Saturday 26 November 2011

Silly Campaigns (Part One) - Picking on Pluto

I want to bring a crime to your attention, dear reader. This is not a small crime; this is a crime of planetary proportions – a crime against an entire planet.

This is a crime where the rules have been changed to hide the crime from the rest of us.

You will be shocked, dear reader.

I can barely bring myself to type this…

Pluto is no longer a planet.

There I’ve said it. I hope you are as disgusted as I am.

This crime occurred a couple of years ago and the perpetrators think they have got away with it.

They have NOT and I am here to start a campaign against them and fight for Pluto's rights.

When I was growing up and learning about the solar system, I was taught the names of the planets. Way out there at the very edge of the solar system was Pluto, happy in the knowledge that we on Earth were aware of its existence and had named a dog after it.

And now, a bunch of scientists and astronomers have changed the rules and reclassified poor Pluto as a dwarf planet.

How dare they? What has Pluto ever done to them. Is it so far away that it has been forgotten about? I can imagine the conversations:

Evil Criminal 1: Yeah – Neptune is pretty big but what about Pluto? We may as well forget about it.

Evil Criminal 2: Ha ha – yes! I’ve hated it for years. Let’s just get rid of it.

Evil Criminal 1: Yeah – and we can kick it while its down – let’s call it a dwarf!

Evil Criminal 2: MU HU HU HU HA HA HA HA HA!

Here are the rules they dreamt up to define a planet:

A planet must orbit the sun.

Pluto orbits the sun and takes a bloody long time to do so. It’s stuck out there guarding the frontier and our solar system against evil aliens who might invade.

A planet must have sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium shape – i.e it must be a sphere

Well of course it’s a sphere.When it was first discovered in 1930 by Clyde W. Tombaugh he said “There’s another big sphere out there – it is a planet”.

A planet needs to have “cleared the neighbourhood” of its orbit

This is the invented rule that these so-called “astronomers” have used to reclassify the mighty Pluto. Apparently it crosses Neptune’s orbit.

So what?

I know the reason – it’s because Pluto is small. Pluto is no longer welcome in the exclusive club of planets because it is a tiny planet when compared with, say, Jupiter – or even Earth for that matter.

But I don’t care – I welcome Pluto into the planetary club. I say – ignore these petty jobsworths who have nothing better to do than postulate wacky theories and invent rules that mean nothing.

It could be more sinister than that, dear reader, because there are actually two more bodies further out than Pluto – Eris and Ceres (not exactly awe-inspiring names are they?).

Eris is a little bigger than Pluto. I simply do not understand why we can’t announce that we have eleven planets in our solar system instead of nine. Imagine if we met an alien from another solar system; we could ask:

“How many planets have you got? We have ELEVEN.” 

Now because of those scientists we have to say:

“We only have eight planets; but we do have three dwarf planets.” 

Nowhere near as impressive in my opinion. I would imagine that the alien would snigger as the phrase “dwarf planet” was mentioned.

Allow me to make a stand here.

It seems to me that these scientists are picking on Pluto because it is the tiniest planet in the solar system; the runt of the litter if you will.

What I am seeing is nothing short of bullying and picking on the small guy.

I vote that Pluto be re-instated as a planet effective immediately and, as a punishment for climbing onto a pedestal and announcing dictatorial rules to fit their oppressive natures, the scientists who dreamed up this nonsense should be made to record a message apologising to Pluto and personally pay for a spaceship to fly to Pluto, broadcasting their apology to any life forms who may inhabit that cold little planet as well as any aliens within earshot.

Dwarf planet indeed; fight oppression everywhere including planet oppression.

Who’s with me?

Tuesday 22 November 2011

The Entertainer

I want to talk a little bit about work.

I avoid this subject because it irritates me immensely. Work is the bane of my life and although on occasion it can be rewarding, more often than not it pushes those buttons that set me off on a massive rant.

And that is what I want to talk about.

I actually work with some fine people – I don’t want to talk about those who drive me insane.

Yesterday, one of my colleagues confessed something to me; something that surprised me.

