Pianos

Stop right there! Have you ever seriously considered what would happen if a piano fell on you as you were reading this? No, of course you haven't - that would be mental. And yet laboratory tests prove that in ninety-nine per cent of all cases, falling pianos can be extremely nasty.

Good evening. My name is Dr Adolphous Bongo, and I don't want any of you thinking that there is the slightest reason to doubt my professional integrity, just because you've read my name in the national press alongside certain allegations of misconduct. The bottom line is that the British Chiropractic Association has their way manipulating the spine, and I have mine. Hell, if you're going to crack bones, do it properly. The fact that my method involves the application of power tools only serves to illustrate my progressive take on the matter, and any suggestion that the permanently 'folded' state of Mrs Eileen Trumpton is the result of malpractice is entirely erroneous. Trust me, you should have seen the old bat when I first met her, she was like a bleeding concertina.

Anyway, the reason I mention the piano thing is because, as a result of new legislation, falling gold reserves and the shifting of the Gulf Stream, the government has found it necessary to appoint me to the position of Chief Medical Officer. You know, like that chap with the craggy face in Star Trek. That's a point - how come the Star Trek Enterprise gets its own doctor? In my experience, most organisations of that size make do with some mouth-breathing teenager who wanders around aimlessly with a first aid kit on his belt, and whose only experience of medicine is a three-hour course in first aid, a succession of dead goldfish and a box set of House. And yes, I did say 'Star Trek Enterprise', geek boy. Get over it.

Of course, when I say 'the government' I'm not necessarily referring to a government with which you're likely to be familiar. Or even have heard of. Naturally, my talents are in great demand the world over, and I have been approached by a number of powerful administrations. Just last month I had to turn down a very tempting offer. I'm not, you understand, at liberty to name names, but I can tell you that it was with a heavy heart that I responded to this latest entreaty with the words: "I'm sorry, your holiness, love all the paintings and the sculptures and that, but all that pasta gives me wind."

No, in the end I graciously acceded to a request from the Dominican Republic to take on the mantel of Chief M.O. - theirs being, frankly, the best offer. I think it was the beach house that swung it. With such an attractive incentive, I naturally bent over backwards to come to their assistance - which I can't help but feel is one more triumph for my particular brand of chiropractic treatment.

Incidentally, my interest in the chiropractology - or whatever you want to call it - was the result of a fortuitous accident: I wanted to do a course on feet, but wandered into the wrong evening class. Accidents, of course, are rarely that providential, as someone who has been hit by a falling piano would be able to tell you, were it not for the fact that his vocal chords, along with the rest of his body, would likely resemble nothing more substantial than a thin smattering of peanut butter across the pavement. And, depending on the size of the piano, not the crunchy kind either.

But wait a minute, I hear you ask. Is there really a genuine risk of being struck by a falling piano? Is this the kind of vital health warning that the good people of the Dominican Republic need to be hearing from their Chief Medical Chap? Nope. Not really. But I nevertheless feel obliged to point out the possibility - partly because of the conscientiousness with which I approach my responsibilities, but mostly because of my dogged pursuit of backhanders from the company marketing 'anti-piano' kits.

The truth is - and this is between you and me - if you were to never leave your house the risk of being pianoed is probably about zero, although ultimately this does depend on your particular lifestyle. By and large, most people don't have bulky musical apparatus suspended from their ceilings, but if you do then you can expect to shoulder the burden of the blame just as much as you can anticipate withstanding the impact of the instrument.

Return to Doctor Bongo's Casebook

Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2012

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