Wednesday, April 30, 2008


G: "Tr****'s daughter, H****, came into the office with her today.  She's off school and had been to the doctor's with Slapped Cheek."

Me: "What?  Her mum had slapped her cheek?  I thought you ended up going to jail for doing that sort of thing to your kids these days."

G:  "No, it's an illness, Slapped Cheek.  You get red cheeks and end up having a fever and stuff."

Me: "I've never heard of it before.  Can adults get it?"

G:  "Well, she was past the infectious stage, but her mum could be a carrier I suppose."

Hence, er, probably, I've had rather a florid complexion for the past few days.  Not down to excessive consumption of wine, oh no.  It's because I've got Slapped Cheek, er, probably.

These days, people like to think of themselves as a malfunctioning, neurotic bundle of phobias and ailments.  Something that in days of old you would have put up with as a minor illness you now have to see as a symptom of your whole body failing, so you really ought to fork out for some bogus homeopathic treatment and get to the root of the real *cause* of it, y'know.  If you undergo some form of stress (job loss, bereavement) then it's no longer okay to work through the natural responses of depression or worry.  Oh no, you've got to put yourself through a couple of years of "pity poor me" counselling so you can let yourself know that you RILLY RILLY have suffered.

So ... anyway, it's not surprising that there are imaginary childhood diseases such as (ahem) Slapped Cheek, which no one had heard of ten years ago.  Why should children be left out of the endless cycle of suffering we have to undergo in the western world, eh?

I'm too young to have memories of, like, proper, hardcore childhood diseases such as diphtheria or whooping cough.  Them wuz the days, eh?

However, I got through the following:

Measles.  Can't remember much about it.

Chicken pox.  Don't think I was too ill.  My parents were livid because it coincided with the annual holiday in Wales.  My dad had to work at a bakery to make up the cost so we could take the holiday later.  Pigeons used to shit in the bread mix from the eaves of the bakery roof.  This is why it's probably best to bake your own bread.  Hem hem, I digress.

Mumps.  A classic!  Can still remember the exquisite pain in my neck glands to this day, and having to look as moon faced as Mariah Carey for a fortnight.

Vomiting all the time.  Best way to get back at parents for having you in the first place.  No one asks to be born, do they?

Bronchitis.  I had a disgusting cough every autumn through until spring the following year until I was about eleven because of getting bronchitis when I was five.  Plenty of time off school though - great.

Hay fever.  Glued up eyes, streaming nose, head feeling as if it had exploded, stupid red face. Started up every spring after the bronchial cough disappeared, right through until the autumn when the cough came back.   No wonder I eventually liked The Smiths (I grew out of the bronchial cough, the hay fever and The Smiths, for which I'm forever grateful).

Slapped Cheek though?  Don't make me laugh.   Stick a bit of calamine lotion on your kids and shut 'em up in the coal cellar for a few hours.  It never did me any harm.

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at least his new information explains Noel Edmonds "face like a smacked arse" syndrome at last.

I think you may be a little hyper Betty but you're probably still in projected grief mode for the fish in your garden
So it's Trisha and Helen, is it? (Are you sure you want to join the Secret Service).
I've had all of those except mumps which, for a 47-year-old man, means my testicles will explode if I get it now.
I've also had scarlet fever!! Beat that!!! It was the only case outside Matebeleland in 1967, apparently. You're not actually ill, although you scam a week off school because it's infectious. You do, however, spend the week looking like Alex Ferguson. I also think I had RSI when I was 16, only RSI hadn't been invented then - and I'd never typed before in my life. A mystery that one.
Try explaining to your classmates that ringworm is not actually a worm.

Or that you caught it from the animals on your farm.

Not that this memory has stayed with me.
Murph - yeah, and it also explains why Noel grew a beard. "Tidybeard!" as Nessa from Gavin And Stacey would have it. AND WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO SUGGEST I'M HYPER?????? I CAN BLOODY WELL COPE WITH PERSONAL TRAGEDY WITHOUT ANY HELP OR ADVICE FROM ANYONE ELSE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. *hits self over head repeatedly with tea tray*

Reg - it nearly rhymes with Stacey and Molly, but names have had to be blanked out to protect the innocent. If you had mumps now, you'd start to talk like Alan Ball and Emlyn Hughes - and look what happened to them! I never understood what happened to anyone who got scarlet fever. Wasn't there also a disease called Scarletina that was even more obscure?

MJ - Yeah, but things like that are character building, aren't they? Mind you, virtually everything that happens to you at school is so unpleasant that it's character building ...
Nah! Scarletina was Captain Scarlet's youngest - sister to Barry, Frank and Myra.
German measles. . . I had to stay in bed and listen to Sunderland beat Leeds in the 1973 cup final rather than watch it with my friends on telly. And why German? Is it like ordinary measles only more efficient and humourless?
I HAD SLAPPED CHEEK FEVER!!! And that was probably fifteen years ago. crumbs, I remember it well. Agony. I think it has a proper name, like - erm - a high fever?? But mums eh? Incidentally, my mum actually did slap me round the face (the one and only time, 'cause I was being a fucking teenage, innit. I'd've definitely hit me, if I was her). I bruise really easily, so she kept me home from school in case people thought I was an abused child....

