Dr Bongo on...
Dr Bongo on...Happy Clappers
One of the banes of my life, and there are many, is those perennially happy-go-lucky, cheerful types who seem to think that it's acceptable for them to blight other people's peace and quiet with their happy-clappy bubbly bullshit. Thankfully, most of the dismal clowns unwise enough to present themselves as patients at my surgery are miserable, depressed and thoroughly wretched - if not when they arrive, then certainly by the time they leave.
Good evening. My name is Doctor Adolphous Bongo and before I embark on the main topic of this article, I would like to thank everyone who has so far made a donation to my forthcoming sponsored skydive in support of the Royal Midchester Hospital Trust. I sincerely hope that your contributions are significant, and would remind you that you are perfectly at liberty to increase your pledged amounts at any time. In fact, it might be wise to do that now, just to be on the safe side.
To everyone who has not yet donated, and for the benefit of any law enforcement personnel who may be reading this, I should emphasise that sponsorship is entirely voluntary and any unfortunate consequences which may flow from your decision to withhold your support will have absolutely nothing to do with me.
But I digress - back to these insufferable jolly types. What you will not have realised is that persistent and apparently unshakable happiness is actually a disease. The reason that you will not have realised this is because you are not a doctor and 'Googling stuff on the web' is in no way a realistic substitute for spending seven years in medical school. Not that this is any guarantee of competence by itself. Some of my colleagues... No, scratch that, most of my colleagues... Actually, all of my colleagues seem to think that having a gallery of official-looking certificates on their walls gives them the right to be taken seriously, no matter what moronic and ridiculous theories they choose to advance. Ha! If they are so clever, how come they actually had to work for their certificates instead of just buying them off the internet like I did? Exactly.
The fact is, all my 'qualified' and 'accredited' colleagues seem to think that perpetual jollity can be cured. I know that it can't, which is why I have taken a different approach. This discovery was the result of a most extraordinary circumstance: a patient came to see me.
I am pleased to say that these days my reputation is such that interaction with the public is something that hardly ever happens, but on this occasion one of them somehow got through. It was a million to one chance that I would be at my surgery at all, but on this day the rain was battering against the windows, making it totally unsuitable for golf. I was sat in my consulting room, thumbing through a copy of What Proctologist? and just as I had started to scribble some obscure but anatomically correct observations in the margin of an article on anal cists by, appropriately enough, that fool Murchison, my receptionist had the infernal cheek to buzz me and tell me that there was someone waiting to see me.
I should have sacked the woman years ago. She's always been a trouble maker. Her eyes are too far apart and she stinks of gravy. I suggested to her that I was busy but her imbecilic bovine wit could not detect the subtle implication that she should tell this fellow to go away. The next thing I knew, she had inserted him forcibly into my consulting room and left the fellow standing there, blinking stupidly. He was no more alive to my feelings on his unwanted presence than my receptionist had been, and when I threw a vase at him he merely ducked, grinned and made some turgid and inconsequential remark about the weather.
He was one of 'them', you see. One of the bluff, chipper, hale and hearty sorts and my heart sank when he addressed me as 'doc' and enquired as to 'how it was hanging'. I don't speak the language myself, but I recognise enough of this 'common talk' to realise that it's rarely worth engaging in conversation with these people. When I asked him what was wrong he told me that he 'couldn't complain' and right then I could have happily disembowelled him with the solid silver letter opener that I keep dangerously close to me on the desk.
After persevering he finally told me that his problem was a slight ache in his left knee. I corrected him, telling him that his real problem was that he was an insufferable jerk, and the fool evidently thought I was joking as he erupted in guffaws of laughter and continued to splutter and burble for some time, whilst all the while my hand edged ever closer to the letter opener.
By the way, I wouldn't like this fascinating account to distract you from anything important - such as sponsoring someone who is planning a skydive. If you're worried that the Royal Midchester Hospital Trust isn't a worthy enough cause, please be assured that every penny you donate will go to someone who really wants it, and the fact that I am the sole trustee should in no way be a cause of concern.
Anyhow, back to this annoying fellow in my surgery. I believe it was when I hit him full in the face with an ashtray that the seeds of an idea first took root. He reeled and looked momentarily stunned but rapidly recovered his sickening bonhomie. I believe he also made some feeble joke about the incident. I can't remember what it was, but you can trust me that the recollection of it would in no way enhance this account.
I followed up the ashtray attack with a rigorous and extended 'therapy' session in which I laid about him with whatever furniture came to hand in the hope that something, anything, would wipe that syrupy smile off his chubby face. If anything it seemed to make him happier. Perhaps he just thrived on the attention?
An investigation of this man's medical history revealed that he had suffered from this condition ever since he had been a boy. Abuse, tragedy and misfortune had dogged him his whole life, and through it all he had remained unnaturally cheerful. I finally managed to get rid of him by telling him that there was a sale on at Marks and Spencer's, but it was as a result of this encounter that I discovered a whole new and potentially award-winning medical syndrome: Bongo Chipperitis.
Bongo Chipperitis is often fatal. This is not directly attributable to the syndrome itself, but rather the degree of violence that is directed at the sufferer by others. Most sufferers of Bongo Chipperitis are beaten silly long before their third decade. Those who miraculously survive the repeated attacks spend the remainder of their lives in a persistent vegetative state and thankfully no longer exhibit the symptoms.
One other important detail: Bongo Chipperitis is incurable.
But while there is no hope for the sufferer, there is something that we can do for the real victims of the syndrome: their families, friends, colleagues and loved ones. That's why I have developed my specialist range of 'suppressants': devices designed to limit the impact of insufferably jovial people and give their associates a bit of peace and quiet. The range includes everything from ear protectors, goggles, noise cancellation devices and spit guards, to professionally-installed isolation chambers and padded rooms.
And in more desperate cases you can arrange to send your pain in the arse on a moderately priced and pleasingly alliterative 'Bongo Break Respite Retreat'. This will allow you to enjoy a few days of much-needed peace and quiet, safe in the knowledge that your irritating friend or relative is being kept busy rambling, mountain climbing, white water rafting or being pushed out of a plane without a parachute.
You see, there's a resolution for every problem so long as you're willing to think creatively.