It was a parasite. Judy spotted it as I was grinding my beans this morning. It was lodged behind my left ear. It explains all the self-doubt I’ve been having. It explains the paranoia, the self-loathing, the feelings of guilt.
Half-an-hour ago, Dr. Raj landed his helicopter in the back garden and came rushing into the house, his medical bag clutched in his hands and a steely look of determination on his face. Ten minutes later, he was operating.
‘This,’ he said, holding the bug up between his tweezers, ‘this is a Jamaican seraphalonic ear mite. A nasty critter that burrows into the skull and injects its toxic serum directly into the brain, causing the host to doubt his own sanity and wonder who he is.’
At this point Judy fainted.
‘The thing is,’ said Dr. Raj, who knows Judy well enough to barely bat an eyelid, ‘you have to remember who you are and begin to live your life as though the last few days never happened.’
‘A Jamaican seraphalonic ear mite?’ I pondered. ‘You know, I bet I caught that from that batch of Jamaican ginger cake Judy’s aunt Polly sent over the other week. I remember sticking a piece of it behind my ear while I held the ladder while Judy climbed on roof to fix the shingles.’
He slapped me across the face. ‘Tell me who you are.’
‘I’m Richard,’ I said.
He slapped me again. ‘Richard?’
‘You’re not an imposter then?’
‘Hardly. Could an imposter do this?’ I asked and proceeded to grab my big toe between my teeth and expose my groin as I do often do for the world to see at five o’clock every weekday on Channel 4.
‘Well, that’s it,’ said Raj with a salute and a wink. ‘Another case closed. Have to dash, I’m spending the afternoon helping Jordan overcome low self-esteem.’
‘Might that be another case of a Jamaican seraphalonic ear mite?’ I asked.
Raj looked at me. ‘Stick at what you’re good at Richard,’ he said as he swept a curl of hair from his brow. ‘Leave the diagnosis for those of us trained to diagnose.’
So, that explains everything. This Jamaican seraphalonic ear mite explains why I’ve had the feeling that people are talking about me. It explains why I’ve been not feeling myself.
And in honour of my recently departed parasite, I thought I’d give you some other famous cases of insect infestations. Such as the worm that taught Les Denis everything he knows about comedy. You didn’t know that? The year was 1978 and Les was an unknown working in men’s nightclubs across the north. He wasn’t particularly funny and thought he’d reached a career high supporting the new comedy star, Jimmy Cricket. A holiday in the Zambia and he came back a different man and the comedy god we know and love today. And all because of the zootzoot worm which had made a home in Les’ right ankle.
Did you know that Bo Derek’s much heralded beauty can be attributed to an allergic reaction to a ladybird? Or that Robbie Coltrain plays host to a colony of termites? More facts tomorrow.
And please: remember to check yourself for Jamaican seraphalonic ear mites.