Friday, 1 May 2015

I Faked Whooping Cough

It's 23 years since I spent seven weeks pretending to have whooping cough so that I could watch the World Snooker Championships and coverage of the 1992 General Election. It started with a bad cold, possibly a throat infection. I had a bad cough - there's no doubt about that. My mother took me to see the GP and upon learning that I hadn't been vaccinated for whooping cough* he mentioned that as a possibility.

I took two key facts from that consultation - 1) Whooping cough can last for up to three months and I should stay away from school as long as I have it. 2) A sure fire sign that I did have whooping cough would be if my coughing fits developed a 'whoop' noise as I took in breath.

I went home to work on my 'whoop'. In the days before internet, it was impossible for me to find out exactly what a 'whoop' sounded like. One thing I did have in my favour was that it was impossible for my parents to find out too. As long as my 'whoop' sounded plausible to a novice then I would be okay. Did my 'whoop' sound plausable? Listen mate, I was just a few years away from receiving an A* in GCSE Drama - of course it fucking did.

So this became my life for a few weeks. In exchange for a few exaggerated coughing fits a day and a bit of home work, I was free to do what any eleven year old home from school would do - watch political coverage on TV.

This is where my obsession with politics started. It's not ideology I'm into by the way. Not even issues really. All that stuff is way too hard. If you think you know what the fuck we should do with the NHS I would suggest that you are misguided. It looks like we'll soon get to the point where we can keep people alive until they're 150 as long as we spend £10 million a week on their drugs and they promise not to move. AND THAT'S A FACT!

Dealing with the actual issues involves moral dilemas and compromises and the odd clear conviction. Like I say - too hard. What I'm into is Cameron forgetting what football team he supports or Andrew Neil ripping a series of middle managers a new arsehole or the ongoing adventures of Grant Shapps. Stuff that doesn't matter. I like arguments I have zero chance of losing because I'm simply watching them.

That's not to say I don't pick sides and it's not to say that I don't care. It's just that, as with my well documented love for Neighbours, I'm happy to buy into the day to day bullshit narritive served up to me. This morning, for example, Cameron slipped on a Freudian and said this was a 'career defining election' before correcting himself with 'country defining election'. That'll be fun for a day. People will load it with lots of conspiracy revealing nonsense. It's funny. It's not important but it's funny. To me.

Anyway, the throat infection I suspect I did actually have cleared up and then I was left having to muster up entirely manufactured coughing fits. In time, they lost the enthusiastic energy of earlier performances and after seven weeks I was bundled back to school. My well informed John Major and Roy Hattersley quips didn't go as well with my classmates as I would have liked. It would be another four years until I touched a girl's boob.

*I think that my mother would like you to know that I wasn't vaccinated becasue of some crazy Daily Mail induced paranoia. Apparently there was a dodgy batch going around our area at the time. If you're into getting high on that sort of thing, there might be some still availible on the black market.

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