A cyst, according to the medical dictionary I hold in my hands while relaxing in a silk robe on the chaise lounge at Canavan Towers, is ‘a cluster of cells that have grouped together to form a sac’.
I’m not sure exactly what that means but I have one on my head.
I first noticed it several years ago and hurried to the doctors, convinced it was the start of some deadly illness.
‘Doc, I think I’m dying,’ I told him, perhaps a little melodramatically.
A couple of moments later, after inspecting the lump, he told me I had a cyst and that it was harmless but that it might continue growing.
For the next few years nothing happened. It just stayed there on my head. I grew quite fond of it, even giving it a name – Lenny, as in Lenny the lump.
But recently it started to grow. I wasn’t too fussed, after all it’s quite a nice talking point at parties (What? This little thing? I’ve had it since 2003, nice isn’t it. He’s called Lenny).
Then on a recent trip to get my hair cut, the barber’s comb became lodged on my lump. He bent forwards, quite naturally wondering what it was, and I had to explain. This wouldn’t have been so bad had it just been me and him, but there were seven or eight people waiting who also got to hear my lump story. Embarrassing.
A few days after it was so big that, from a certain angle, you could see it poking through my hair.
I’m getting married later this year and my mum, looking at me while we ate dinner the other night, remarked, ‘that lump is huge – you’ll be walking down the aisle looking like the Elephant Man’. Always been one to build your confidence my mother.
I decided to head to the doctors to have it looked at and to see if there is anything they can do. Turns out there is – they can chop it off, and that’s what I’ll have done.
But while waiting to see the doctor, a funny thing happened.
I’ve mentioned before about how grumpy I am getting in my old age. Well, it happened again.
In the doc’s waiting room was a girl, aged about 16, wearing headphones, but the music she was playing was so loud that it was audible to everyone in the room.
This type of thing has always annoyed me. It’s like car drivers who have their windows wound down and radios on full blast, so we are all subjected to whatever they are listening to, usually some American rapper shouting about hoes (though why rappers are so obsessed by a versatile agricultural tool used to move small amounts of soil I have no idea).
But back to the headphones. There is no need to have the volume up so loud, especially at the doctors.
I let it go for about 15 minutes, but then could stand it no more and began making gestures at her with my hands that were meant to signify ‘can you turn your music down?’
At first she didn’t notice for, like anyone else under the age of 25 these days, she was fiddling with her mobile phone.
Then, slowly, the girl realised there was a man opposite making odd gestures at her. She gave me a slightly frightened look but didn’t turn her music down – it was still blaring out. So I gestured again, a little more urgently, and mouthed ‘turn that down’.
She looked very nervous now and, when I did it a third time, suddenly stood and walked very quickly away.
It was at this point something terrible happened. I realised the music was still playing even though she had gone. The music was being piped through the surgery’s speakers and hadn’t been coming from the girl’s headphones after all.
I jumped up to chase after her and apologise but at that exact moment the receptionist called my name, and I had to see the doc.
So, on the off-chance she’s reading, or if your daughter arrived home from the doctor’s looking all jittery and complaining about a really weird middle-aged man, I offer my sincerest apologies.
Oh, and as for the cyst, I’ll let you – and my barber – know when it’s chopped off.
I’m already fed up with the 2015 election
I’m not generally one to discuss politics in public – who I vote for is private, so my membership of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party is none of your business – but I am already fed up of the general election 98 days before it actually happens.
David Cameron – you know the chap has dominated the headlines all week because of his refusal to take part in the pre-election televised debates.
He won’t do it unless the Green Party are represented – which is less him being caring towards the Greens, more he’s scared stiff of UKIP’s Nigel Farage getting too much exposure.
I can understand Mr Cameron’s concern, I mean Farage, seems to be enormously popular. Whereas Cameron, as serving PMs rarely are, is not.
But, come on man, have some self-confidence.
At the moment, Cameron’s refusal to debate is like reigning FA Cup holders Arsenal saying they’re not taking part in this year’s competition unless they can play Rochdale in the final.
Over in the red corner Ed Miliband continues to not so much lead Labour as wander from one photo opportunity to the next, smiling awkwardly and wondering why he didn’t take a job in insurance instead; while Nick Clegg is busy shamelessly making friends with whoever gives him the best chance of staying in the limelight for another five years – a bit like the school wimp desperately trying to befriend the biggest lad in his class.
As the election gets ever nearer, this whole pantomime is going to get unbearable – could be a long few months.