Liam Farrell: If you can't laugh at yourself, let me do it

Joe had no false modesty; he believed fiercely in the innate beauty of the human form. Running free upon the plain like a magnificent if rather obese stallion, he gloried in the wind blowing freely through his various bodily orifices.

Dr Liam Farrell
Dr Liam Farrell

He would have felt quite at home in the fashionable nude beaches of the south of France, though the French might not have been so charmed. 'Voila, un baboon!' they would probably have cried, because Joe was a very hairy man, so hairy that when he was naked you had to look at him very closely to appreciate that he actually was naked.

But France's loss was Ireland's gain, and Joe chose instead to express his oneness with nature and his defiance of bourgeois conventions in the more homely and squalid environment of his native shore.

As soon as he hit the surgery he was disrobing, proudly displaying his Rubenesque body with its many winsome curves and mysterious folds.

It was one of those occasions when it would have been rude not to look; fortunately a brief inspection from a safe distance was all that was needed for an experienced doctor.

Experienced doctors also know how to have a good giggle when they get the chance; life is too short, carpe diem, you have to live in the now, make the most of every moment. 'If you can't laugh at your patients, what good are they?' said the eminent radio psychiatrist Frasier Crane.

'Okay Joe,' I said, suppressing a snigger, 'To paraphrase Anthony Trollope, you have delighted me for long enough. It is another rash, yet another rash, another one for your magnificent collection; maybe you should have a little exhibition, hang them on the wall, book an art gallery.

'Here's a thought, maybe wool, however organic and politically correct it is, is not the best choice of material for underwear, and while we're on the subject, you really should change your underwear more than once a year.'

'Hey, it's not funny,' he protested, zipping himself up.

'Where's your sense of humour, Joe?' I said, reluctant to give up one of the perks of the job. 'If you can't laugh at yourself, let me do it.'

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