First, a little background:

I share a desk that is situated at the far end of our office with five other guys. Next to that is another desk with eight people on it.

All six of us on my desk, while professional about our work, are always looking for a weakness to exploit in the banter stakes. And there is usually plenty of opportunity, with all of us joining in. The banter is good, funny and a great diversion from the shadow of stress and despair that looms over us.

My role is the entertainer.

I only discovered this yesterday.

I was in the kitchen making a cup of tea with two of the eight people on the next table.  One of them, a guy I have known for years made the confession.

“Don’t get me started on X Factor,” I said.

“It’s easy to get you started on ANYTHING,” he said. “It’s great when your buttons get pushed. We just get the popcorn out and watch the entertainment.”

He told me about one of the other guys on the desk, who sits most of the time working with his headphones on. When I start ranting about something, there is a signal and the headphones come off so the all eight of them can sit and enjoy listening to me putting the world to rights in my own inimitable fashion.

Apparently I am very entertaining.

When I am pouring out my thoughts about the utter idiocy of the workplace and the world, pouring my heart out in the hope of finding a kindred spirit to share my disgust, I am being encouraged because I am funny and make people laugh.

A lot of the time I am being serious too.

The guys on my desk know exactly how to get me going and do so often. I maintain that I can also wind some of them up to – but clearly they don’t react in the way I do.

I returned to my desk after the confession and didn’t know what to think. I’ve said before that ranting can be very therapeutic for me because it allows me to get things off my chest; it also, clearly entertains my work colleagues.

Is that a win-win situation? I feel a bit weird about it to be honest.

When I think about the whole thing it makes sense. Here’s an example that really should have made me suspicious.

One of the guys who sits on the next desk was working from home. An email arrived that had been sent to the entire company. I was sitting at my desk, on the phone to somebody and didn’t spot it.

The email was a button-pusher – an absurd and bizarre company-wide email, the kind that makes me realise that I am one of the few people working in a company who has any common sense whatsoever.

My colleague read the email from home and took immediate action.

He called me on the instant messenger. The electronic conversation when something like this:

Colleague: Can you wait until I get in tomorrow?

PM: What are you talking about?

Colleague: Wait until I get in tomorrow before you read it.

PM: Read what?

The guy who sits next to me started a countdown – 10 … 9 … 8 … 7

Colleague: The email.

PM: What email?

Colleague: The one that’s just come in from Mr Boss.

The countdown continued:

6 … 5 … 4 … 3

PM: I see it. Why? Is it something you need to talk to me about? Wait a second – I’ll open it.

Colleague: NOOOO!!! Wait for me ...

2 … 1


Those in my presence got the popcorn out. The poor colleague at home missed my outburst. When he arrived the next day he actually came up to me and asked for a replay.

It’s good to know that I provide a service for my work colleagues, dear reader, while at the same time trying to make sense of an insane world.

One day I shall tell all.

One day …

Friday 18 November 2011

Adopt a Plastic Mancunian

Dogs cannot write or speak. Neither can donkeys, cats or meerkats.

Why am I stating the obvious?

There are many people in the world who love animals. I, too, am an animal lover, particularly cats and dogs.

Nevertheless, I don’t quite understand the philosophy behind the concept of animal adoption. I’m not talking about going to the Cat Protection League to give a cat a good home; or a trip to the Dog Pound to adopt a stray dog.

I’m talking about the concept of adopting a wild animal that you rarely if ever get to meet for a monthly fee.

I’m not stupid enough to consider the alternative, for example, letting a tiger rampage through you house (though I think Liquorice would give a tiger a good run for its money). I’m talking about these “packs” you can get to adopt, say, a meerkat or another animal you would never consider having as a pet.

The idea is that you pay a certain amount of money a month and you get to adopt the animal concerned. You only get to meet the little creature if you spend an absolutely whopping amount of money per month otherwise you and up with little more than a photo and your name listed somewhere.

Even funnier is the promise that your animal will write you a letter. Can you imagine a dog trying to write a letter or type something?

I smell a rat – I reckon the letter part is made up.

