What I did on my summer holidays
Well, I spectacularly failed to get a job; we might as well get that out of
the way to begin with. At least I tried, although I have an idea that I set
my aspirations too high - but then, I would have liked to have made a net profit
on the deal, and anything in the locality of Cherry Burton was paying such peanuts
(“agricultural rates”) that it wouldn't have even covered the bus
fare. I was better off on the dole.
My most spectacular job failure was trying to break into journalism. Basically,
the reason I got nowhere was that I applied for a job that didn't exist, and
no matter how wonderful they thought I was, they weren't really prepared to
create one specially for me. Or something like that. And I even wore a suit
to the interview. Believe me guys, I tried.
But in the absence of gainful employment, I had fun. Expeditions to St Andrews,
Dunkeld, Liverpool, Swindon (I may have mentioned that) and Tintagei kept me
occupied, and in the intervening weeks I made a right nuisance of myself at
home, foisting numerous guests upon my long suffering mother. Anyone who can
put up with myself, Richard, Nicole, Paddy, Nikki and Brian all at once has
a certain special quality. Gullibility, I think.
It was, actually, quite a quiet summer, a fact perhaps not unconnected to Richard's
disappearance to California for two months. I missed him, of course, but I must
thank Nicole for removing him so that I could have his CD player.
The major event, from my point of view, was not Honeycomb, or my visit to Paddy
and Jean's luxury caravan, or being gobsmacked by the sheer scale of Liverpool
Anglican Cathedral, but the fact that, on September 7th, a very significant
thing happened. And if you think that that's the day that Battlefield started,
then you have a very confused idea of my priorities.
On September 7th, around 3.15pm as I recall, I was lying on a rock on a deserted
beach somewhere on the north coast of Cornwall, soaking up the sun, feeling
the waves lapping my ankles and listening to an emotive piece of music on my
walkman, when suddenly, without warning, my stomach went twang.
Those of you who know me well will know about my stomach's propensity for doing
such things and will bear with me whilst briefly recap for the new chaps. About
two years ago I had a touch of appendicitis, nothing unusual there, happens
to the best of us, what could there be to worry about? was taken to Ninewells
hospital in Dundee, that's what there could be worry about. Now, far be it from
me to accuse them of gross medical incompetence, far be it from me to suggest
that they don't know their appendix from their spleen, but seeing as all my
friends diagnosed appendicitis within a few hours of the pain starting, I don't
see how it took Ninewells two weeks and an operation to come to the same conclusion.
By which time my appendix had utterly disintegrated and my stomach had two weeks-worth
of infection liberally distributed across its outer wall. My medical encyclopedia
also says that the worst thing you can do to appendicitis is give the patient
a laxative [“extremely dangerous as it may cause an acutely inflamed appendix
to perforate”]. So what do they do?
Right. Well, they had to get rid of the remnants of the Barium Meal' somehow.
I don't think I'll be able to drink a pink milkshake ever again, especially
as it was accompanied by some metabolism-accelerating drug that caused me to
double my clock speed and live five minutes of my life at eighteen gigahertz.
(My apologies if you're attacking the mince pies at this point - may I suggest
you put them down for a moment.)
So instead of the standard keyhole surgery that appendicitis usually requires,
my surgeon had to follow the Lancelot Spratt school of hack-and-slash and slice
me open from belly-button to crotch. He left it open for a fortnight, to let
the infection drain away, and then sewed me up in time for Christmas. Six days
and one St Andrews Golf Hotel breakfast later, I split open, spewing brown gunge
hither and thither, and I could wave goodbye to any chance of returning to university
for the foreseeable future. Which is why, for those of you who wondered, I am
technically in the fifth year of my degree course.
Anyway, back to the plot. As a result of the above shenanigans my lower abdominal
regions, stitched up as they were in a manner more fitting to a football, took
on the appearance shown below in figure (a). Dave's own patent built-in corset,
wonderful. At least I would never have to worry about a potbelly. I could eat
what I want with impunity.
Ha! That was then, this is now. On the aforementioned September 7th of this
year, lying on the aforementioned rock, I felt a certain ... twang. A searing
pain shot through my stomach, lasted about half-an-hour, and the next time I
looked down at my beautiful flat, muscular abdomen I discovered a pot. As it
turned out, I had indeed managed to eat too much, and something, somewhere,
had to give sometime. And so I stretched, and I now have the potential to have
a disgusting pot with the best of figure (a) them. And that was my Significant
Event of the summer. really do live.
(It's just occurred to me that nowhere in this zine have I actually come clean
and told you who it is who's sent you this 'thing'. I'm David Gibbs (remember
me?) and I can be reached at 38 The Meadows, Cherry Burton, Beverley, East Yorkshire,
Yes, that David Gibbs.
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