It's an unfortunate fact that history is unlikely to decide that you're a figure of any great worth until you've had stuff named after you. The Duke of Wellington had his boot, James Dyson had his vacuum cleaner and Rudyard Kipling had his exceedingly good Kipling Automated Steam Press.
For a medical man to achieve that same level of immortality, you have to have some variety of disease labelled in your honour. It is, for some, an unedifying prospect to be forever associated with an affliction, but the brutal truth is that you're nothing until you have your very own ailment, condition or disorder.
Personality, I see the prospect of lending my moniker to something which causes misery, heartache and despair to be merely an extension of my day job and it was with this in mind that I set out to discover my own 'syndrome'.
Good evening. My name is Doctor Adolphous Bongo or, as you may know me better, 'Mr July' from last year's British Medical Association Macho Medics charity calendar.
It was only natural that I should be asked to take part, of course. Not only does the involvement of one of the country's top doctors lend a much needed touch of credibility to such a project, but it's also widely known that I have an exceptionally well preserved body. I keep it in a tank of formaldehyde in my back bedroom.
In life it had been the mortal embodiment of the eminent surgeon and pillar of the BMA, Sir Marcus Cordoba, and seeing as the Association has repeatedly acquiesced to my requests for a rake off from its charity endeavours, I'm now more than happy to return the celebrated cadaver to its grieving relatives so that they can give it a proper burial.
Parading around in my pants
In any case, I'm finding that parading around in my pants, though lucrative, offends my dignity more than a little, hence my search for a syndrome.
Now, as we all know, medicine was invented by the Vikings in Mesopotamia as long ago as 1857. This is all very lovely but for the budding young physician, looking to make his name in the world of pestilence and misery, it presents a problem. To wit, by now all the best diseases have already been taken.
The only way, therefore, to immortalise yourself in the field of infection, is to create new ones. Realising this, I immediately dug out my old chemistry set, took skin samples from some of my filthier patients and scraped up some of the black mushy stuff that has been collecting in the back of my fridge.
I am now pleased to say that I have bred a new kind of superbug. His name is Mathew, he can kill a cow at ten paces just by snarling at it, and he is going to make me a fortune. Mathew, you see, is directly responsible for 'Bongo Syndrome'. Indeed, Bongo Syndrome is best described as a fear of Mathew, and in the circumstances I feel that this is a perfectly rational reaction.
You see, Mathew is different to many other germs in one very important respect - he is visible to the naked eye. In fact, Mathew stands about six inches tall, is hefty enough to prise open a jar of piccalilli and has a cruel temper. In addition he has also proven to be resistant to antibiotics, unless you can get a good swing at him with the bottle.
But I haven't gone to all the trouble of dragging Mathew kicking and screaming into existence, only to forever banish him from this world with a judicious squirt of disinfectant or a random dose of penicillin. Oh no. Mathew is my star performer and has already gathered the crowds at numerous conventions and lectures.
A fickle discipline
Showbusiness, like medicine, is a fickle discipline. One minute you're on a London stage, coughing up bile for visiting foreign diplomats; the next you're lying in a gutter after having all your small change surgically removed and getting your nuts flattened by random passers-by.
You can never rest on your laurels. It's not enough to simply stand there in the limelight and make everyone sick; you're going to have to learn something new. That's why I taught Mathew to juggle.
Not that juggling alone will secure fame and fortune for a six-inch high bacterium with bad breath and an attitude problem. But it's a start. We're also perfecting a fire-eating act, working on a few impressions and he's taking singing lessons from Donny Osmond. It's obviously going to require a lot of hard work and perseverance - and if Mathew is really serious about making me famous he needs to buckle down and put in the hours.
Unfortunately we're having one or two problems with him at the moment. He's fallen in with a bad crowd of Staphylococci and I think he may be mutating into a variety of influenza.
I'm sure it's just a phase he's going through and we'll soon get him back into the silver leotard, practising his wheel of death routine. I have every confidence that years from now, when people mention my name, I'll be remembered as the genius behind Mathew the Mighty Microbe, singing sensation and all round variety superstar.
No one will ever remember me as the guy who was once photographed in his pants for a dodgy calendar, sponsored by a surgical appliance company.
Copyright © Paul Farnsworth 2012