Some people have likened me to a wild animal (or at least a dumb one). So what do you think of a plan to “Adopt a Plastic Mancunian”?

Do you think that might catch on?

Based on what I’ve read, I reckon there might be some mileage in trying to get people to “adopt” me.

Can I try an advert for this service on you, dear reader? Will there be anybody who would fall for this?

Meet Dave! As far as Plastic Mancunians are concerned, this is a really weird specimen. He is a bit old and decrepit but his heart is in the right place and he is forever scurrying around, making strange bleating and growling sounds. 

His daily routine is utterly predictable and he can actually perform tricks when requested. He loves a pint of beer and can be seen scampering between his den and the beer trough occasionally. He is also hard working and comical (well a lot of people laugh at him anyway).

His thick pelt is mainly located on his large misshapen head and in the morning you might be forgiven for mistaking him for a ball of straw. A quick dunk in water usually does the trick and he begins to actually look vaguely human. 

Overall we think you may find him a pleasant little creature, predicable and grumpy, yes, but interesting enough to amuse you if you push the right buttons.

Would you like to adopt Dave the Plastic Mancunian?

For a monthly fee of £400 we will send you an adoption folder consisting of:
  • A certificate
  • A photograph (we will make sure we provide one that doesn’t scare your children)
  • A copy of his birth certificate – with the date changed to make him seem younger.
  • A weekly letter 
  • Your name listed on “The Plastic Mancunian” blog.
What will you £400 be sent on? 

Dave is broke and would love to be released into the wild. Your monthly fee will provide:
  • Food in the nicest restaurants in Manchester
  • Beer (you should see his little face when we give him a pint of beer)
  • Clothes (the ones he wears at the moment are fashionable – if you live in the year 1956)
The remainder of the fee will be put into a bank and ultimately will be spent on a round the world airline ticket as well as hotel fees and excursions to allow little Dave to see as much of the world as possible. 

Adopt now – make a Plastic Mancunian happy.

Do you think it will work? 

If you are tempted, please let me know – and I promise you one thing – you don’t actually have to meet me. 

That would be a little TOO much to bear.

And I promise I will write you a letter – it will appear on this blog (the fact that others may see it is irrelevant – I will address it personally to you – honestly).

How can you resist these photos?

On second thoughts - don't answer that question!!!

Sunday 13 November 2011

The Hard Questions Meme

It’s been a while since I attempted a meme so I have decided to steal one. This is shamelessly stolen from Pandora at Princess Pandora - Queen of Denial who actually stole it herself – so there is no guilt (there wouldn’t have been anyway).

This is called “The Hard Questions Meme” and may be quite difficult. Wish me luck.

1. What is a quote that you love? 

There are quite literally hundreds of quotes that I love from comedy shows to song lyrics, from novels to speeches. What I look out for are thought-provoking quotes or those that make me laugh. I could quite literally give you a quote a day for the next ten years – well possibly.

Here is one from the great Winston Churchill:

Nancy Astor: Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.
Winston Churchill: If I were your husband I would take it.

And how about these from Stan Laurel:

If you had a face like mine, you'd punch me right on the nose, and I'm just the fella to do it.

I had a dream that I was awake and I woke up to find myself asleep.

And finally, from a Rush song called “Losing It”

Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we'd like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee...

2. Do you think of pure hate as something humanity created? 

I think hatred and love are intrinsic within human nature and are not things that have been created. They have developed as we have evolved and as negative as hatred is, it is perfectly balanced by love. Despite what we observe, I think humanity is balanced as a species. Sadly this means that hatred has to exist.

3. When was the last time you wanted to scream? 

I want to scream most days to be honest, particularly at work. I am deeply intolerant of people who construct barriers to hinder my progress, particularly of those barriers are pointless. And at work, most of them are. I am getting worse. When I leave work, I breathe a sigh of relief but that feeling of intolerance comes home with me and evolves into something else. I find myself ranting at the television, in particular at the news and when I am unfortunate enough to catch utterly dreadful programmes that are solely aimed at stupid, gullible idiots. Thankfully a good rant is like a good scream and I find it therapeutic. Mrs PM just shakes her head.

