Liam Farrell: Why I don't usually attend weddings

I don't usually attend weddings, as experience has taught me to say no, no way, not ever, now get out of my face before I hurt you.

There are multiple reasons. Weddings can be sweet and romantic, violent and dangerous; the good, the bad, the ugly - they're all there.

Most bitter and divisive family arguments have their genesis in our Sharon not being asked to be bridesmaid on account of her halitosis, and if it's a family argument, who better to call on as referee than the family doctor.

Also, our professional obligations endure even throughout these social occasions; once you become a doctor, everyone else in the world falls into the category of 'patient'.

Wherever there are sick people, there will always be doctors, with the unfortunate corollary that wherever there are doctors, there will always be sick people, and when the father of the bride has to be carted off to casualty at some stage during the celebrations (some conventions simply must be observed), we'll be expected to do the legwork.

Even the music carries its own peril. Next time you hear Abba's Dancing Queen, observe the effect it has on your body - your feet start tapping, your head nodding, your hips twitching, your hernia throbbing. These are involuntary movements, it's like an outside force is taking over your body.

Now consider the scenario at a wedding. The risk factors are obvious. Middle-aged men, overweight, unfit, more than a few pints of beer on board, hurled headlong into intense physical activity by the hypnotic beat and the mesmerising melody, by what Noel Coward described as the uncanny potency of cheap music.

And as the crescendo builds to that immortal, almost Shakespearean lyric: 'Feel the beat of the tambourine, oh yeah!' and the crowd punch the air in a pagan frenzy, fat men will be dropping dead all over the dancefloor. We are but sheep in a pen, waiting to be slaughtered by old Father Time, but in this case, old Father Time is getting a helping hand from Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid.

  • Dr Farrell is a GP from County Armagh. Follow him on Twitter @drlfarrell.

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