PETER MORTIMER is unwell. He is confused. Can his doctor supply the healing balm or is your poor columnist beyond help?
I VISITED MY DOCTOR Nothing serious: rapid palpitations, sudden cramps in the leg, inexplicable paranoia, a virulent rash, a deep-seated cough, double vision, roaring tinnitus, chest pains, a cold sore, anxiety, depression. Oh yes . . . and a wart.
After he’d examined me, the doctor said, ‘Pretty average.’
‘Really?’ I replied.
‘I find a growing number of my patients are in a similar state right now,’ he said. ’By the way, can I prescribe these new pills for you?’
‘What do they do, doc?’ I asked.
‘Beats me,’ he said, ‘But if I prescribe them to more than one hundred patients this month, the pharmaceutical company give me two free weeks in the Bahamas. Not bad, eh?’
‘I’ll do it just for you then doc,’ I said. ‘Mind you, I might just chuck them down the loo.’
He gave a sort of ironic chuckle. ‘Well, If every one of my patients did that, we’d probably all be a lot better off!’
‘Why do you think I’m in such a bad state, doc?’ I asked.
‘Oh, that’s obvious’, he said. ‘Like an ever increasing percentage of the population you are suffering from a bout of Trumpit.’
‘It’s a deadly amalgam, a double virus if you will,’ said the doctor. ‘A coupling of two malignant and highly toxic germs, the like of which we have rarely seen before. Quite frankly, this combination has almost brought the country to its knees.’
‘But what has caused this phenomenon, doc? What strange and bizarre circumstances could allow such an infestation to run riot and so rapidly?’
‘Good question,’ said my GP. ‘Oh, by the way, can I prescribe this ointment. Rub it on your elbows three times a day after meals and make sure you use the whole jar’.
‘Of course, doc,’ I said. ‘But again I am moved to ask, what is it for?’
‘Questions, questions, questions!’ The doc tossed back his head and chuckled.
‘Let’s just say that by using the ointment, you’ll be helping make possible my stretching out on a beach in the Seychelles!’
‘OK,doc, I’ll rub it in’, I said. ‘But I still don’t get all this Trumpit business.’
‘Nobody does!’ he said.
‘Who would have ever thought it?’ he mused. ‘Madness on both sides of the Atlantic: over there, a raving lunatic! Over here, a bemused shuffling into the darkness as the blind lead the blind! No wonder there’s an existential crisis!
‘I don’t blame people for jumping off bridges, I can tell you,’ he went on. ‘Even my dog is affected – she’s right off her Pedigree Chum!’
Suddenly I understood: Trump and Brexit in a pincer-like attack on the international immune system. ‘So THAT’S what Trumpit is?’
‘Mmmm,’ nodded the doc. ‘The effect is pretty widespread. Politically, socially and increasingly medically you might say it is the perfect storm.’
‘But is it terminal?’ I asked, anxiously.
‘Not necessarily’, he replied. ‘Of course, across The Pond they have to sort themselves out.’
‘And here in Europe?’
‘Time’s up,’ said the doc, shaking his head sadly and pushing into my trembling hand the two prescriptions before guiding me, bemused, through the door and out of his surgery.
‘Good health!’ he cried out cheerily as we parted.