4. Do you ever at times see the world in black and white? 

Not at all. Even when things appear to be in black and white, I question them and try to blur the lines. The world is a deeply complex place – and not black and white.

5. Have you ever thought that cell phones are too obtrusive? 

They are too obtrusive – there is no doubt about that. It is really irritating trying to have a conversation with somebody who is texting, surfing or yapping on their mobile phone. I am guilty of it too – so I am a hypocrite. I love my mobile phone – I never thought I would ever hear myself say that, but it’s true. I have to have it with me. The worst mobile phone is the “support” phone, the one I have to carry with me when I am on call. It means that work can contact me when I am not in work and if the bloody thing goes off all I want to do is to hurl into the nearest bin. There are times when I wish they had never been invented.

6. In your life, where do you think the rainbow will end?

That’s easy – when I can quit the rat race.

At the moment, career wise, the storm clouds are rampant and there is thunder and lightning and the torrential rain is relentless. I am praying for the time when it all stops and I see the rainbow glistening in the sunshine. Then I will be up and away to see the world without the chains of work. I can’t wait.

7. What is something that you never want to do again? 

I never want to experience going through a relationship break up again. So Mrs PM – you are stuck with me!

8. When was the first time you realised the world was small? 

The internet has really made the world seem like a small place so I would say late 1980s early 1990s. With its creation and expansion I have been able to be in touch with people all over the world, through work and blogging. I can fix software problems in America and chat to work colleagues in China at the same time. Equally these very words can be read by people all over the world. That is amazing and one of the main reasons I am a geek. Add to that you can also fly to these places within hours, it makes the world seem totally accessible, which to somebody like me who loves travel, is perfect.

9. How you spend your time contemplating life’s mysteries? 

When I am writing or about to go to sleep I allow my imagination to run riot. Life is a complex maze and I love getting totally and utterly lost within it.

10. Ever discuss your political beliefs with people? 

I do it all the time. I regard myself as a fair-minded and open person, the kind of person who would help anybody in need. And when I see and hear politicians and their supporters championing policies that favour the privileged and walk all over the deprived it makes my blood boil and I rant. I can talk to those whose beliefs differ from mine but inside my stomach churns. That is one of the reasons I hate politics and avoid it like the plague.

11. Do you care about the environment? 

I am very sceptical about the environment. I am sad to say that I don’t trust politicians (as you may have already guessed) and I think that they use the environment to control us further. We live is a state of fear, fear that our planet is being used as a toilet and that our children and grandchildren will all suffer because of us. People like Al Gore infuriate me because he organised Live Earth concerts that were meant to bring environmental issues to the people yet produced a carbon footprint that was immense. The rock stars flew hundreds of thousands of miles to participate and further their own careers.

I don’t like being preached to by hypocrites and when it comes to the environment I see lectures from people who fly all over the world in private jets to tell us to use less petrol. If somebody like Al Gore wants to make a difference then he should try to become US President and pass a law to reduce the amount of fuel consumed by Americans.

The environment has become a political tool – that is why I am a sceptic. Banks tell us to go online rather than “destroying the environment” by sending us statements through the post. What they don’t tell us is that not sending post saves them a fortune. So they are not really doing it for the environment; they are doing it to save money and make you and I look like evil planet destroyers to do it.

That said, dear reader, I do actually recycle and yes I care about the environment. However, I do not like to be lectured by people who are abusing this important issue for their own needs.

12. What’s your motto for life? 

Don’t worry, be happy.

13. Is progress destroying the beauty of the world?

In some places yes. There are many untouched areas of amazing beauty on our planet but there is also the fear that as we become more technically advanced and our population increases, then we are going to have to infringe on these wonderful places. To be honest, it’s a tricky one. I’ve been to beautiful places like Alaska, which is a barely touched area of magnificent natural beauty. What would happen if we had to build a huge city the size of Los Angeles there? Closer to home, England has some wonderful countryside, rolling green fields and lovely forests. Yet as the population of our island increases and we need power and resources to accommodate them, will this land pillaged?

