It’s that time of the decade again. About a fortnight ago I received a NHS letter inviting me to take part in their Bowel Cancer Screening Programme that is offered approximately every two years to people aged between 60 and 69.
That figures. If memory serves, it was indeed about two year ago that (at the age of 62) I first received an invitation from this particular organ of government to send my excrement to them through the post … this in ironic contrast to the three previous occasions in my life when I’ve done that without receiving an official invitation to do so first.
It immediately brought to mind the famous occasion when my aged father received a similar letter and then subsequently a kit whereby to render his particular tribute to Caesar. At the time I duly went through the pack with him, in order to rehearse the procedure, and then left him to it. The next time I saw him, about a week later, I asked how he had got on. He replied that he hadn’t sent anything off yet because – having heard on the news that the lads at the Mount Pleasant Post Office sorting depot were going on three days’ strike over some dispute or another – he hadn’t want to leave his shit stinking the place out over what had become a scorchingly hot August Bank Holiday Weekend.
On the scale of bizarreness, this ranked with my own experience of about a decade ago, when I pitched up at my GP’s surgery for a consultation with an extremely young and attractive Asian lady that I had not met previously. She opened, by way of explaining the two-person film crew that was on hand, that she hoped I didn’t mind but – for training purposes – that the idea was they’d make a video recording of our session. In response I made some quip about ‘the more the merrier’ and so, when they were ready, on cue she then asked me the purpose of my visit.
I explained that I was currently stepping out with a lady and that our friendship was now progressing towards what might, at some point, become a more intimate and sexual relationship. In advance of that prospect I had to confess that preying on my mind were some faint concerns that – if and as this happened – the upstanding habitual vigour that once was entirely second (or even first) nature to me in the Lothario phase of my youth might … er … not be quite at my command as it had been in my days of yore.
Within a matter of a minute or so, it was then a case of me sitting up on her examining trestle-table bed thing, my trousers and underwear around my ankles, and said doctor playing with my undercarriage.
Following the examination and a subsequent reassuring chat, the appointment concluded.
I didn’t actually hear either of the film crew say “Cut!” at any point but, once the filming was over, the doctor had apologised and congratulated me upon my fortitude in going ahead with it all, given the reason for my visit. I responded with a cheery “No worries!” and was soon on my way. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if – never mind its use in any subsequent training session – that particular video was still getting regular airings at my GP surgery’s annual Christmas parties once the alcohol has been flowing for a couple of hours and the atmosphere is getting a bit raucous.
Anyway, I’m now awaiting my bowel cancer screening test kit which apparently will be arriving in the next few days. Surely nothing can go wrong with that …