This seems to have been a popular subject on several of our blogs recently, so here goes... Everyone has their own personal struggle; Adolf Hitler’s – if only he’d left it at that - was with farting, and to stop it his quack doctor prescribed little black pills containing dangerous substances like strychnine and antropine. The Führer's over use of these probably accounted for his increased irascibility and losing the war. When I first arrived in Romania I had my own gastric struggle; the food here is very heavy - “peasant cuisine” makes it sound more glamorous than it is – and my mother-in-law is a woman who doesn’t understand “no”. I was in hell. After 3 days I phoned the Guinness Book of Records*:
Me: Hello, can I speak to Ross McWhirter, please?
Girl: I’m afraid he’s no longer with us, sir
Me: What, you mean he’s gone off and formed a rival Book of Records??
Girl: No, I mean he’s dead.
Me: How old was he?
Girl: He was 50
Me: Well, that’s not much of a rec…
Girl: He was assassinated by the IRA
Me: Oh I see, sorry. What about the other…
Girl: Mr Norris is also no longer with us – maybe I can help you?
Me: Yes, maybe you can, you see I’ve been constipated for three days now and I was wondering if this is a record
Girl: Have you been eating Romanian food, sir?
Me: Yes of course I have! My mother-in-law keeps shovelling it down me and I can’t get it out again!
Girl: We get this a lot. Well, the record for being constipated whilst eating Romanian food is very long; in fact the McWhirters thought it would probably never be broken.
Me: How long?
Girl: 3 weeks, 2 days, 24 minutes and 49 seconds
Me: What?? Oh good grief! I must go to toilet sooner than that, I must I must I must….
Me: Tell you what though, I’ve stopped eating food altogether now as I can’t get any more in – what’s the record for not having a dump whilst eating nothing at all?
Girl: Probably 94 days: Cork Prison hunger strike, 1920. The Irish republican movement had the last word on that as well.
Girl: Might I suggest you see a doctor, sir?
Me: They’d laugh at me
Girl: Well, you seem to be an intelligent person, perhaps you could find a scientific answer yourself; you could start by sitting down and working it out with a pencil.
Me: Yes, well, you’re right of course, I’ll go and get a pencil and some paper and…. Oh, I see, ha ha, very funny
So, that was a waste of a phone call. But I’m happy to report that time and Turd-Purge Plus** eventually worked their special magic, and the situation has since then largely been avoided by feigning sleep/death/madness when the fourth course is plonked in front of me. I’ve still no idea how the IRA got so involved in all this though. To finish, here’s the best - possibly the only – song ever written about constipation; Screamin’ Jay Hawkins telling it like it is, accompanied (for some bizarre reason) by Serge Gainsbourg:
* I couldn't find a clip of the BBC programme Record Breakers with them on, but here from American TV (1:20 minutes in) are The McWhirters.
** New improved formula with plutonium sulphate. (I also tried Recto-Rout and Shit Shifter but frankly they just weren’t up to the job.)