated with bowel cancer (blood, gore, poo etc). Spent the next week blinking morosely at people, places and things as though for the last time. As I saw it, the remainder of my life would feature in quick succession:

· Heart-stoppingly awkward discussion with doctor.
· Discovery of lumps in bum by doctor’s finger.
· Visit to special bum-specialist for more verbal and physical discomfort.
· Attempt to remove bum-lumps with piece of wire through which an electrical charge is passed.
· Full-on cancerous bum situation leading to colostomy bag situation.
· Death itself.

The more I thought about it, the more certain it seemed. I was very sad and terrified, and couldn’t sleep. Conversations seemed unbearably trivial and off the point. Even when talking to a friend of mine who is going through hideous relationship difficulties of the type I dread I had to hold back the urge to say “At least you aren’t going to die. I am.” Eventually I confided to Sam that I was not long for this world, and she booked me a doctor’s appointment for the next morning. That night I sensibly went out and got completely pissed, and failed to eat any dinner bar half an onion bhaji (the well-known cure for cancer). The next morning I had a shower so thorough that you’d have thought I was about to begin shooting an adult film, and dressed in loose-fitting clothes. I left for the doctor’s without any breakfast, and Mill Road seemed unbearably surreal. The insanely mad old lady who works in H. Gees walked past me in a purple hat that was so small it belonged on a cartoon monkey, and everybody seemed to be moving in slow motion. I felt that everybody could look at my tracksuit bottoms and deduce that I had a serious health problem in the back passage. By the time I got to the waiting room I was literally shaking with fear and gasping for breath. I picked up a women’s magazine that was just a galaxy of wrist-slitting shallowness and forced myself to read it. The waiting room filled and emptied several times before two very old and very ill looking men came in and sat either side of me, breathing hard. It was difficult not to see this as some sort of terrible sign. Eventually the doctor called my name and I staggered after him. He asked me a couple of questions concerning bums, told me that it was extremely unlikely I had bowel cancer and then told me he’d better take a quick look at my “tail” just to make sure. He put his finger in my bum and gave me the all clear. If the immediately preceding circumstances had been different, I might have kissed him.

You’d have thought that I might have been overwhelmed by a sense of relief or even euphoria, but all I really felt was a stuttering cancellation of the dread that I had been living with for the past week or so, and a kind of creeping back-to-normalness. Within the hour I was touring the charity shops with Syd in my normal mood of numb resignation. Amusingly one of the first chazzers I came to is staffed occasionally by a guy who must work there as some sort of rehabilitative therapy, in that he has obvious suffered some sort of brain damage at some point (you get the impression that he might not always have been that way). Anyway as I walk in he immediately starts talking to me in his usual largely incomprehensible slur, but I instantly grasp (with my hyperactive doom-sensors) that what he is telling me is that a potentially Earth-destroying meteorite is headed towards our planet at some point in the future.

Later on when I am feeding Syd and the TV is on just at the threshold of audibility I catch the tail end of a news report that suggest that this is indeed the case. Absurdity and fear are clearly tagging along behind me like two stupid dogs who just won’t go home.

Posted July 27, 2002 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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