Monday, July 28, 2008
Love and Human Remains
Gyppo Byard's tale of knackersnagging brings to mind my old chum Andy Wislen.
Byard's punctured pods have rarely served as a point of departure for anything other than his brood of changelings, and I won't go the whole Proust either - although my association with Wislen was one of the most intense and significant alliances in the history of beret-clad freestyle drinking.
Suffice to say that Wislen, an adopted Canadian, killed some time before college chalking up life experience as an auxiliary with the then Metro Toronto Ambulance service.
North American universities believe that a month or two spent hindering medical staff makes for a better student, whereas we older nations know that using Thai tribesmen as bongs or steering your dad's car into local hedges is the ideal preparation for three years of scholarly inquiry and that job at the Vowel Prevention Agency of Wales.
The phlegmatic Canadians knew better than to let Wislen administer muscle relaxants to young ladies or take bottles of ether home with him, but they did allow the bushy thug out on calls to take notes, use the phone and assemble the mountains of doughnuts and pierogies that serve as food up there.
On one occasion he and the grown-up ambulance men were summoned to the house of a pallid chap who greeted them in his overalls. Some coy questioning revealed that he'd suffered lacerations to his glans, allegedly inflicted during some unwise and quite acrobatic car maintenance.
As Ambulator One questioned the victim in the hallway, Ambulator Two drew Wislen's attention to a vacuum cleaner slumped on the living-room floor like an odalisque on a pile of Ottoman princelings.
Number One told the pervert that he'd have to come to hospital for some serious shvantz stitching, and that they would need to inform his next of kin.
"Is that strictly necessary?" whimpered the beast.
"Given what you did to yourself with an imaginary stationary car, it's best that your loved ones (non-mechanical) know you're about to spend time in a building full of electrical wires, sharp metal and broomhandles," said Number Two, or words to that effect.
After some mewling, countered by graphic descriptions of bollock rot and Shaven Urethra Syndrome, the unnatural creature gave Wislen his wife's work number.
Trying not to imagine the Gorgon that would drive a man to such bellendery, Wislen dialled the number and asked for Mrs McSicko.
He explained who he was, and that her husband's oil-change misadventure meant a few hours at Toronto General dodging a big needle.
"Has he been dicking around with the vacuum again?" sighed the dear lady.
As a journalist, I investigated this story by the standard procedure of putting "bloke", "knob" and "vacuum" into the Intern Net. I found many well-sourced stories of men and at least one mum-of-three lying with a Hoover as with a woman.
This was an eerie experience, as most of my visitors arrive by kink-oriented searches anyway. Now I've unwittingly added domestic-appliance molesters to my one-handed readership profile.
Such statistics prompt me to think Wislen was not spinning a yarn, despite the bearded bastard's lifetime of bravura fibs (eg he helped to overthrow Milosevic years before it happened but "they" kept it quiet, he has pre-birth memories of at least one Kennedy Assassination, disobliging masseuses are in the employ of the Vietnamese Communist Party etc).
Have you come across an apparent urban myth only to find it might well be true?
Have you ever covered the Dyson in a moment of sherry-fuelled anomie?
If so, tell all - there might be a Channel 4 show in it for us.