A desperate festive shopping spree
Posted on 21 December 2012 by Charles Lamb
Those who haven’t yet finished their Christmas shopping will be ransacking Debenhams (other department stores are available) for a suitable wifely present to exchange for a festive jumper, shirt with matching chinos and a pair of socks.
But what to choose? Jewellery, lingerie or perfume? Lingerie needs a special licence, and one needs to know how to choose the correct size using precise words and numbers as opposed to vague gestures, commonly associated with fishermen comparing escaped trout.
Perfume is just too complicated with all the choices on offer and the disdain from assistants who haven’t heard of allergic rhinitis and don’t know about male festive-seasonal traumatic anosmia, a condition brought on by the stress of finding oneself in a shop selling scent in expensive bottles with only 20 minutes until closing; so that just leaves jewellery.
Even someone allergic to shops can manage a pair of earrings, since one size fits all and they only come in either gold or diamond colour. Men often leave it to the last minute to do their shopping, and those unfortunate enough on Christmas Eve to have an accident or a fight with another shopper over the last pair of furry mittens, will suffer double agony; not only the painful recovery from a bust lip, but also the discomfort of having to present something from the forecourt shop as a suitable gift to their beloved.
Luckily this year I have planned ahead and Mrs Lamb will not have to make do with a litre of screen wash and some wilted carnations. I’ve even checked and it turns out her earlobes are pierced in suitable locations for a mysterious addition to her jewellery drawer.
However, as I am scheduled to work Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and to be on call overnight, she may well have to don an artificial cotton wool beard herself to man the Christmas tree for the seasonal doling out of presents; unfortunately she’s become resigned to disturbed festivities over the years.
When Christmas falls on a mid-week day, the holiday fun in the emergency department begins the previous weekend, gradually building to a crescendo on Christmas Eve before re-emerging on Boxing Day with the ecstasy of an overstuffed disco. It then peaks the following weekend before culminating in Scottish dancing, with simultaneous punching and vomiting 10 days after it all began on New Year’s Eve.
Those working in the emergency department over the festive season will continue to smell of someone else’s alcohol for many days, and may still find dried-in blood in their soles well into next year.
This is why I refuse to wear trainers, as the mixture of blood, saliva and vomit is far more difficult to extract from a sculpted and perforated nylon upper than from old-fashioned bits of leather.
Charles Lamb is a consultant in emergency medicine