In Conversation with Nibbles McGinty
By kind permission of the publishers, a brief excerpt from an interview with the famous stuntrodent, taken from this month's Hamsters and Penguins magazine.
"...but leaving aside the guacamole incident for one moment, I want to turn to 1975 when you got a job as a test pilot for a leading hamster ball manufacturer."
Nibbles puts down the piece of cheese he's been toying with and leans forward in his chair. "Well, of course," he says, "it was dangerous work, I can tell you. Oh, make no mistake, the boys in the lab were some of the best in the business but - how does the old proverb go? - there's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip. Yeah, well there's a whole heap of stuff that can go wrong between the drawing board and the finished prototype and - hell! - I should know. It doesn't matter how many factors you take into consideration, or how carefully you work out your wind speeds, or your trajectories or any of that numbers stuff. Until you've actually got that baby on the launch pad and you're ready to go, you never know how it's going to perform."
"It's been estimated that you tested something like ninety-five percent of all the hamster balls currently on the market," I point out.
"Ninety-five percent?" Nibbles asks. "Yeah, maybe. Ninety-five percent, or ninety-nine percent. Heck, I should think the actual figure is closer to one hundred and ten percent. Maybe more. But somebody had to do it. Somebody had to put their life on the line. And I figure my life was on the line more than most. In fact, it was probably on the line at least one hundred and sixty percent of the time. And, let me tell you, even when it wasn't on the line, it was still pretty damn close to the line. I'd say it was at least one hundred and eighty-four percent closer to the line than most other hamsters, for about two-hundred and fifteen percent of the time. No, scrub that. Let's say, two hundred and forty percent of the time...No, two hundred and fifty...No, two hundred and fifty-six..."
"So, you're saying it was pretty dangerous," I intercede.
"No shit!" Nibbles replies. "Let me tell you, when you're sat there on the take-off ramp - enclosed in your little plastic bubble, with no company save for the anxious faces of the technicians surrounding you - you really start to understand what fear is all about."
"Of course," I sympathise.
"And what it's usually about is crapping yourself silly. Which is something you really don't want to do in a hamster ball. Aside from the fact that once you get going it's not really too pleasant to have all that shit wheeling about your head, it does significantly reduce your visibility."
"Quite a dangerous situation," I say.
"Oh, I should say so," Nibbles agrees. "Plus, it doesn't half sting when it gets in your eyes."
I nod eagerly, then move on. "But then at the end of the seventies a career change was in order. I believe you spent the first half of 1981 stretching beetroot for Archduke Bramfunkle of Linoleum..."