EDitorial ± 23-Mar-2004

I Might Just Squeam

So there I was, lying on the floor of the gents at work, staring up at the ceiling, watching the little toon birdies fluttering around my head. What an idiot, I kept muttering as I came around, my consciousness slowly revving back to life. How on earth did I end up here?
I would give my life to find it
I would give it all
Catch me if I fall
— REM, Texarkana (1991)

Having shakily staggered back to my feet, the mirror showed a golf-ball sized lump on my left temple of the type not seen since Jerry last thwacked Tom on the head with a polo mallet. Within minutes, though you wouldn't have placed money on my timekeeping abilities at that moment, a very kindly first aid chap appeared. Pulse — low; blood pressure — no comment.

A biotab sticker: had about six of each on my chest and one on each of my ankles for my ECG

En route to the local hospital by non-siren ambulance, my oxygen and pulse levels being monitored by a gizmo clipped to my finger, I had no-one to blame except myself. And possibly The Guardian. And certainly Chuck Palahniuk.

See, at lunchtime, feeling full of the joys, I'd been reading a short story in the previous weekend's paper. This was by CP, the Fight Club guy, and the supplement's cover declared:

Is Chuck Palahniuk's GUTS the most gruesome short story ever published?

Baloney, I thought. Hooey. Hogwash, etc. So I gave it a go. As events in the story went from unpleasant to nasty to downright visceral, I decided to give up on the final page, defeated. Too late: damage was done, and I headed to the lavs to splash some cold water on my face. The rest is light-headed hysteria.

Squeamish, moi? Some previous incidents I'd conveniently forgotten:

  1. at school, feeling decidedly queasy when faced with a dissected frog
  2. still at school, getting the sweats when watching a video on childbirth
  3. on work experience, hyperventilating having tried and failed to give blood

I'm OK now, thanks, being seen very zippily by the good folk in Ipswich A&E inc. checks for blood pressure, sugars, temperature, and even an ECG. They smiled kindly and in a disbelieving fashion as I told and retold my version of events. Bump has shrunk from tumulus to mild undulation, though my back and butt, on which I presumably landed like a sack of spuds, are sore.

Ain't the written word a wonderful thing? Cheers Chuck!

Be seeing you!