I suspect so. We need to preserve the world’s beauty but as we become more advanced and the population increases it will become more difficult.

14. Do you believe there is life somewhere else in the universe? 

Yes – there has to be. I’m not talking about aliens who want to visit Earth but given the infinite nature of the universe it seems deeply arrogant of us to assume that we are the only life forms in existence.

15. Would you like to rule a country? 

I am tempted to say “Yes”. Why? Because I would rid my country of all the things that irritate me. Having said that, I don’t want to be a dictator – I would allow those who love Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan to leave and start a new life elsewhere. Suffice it to say, the aforementioned “celebrities” and many others would be deported.

16. Do you believe everything has a purpose? 

No. What about wasps? What purpose do they serve? What about Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan? And Jordan – what possible purpose can she have? What about Royalty? And modern art? What about curling – how can that useless sport serve a purpose?

Don’t get me started …

17. Is war ever for the best? 

I would gladly live in a world where there was no war. Sadly I don’t think it will happen. As long as there are nutters with too much power war will always be a possibility. Whether it is a good thing to invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein is questionable, particularly given that it was done for the wrong reasons. That said, removing a man who murdered his own people can only be seen as a bonus – but what is the cost?

18. Could you kill anyone in defense of self or loved ones?

The easy answer is no but I think that if I saw somebody about to kill somebody close to me, all rational thought would disappear. A very difficult question.

19. How do you react to people who don't believe global warming is really our fault? 

It is not all our fault. That is a fact. We have contributed, there is no doubt about that, but I think that climate changes over thousands of years in cycles and we are noticing these changes as the cycles progress and our ability to measure them improves. Many things can affect the climate such as natural cycles in the Earth’s orbit around the sun. If we move even a little bit closer then our exposure to the sun is increased; conversely if we move a little bit further away then our exposure is decreased. And what about solar activity? All of this has a noticeable effect on the world’s climate.

As I said, we may contribute – but I don’t believe that our contribution is as massive as we are led to believe. Like I said above, I believe it is used for political gain and to keep us boxed up in a state of fear. If global warming campaigners believe that we should all change our ways, then let them start first. Sell your car. Stop flying. And stop organising massive concerts with a carbon footprint that is way in excess of a typical small country's contribution.

Sorry for ranting – but I would genuinely be interested in scientific proof that it is our fault entirely. I am deep down fascinated by science and regard scientific fact in much higher esteem than political rhetoric.

20. Does love conquer all?

Love is great – it makes you happy – and that is a good thing,

21. Is euthanasia morally acceptable? 

This is a tough one. I don’t know, is the simple answer. I believe that if somebody is terminally ill and in extreme pain then it seems to me to be morally more acceptable to rid them of their trauma than to prolong their agony. I haven’t experienced that dilemma for myself so I simply do not know.

22. Is world peace impossible? 

Yes, although I would love the answer to be no. As I said above, as long as there are nutters and these nutters are allowed to reach positions of power then we will have war.

23. Is pride a good or a bad thing? 

Pride is a human trait and I think it can be both a good thing and a bad thing. If a person is so proud that he is blind to the obvious then that is a bad thing. But if you take pride in your achievements then that is a good thing.

24. What do you think is the purpose of your life? 

To annoy you, dear reader. Actually I was joking. I don’t know what the purpose of my life is. Putting it scientifically it is to procreate and make my mark on future generations. I have done that and have two clones (that’s what Mrs PM calls my boys). Who knows? I might have spawned the seed of a world leader or a historical figure. In reality though my ramblings and life will be forgotten in the mists of time so I guess my purpose is to bring a little happiness into the lives of as many of my fellow human beings as possible. Or perhaps not.

25. Do you believe in karma?

I want to believe in karma but I don’t think it exists. Looking back through history we see many people who have spent their entire lives being complete and utter monsters that have led long and happy lives being utterly ruthless murdering arses. Where’s the karma there?

Well that’s it, dear reader and thanks to Pandora for introducing the meme to me. That said, and having read your answers, Pand, we may have to agree to disagree on some of them.