Speaking of which, 15 years for locking up and repeatedly raping your daughter for two and a half decades? Get out! He should get at least twice as much as he gave her, that's what I think.

Anything else I need to get off my chest while I'm here? MMR - that's what you need. although it didn't protect me from chicken pox and vomiting, not to mention the hayfever that seems to be getting worse as I get older. Also, a friend of mine got scarlet fever last year just like pithers. Isn't it meant to be extinct? I blame bird flu.

I can't think of anything else I need to say. Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I relished writing it...
I had mumps at 24, but mercifully remained free of the swollen testicles. That said, I lived in fear for a whole month, every twinge south of the border sending me into a cold sweat. Not that, please, no, anything but that...

I had persistent migraines as a teenager. Missed about a third of my schooling at GCSE. Was ribbed mercilessly by bastards in my class who were convinced i was bunking off. So I worked extra hard and whupped all their arses in the exams. And where are they now? Working as managers for daddy's company and driving BMWs. Ha! I sure showed them.
What next - double chin, unattractive feet, broken fingernail, disappointing birthday present?
I suppose they'll soon be queuing up for their 'Slapped cheek' innoculations.
Back in the 60s when I was a lad, I contracted everything all at once during the Christmas Holidays...that ruined everything because I would have stayed in my pyjamas anyway...
sadly, this is the closest that I have ever come to living like Hugh Hefner. If you don't have any Bunnies what's the point?

Hence the popular term..
"You poor little bunny"
I remember those, Betty.
REAL diseases, not these cheap plastic fakes you get these days.
About the only thing I suffer from now is wanker's cock.
Reg - no, it was from the theme music to Stingray ("Scarletina, Aqua Scarletina" ...)

Malc - I can remember seeing that match. You didn't miss much. My mother insists I had German Measles on Christmas Day, 1975, even though I'm sure I didn't. "You were a bit off colour," she insisted. Does anything actually happen to you if you have German Measles?

Fathorse - my mum used to smack me all the time, often in some sort of tribal drumming way with chanting over the top ("when will you bloody (smack) bloody (smack) bloody (smack) learn to bloody (smack) do what I bloody (smack) bloody (smack) tell you". Eeh, them were the days. Didn't do me any harm! That's the 1970's for you! That bloke with the 15 year sentence should be left in a cold dank cellar and strung up by his balls for the rest of his natural born. Oh dear, not very liberal and caring of me, is it?

Del - sounds like you had a lucky escape (with the mumps). Perhaps the stuff about what having mumps late can do to blokes is a myth that's been passed around to terrify men. Probably a rumour started by a feminist. Migraines are not only very unpleasant, you have to put up with people telling you what you should and shouldn't eat to combat them.

Kaz - "double chin, unattractive feet, broken fingernails"? Sounds like dear old John Prescott. No wonder he developed an eating disorder.

Donn - illnesses always occur in holidays, particularly Christmas. Even now, a Christmas rarely passes without most of the people I know having the 'flu or some gastric bug. Probably means there is a God, and He's punishing the world for not celebrating Christmas in the appropriate manner.

Dive - at least wanker's cock isn't infectious (well, I hope not, anyway). Perhaps best not to carry on wearing woollen mittens when you indulge? They can bring up a rash something rotten, y'know.
I believe the slapped cheek thing came over from Abroad, a recent import.

I had nothing as a kid, nor as an adult, except whooping cough (I was 7) and glandular fever (17).

My mum used to send me to play with kids who had diseases, hoping I would catch them, but I never did, apparently. Except my theory is that I did catch everything, just never showed any symptoms. I have a magic immune system, me. Except for the whooping cough.
I can't for the life of me remember what German measles was like. I was in bed for a week, though.

The school sent a letter out to all parents. Apparently its very dangerous to pregnant women. Expectant mothers would scatter as soon as I lumbered into view.

I had slapped arse once, but then I did go to public school.
Maximus Bobus - Slapped Cheek comes from abroad? I blame the Channel Tunnel meself, and EU regulations (I wonder if the Daily Mail is on to it yet?) I bet having whooping cough gave you immunity from every other childhood disease. Either that, or you'll suddenly get one childhood disease after another in your seventies.

Malc - no one knows what the symptoms of German Measles are. This is because it was invented by the Germans, and therefore is very sinister and difficult to understand. The main thing, is, as you said, the danger to pregnant women. If you haven't had German Measles you're supposed to avoid being in the same country as pregnant women, or something like that. Why don't they just send pregnant women to their own country? Then they wouldn't have to grumble about people not standing up to give them a seat on buses and trains, and that sort of thing. Ahem.
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