bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

Indelicate Moment

Dear Rachel

I arrived at Greenwich Market on Saturday to find Danny shouting at Keith. This is not an unusual occurrence; as I’ve mentioned before, so well-known is their animosity that the phrase ‘Danny and Keith’ has evolved into localised rhyming slang for ‘teeth’, as in ‘I must nip to the dentist – me Dannies are playing up’. Danny’s threats towards Keith have also evolved in recent months, from offers to go round to Keith’s house and give his wife Barbara ‘…the full half pint’ to not only killing him, but burying him, dancing on his grave, digging him up, reanimating him, cloning him, and then killing each clone in turn in front of the others to teach them a lesson.

This death and cloning outburst – conducted in the form of a torrent of abusive obscenities from seventy foot away, across and around early morning browsers – concerned the allegation that Keith owes Danny ‘an unpaid commodore.’ This came to light when I was asked to referee the dispute, in accordance with established protocol. Despite knowing my way around slang, I was unable to ascertain how much a ‘commodore’ was, and felt I needed this information to pass appropriate judgement. A ‘commodore’ is three ladies, a Lady Godiva being a fiver in rhyming slang, and three fivers therefore making fifteen pounds sterling. ‘Three Times A Lady’ was a song by the Commodores: hence, £15 = a commodore. I dismissed the case because Keith, like myself, had no prior idea what a commodore was, excepting the naval ranking or early home computing system, neither of which seemed likely in the context of a string of bellowed threats in a south east London street market. Aggrieved, Danny confided later that for Keith’s forthcoming birthday he’s going to surprise him by setting fire to his legs and telling him to make a wish as he blows the flames out.

Even without Danny, language can be confusing. For example, epididymis sounds like something you might visit on a Greek holiday, but only a grim postcard would feature such a thing. It’s a particularly unglamourous part of your Alberts*, pointed out to me by a forthright doctor from Basildon during a recent run in with testicular cancer. The forthright doctor was called Laura, and while I do not usually approve of professional over-familiarity, I felt first name terms were acceptable after the indignities we had endured, during which I explained that detection rates of testicular cancer in British men would be higher if the word ‘testicular’ wasn’t such an inherently amusing word for us to say. I’d tried to lighten the mood by opening with a breezy ‘I’ve found a lump, and you will never guess where it is’, to which she replied ‘Is it on your testicles?’ whereupon I decided there was little I could bring to the world of suave under such conditions. This initial consultation was memorable due to Laura donning washing up gloves – real, actual Marigolds – to carry out proceedings, prompting me to say that I didn’t realise she lived here as well, and if she needed to whip round with the hoover I could always come back that afternoon. Furthermore, I suggested bringing mittens or wicket keepers’ gloves to future examinations to break the ice, and she replied that it’s not uncommon to get optimistic Lotharios wandering in claiming to have found lumps in order to get a bit of a feel, and that the Marigolds were to ‘protect both of us’. I’m all for romantic abandon, but would struggle to find testicular cancer erotic, and said that if this was some kind of speed date, it was far too weird and I wouldn’t be pursuing it.

Coincidentally, Danny is having regular, joyless and bleak sex with a nurse, having found a forty year old tattooed grandmother variant that he took a predictable shine to. When he first told me, I asked whether he’d got ‘nurse’ confused with someone who drives a meals on wheels van, however, he was not only insistent but full of suggestions as to what I should do to ‘liven things up’ with Laura, none of which I shall trouble you with. To amuse ourselves, we composed ways in which important cancer related news could be given – ‘Mr Smith, I have good news and bad. The good news is that the small pea sized thing next to your testicles is not cancer. The bad news is that it’s your cock,’ – and so forth. Happily, I didn’t have cancer in the end, which is rather a relief. In fact, all I did was survive not having cancer, which is hardly the stuff of legend – or, as Danny would have it: ‘I have two pieces of good news Mr Smith – you don’t have cancer, and I’ve found your anal beads.’



*Rhyming slang: Albert Halls = balls.


Top: Sign from a municipal multi-storey car park. Whenever I see one of these, no matter how many times it may be in the course of a sophisticated evening, I like to point it out and say ‘I think it’s time we took this to the next level’, because I am all about fun and everything.

Middle: Tom the Buses, Greenwich Market stalwart. The sign is nothing to do with his business – as a Millwall fan, he is legally obliged to carry it at all times.

Lower: Animals of some sort. Camels? No idea. Anyway, they were at Greenwich Market for some reason, and conducted themselves with considerably more decorum than most other visitors.

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