Sorry about that.

And yes - it was a meme full of hard questions.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Scary Mary

There are some scary people in the world; you only have to switch on the TV to see weirdo scary so-called celebrities masquerading as entertainers.

I just don’t get it. Why do people watch these imbeciles? Why are people fascinated with the exploits of these losers?

I call them losers but they must be doing something right. After all, most of them have more money than they can possibly imagine, their only talent being that they have the power and the arrogance to relentlessly and successfully pull the wool over the eyes of a large percentage of the world population.

See? They are making me waste my time posting about them.

Anyway – that isn’t the point of this post; I want to talk about people who scare me (mainly due to my own imagination it has to be said).

I’m talking about people I can’t deal with.

Have you ever walked home late at night and seen a group of youths standing on the corner of your road? They may be completely harmless. The problem is that they outnumber you and as you approach they watch you. This has happened to me several times and each time I have passed them with no problem whatsoever. The problem is that my imagination runs amok and I find myself analysing them. Will they try to mug me? Will they laugh at me? If one of them attacks me should I run or fight back? What if they talk to me?

Last night I went to a concert in the city centre and caught the nutty bus back home. Sadly as I approached my road, I spotted a group of people hanging around on the corner. I had to pass them.

It was the worst kind of group – a group that strikes fear into the very soul of every man on the planet.

It was a group of four very drunk women.

And it was worse – they were laughing raucously and as I approached I heard the words penis, arse and the killer word - sex – followed by laughter so loud that made my very soul quake.

Why was I scared? Because there is nothing worse than a gang of loud, drunk and boisterous women.

They have the power to embarrass any man so much that his very ego can be destroyed. I haven’t much of an ego so I am at a disadvantage from the very start.

I did consider turning back – but that would have been too obvious. Besides, they had spotted me. I had to defend the honour of my gender; no women were going to belittle me. I gulped and continued on my way, opting, foolishly perhaps, to walk past them.

I found myself thinking of scenarios that might play out and almost all of them resulted in my ego being shattered. As I got closer I realised with mounting horror that they were all in the thirties or forties – women who knew exactly how to destroy me.

“He couldn’t even find it,” said one. “How long have we been married? Ten years? And he still can’t find it.”

“Is he that crap in bed?” said another.

They were talking about sex, openly, brashly and without fear of consequence. And I was walking right into it.

I felt like I was strolling nonchalantly into the maw of the most savage shark on planet Earth.

And then the talking stopped. They realised that there was a man approaching. All four of them stared at me. I looked down to the ground.

And then the sniggering started. Whispered words floated on the wind and made their way to my ear, evaporating seconds before I could hear it.

And then the belly laughs began again.

They were now talking about me.

I decided that I would take them on. I decided that I would be brave. I decided that I would show that their words couldn’t harm me.

I looked up. I pulled my shoulders back and with my head held high I walked right through them.

“Evening ladies,” I said confidently.

That was a mistake; a big mistake; an enormous mistake.

“Evening ladies,” said one, openly mimicking me.

“Do you think he could find it?” said another, laughing raucously.

“Nice arse,” said a third also laughing.

The fourth one whistled sounding like a workman ogling a girl, causing yet more merriment.

“I’ll bet he’s scared to death,” screamed another. “Look at him! He’s terrified!”

And I was. I couldn’t say anything back for fear of being totally ridiculed. And the banter got worse as I walked on. Many other words too disgusting to mention in this post were hurled about like confetti. I prayed they weren’t talking about me.

I arrived home and could still hear the laughter.

And as I put the key in the door, I remembered the one thing they said that my ego really should have noticed: “Nice arse!”

Mrs PM says that – and as long as she does, I’m happy.

And I’m not scared – honest.

Saturday 5 November 2011

The Dribbler

I’m not a huge fan of the dentist.

I understand the benefit of them but they do cause a modicum of fear when I visit them (read about it here: ).

