..If ever I am in a car crash and
awake to find a doctor looking down at me gravely, that's exactly
the kind of bad news I want to hear.
..Picture the scene.
.."There's no easy way to tell you this, Vic," says the doctor. "You have suffered a terrible injury."
.."Give it to me straight, Doc," says Vic. "I can take it."
.."Very well...Mr.Mature, you have drooping eyelids. The condition is irreversible."
..A long shuddering intake of breath. Vic's hands clench reflexively.
.."Is there nothing you can do?"
..Brokenly: "But, Doc...my celebrated impression of Eddie Cantor...?"
..The doctor is funereal. "I'm sorry, Vic, never again."
.."No! No! Why? Why? My life has been blighted, blighted!" Vic grips the doctor by his collar, his eyes lighting with a wild hope. "You're wrong, I tell you, wrong! I'm not gonna take this! You'll see, I'll open my eyelids fully again!"
.."No, Vic. That life has gone."
..Vic is feverish in his denial. "I'll use matchsticks, see? Matchsticks, yeah! No-one'll ever know the difference."
..Then a tender scene with his fiancee.
.."Of course, I release you from your promise, Gladys. I would not ask you to chain yourself to a man with drooping eyelids. I shall go away from here...far away...to Asia, perhaps, where there are no round eyes to mock me..."
.."No, Vic, no! We'll fight this thing together!"
.."Don't you see, Gladys, I would come to hate you! Every time I looked into your big wide-open eyes I would be reminded of everything I have lost!"
.."Then I will attach weights to my eyelashes so that I too have drooping eyelids!"
..If it was me I would definitely milk it like that. It would turn me into a brooding, misanthropic figure. I would definitely let it warp me.
..I would join a gentleman's club for the express purpose of coldly rebuffing people who tried to approach me and being talked about as a Man With A Tragic Affliction.
.."I say, Carruthers, who's that haunted-looking cove who just coldly rebuffed me?"
.."Oh, that's 'Tragedy' Kelly. He was in a car crash, poor chap, and now he has drooping eyelids. It's rather soured him. He probably thought you were trying to pity him."
.."What a rotten bit of luck. But I only asked him if he'd seen the headlines in today's Times."
.."I'm afraid you've rather put your foot in it. He can't read headlines any more, you see, only very narrow print."
.."Oh. But why does he limp and cough?"
.."Oh, just for sympathy. The eyelids are hard to notice."
..But no, actually, because I have always wanted droopy eyelids. The hooded basilisk gaze of Salman Rushdie, the sleepy bedroom eyes of Robert Mitchum.
..So I would be delighted to wake up in hospital like that:
.."Mr. Kelly, you were in a car crash and you now have droopy eyelids."
.."You also have distinguished streaks of grey at the temples and a great all-over tan. It's permanent, I'm afraid."
..Really, Mature had a cosmetic car crash. To me it's like reading: 'His nose was straightened in a fortuitous bomb-blast.' 'He was afflicted with dimples after a threshing-machine accident.'
..And bear it in mind next time you're in a minor collision and want to make an insurance claim. Don't go, "Argh, whiplash," and have to wear a neck-brace for six months. Just squint a bit and go, "Ooh, ooh, droopy eyelids, call a lawyer."
..But honestly, I love them. I couldn't believe it when Salman Rushdie had his droopy eyelids fixed, they were the best ones ever. It was like these women who have breast-reduction surgery because they think their breasts are too big.
..I always wanted to be a social worker or psychiatrist counselling girls like that.
.."Doctor, Doctor, my breasts are too big!"
.."Hmm...Well, I'd better take a look at them."
.."No, Doctor, I couldn't, they're horrible, you'll puke!"
.."Come, child, I am a professional man, I have gazed on many terrible sights...don't be afraid...that's right...Holy Mother of God...oh, the poor things, poor deformed gargantuan breasts, too horrendous for the sight of men...oh Jesus, thankyou Jesus...May I touch them? May I comfort them in their lonely hideousness? I will try to overcome my revulsion...we doctors learn to detach, you know...uhhh..."
.."Oh, Doctor, I'm a freak! What man will ever want me?"
.."Truly, my child, you are a misbegotten troll, a term which I as a medical man do not use lightly. And yet...oh Momma, oh Christ...I can see beyond your...unnh...misshapen body, to the beauty of your - whoo! Hubba hubba! - soul. I will love you."
.."Mmmm, Nnnn, YumYumYumYumYum."
..I wonder if any man's ever had penis reduction surgery? It would be the ultimate in oneupmanship.
.."Yes, well, it was on medical advice, you know. I was passing out from blood-loss every time I got an erection. So I thought, what the hell, let's hack the brute down to size, won't miss five inches or so, just lop it right off there. Feel much better for it."
..But none of this is going to get the revolution started.
(Posted September 99)