I have a new dentist. My old dentist is retiring soon and is handing off his patients to a new guy who is younger and much more enthusiastic, which I suppose is a good thing, as he will almost certainly catch anything evil before it causes excruciating pain.

He’s a really nice guy but he does scare me.

A typical visit for a check-up involves him checking each tooth meticulously, prodding my gums with an implement that I can only describe as an offensive weapon, and then gripping my face whilst probing my neck, chin, throat and jaw for any lumps, bumps or other malignant threats.

When he has finished, he settles down in his chair and gives me the lecture.

It is the same lecture every single time.

I have a tooth that needs to be rotated; my crown has been in too long and needs to be replaced; a wisdom tooth is positioned awkwardly and if it pops out will cause agonizing pain.

“The trouble is, Dave, we don’t know what is happening underneath that crown. It could be fine – it could be perfectly fine. But you have had it a wee bit too long now and you ought to consider having it replaced. I’m not trying to scare you – far from it – but it could fall out, it could be rotten underneath (we can’t X-ray it) and it could fall out or break out and you will be left with a huge unsightly gap. We need to be proactive, not reactive. I’ll leave you to consider that – but it is probably fine.”

Being a hypochondriac I start to worry and then I think – hang on – he probably needs a new set of golf clubs. Certainly my old dentist didn’t strike the fear of God into my molars.

As I said, I do actually like the guy – he’s young friendly and (I think) has my best interests at heart. He presumably is thinking of me when he pictures an old git with one tooth at the front, all others having fallen out, and not that his 5 iron is a little decrepit.

Anyway, this last check-up was no different – except I need a filling.

And the fear of God has been well and truly introduced and has already slapped me relentlessly.

I can hear you thinking: “Don’t be such a wuss!” but the last filling I had, about a year ago, was as embarrassing as it was traumatic.

I sat in his chair and my friend the dentist  injected me with the anaesthetic before telling me to wait in the waiting room for it to kick in. I honestly don’t mind the needle – what I hate is the sound of drilling.

Metal upon metal makes my teeth rage and a drill on enamel is worse for me than a tiger scraping its ample claws down a blackboard.

I’ve asked dentists before for a general anaesthetic and been told “Don’t be a wuss!!”

When I returned on this occasion, I spent what seemed like an eternity in the chair as he drilled through my tooth into the very borders of Hell itself – or so it seemed to me.

When he had finished I was mightily relieved and he proceeded to fill the gap with cement or concrete or whatever substance they use these days.

My entire mouth was numb and he tried to have a conversation with me:

“That’s finished, Dave,” he said. “The effects of the anaesthetic should wear off soon and you should be back to normal. Don’t forget; try not to bite anything in your mouth.”

It was only when I was driving back to work that I realised what he meant.

My tongue was numb.

My lips were numb.

My cheek was numb.

I could have chewed and chewed on the flesh without feeling a thing – until the anaesthetic wore off. And then I would have been in agony.

But it was worse than that.

Because I had no feeling in my mouth, I was dribbling like a baby.

I caught a glimpse of mutated face in my rearview mirror and I looked utterly ridiculous. I never knew that a human being could produce so much saliva. It was like a waterfall cascading down my chin onto my shirt.

And I didn’t have a handkerchief or a tissue.

People were staring at me as I drove past.

As I approached work, I pictured the scene in the office. I would be ripped apart. There would be no mercy. Kick a man when he’s down? They would be relentless and cruel, unsympathetic and pitiless.

And I wouldn’t be able to defend myself because I could barely speak.

“Dave – shall we get a dummy for you? Do you want a bib?”


I decided to seek solace at home instead and all the time I drove home, one thought was foremost in my head.


Sadly it was accompanied by a little voice: “Go on – just a little chomp”.

Fear not, dear reader. I didn’t make mincemeat of my lips, cheek or tongue and I lived to tell the tale.

On Tuesday next week I have to have another filling. I have prepared myself by making sure that I do it after work.

I have meditated using the mantra:


The dribbler will be back – and I hope I can survive.

Just as long as the dentist doesn’t throw me by mentioning my crown again and activating Captain Paranoia and the Hypochondriac.