One of life's little pleasures

I have simple tastes; I am always satisfied with the very best, as Oscar Wilde said, but as I grow older I have found the pleasures of life becoming more and more restricted.

In my time I have drunk the cup of sensuality to its bitterest and most depraved dregs; as Flaubert said (or Balzac, some French guy), 'No man has really lived till he has left a brothel in the small hours of the morning, wanting to throw himself in the river.'

I used to enjoy a few beers with my mates, but most of them are either dead or senile, so now all I get is a hangover and disturbed sleep due to regular night-time visits to the bathroom.

I used to be able to eat like a horse, but now a big meal makes me bloated, dyspeptic and obnoxious.

Sex is just too much of an effort, and even the post-coital smoke is no longer politically correct.

So goodbye to hedonism and decadence, I am left with very simple small pleasures, one of which is a little tea break in the middle of each surgery, accompanied by a large and sticky jam bun.

As it is impossible to eat a jam bun and still appear cool and sophisticated and elegant, I like to have my tea-break in the privacy of my surgery - a bit of quiet time, time to put my feet up on the desk and idly surf some porn on the net, maybe cut my toenails.

So when Joe popped his head in the door without knocking I felt outraged, penetrated, violated.

'Get the f*** out of here,' I tried to say, but as my mouth was crammed full of sticky jam bun, I was perhaps less than coherent , and Joe chose to interpret this as 'I'm delighted to see you, come in sit down, make yourself at home, how about a cup of tea, what?'

Joe is an old pro. Just as dogs can recognise people who are afraid of them, patients can also identify when we are momentarily more vulnerable than usual. Joe knows my guard is down, and he also knows I'll agree to anything just to get rid of him.

'I'm glad I caught you when you were doing nothing,' he said affably.

'I just need my sick note, and maybe a few antibiotics, I've an awful sore throat, and what about an x-ray, my leg's giving me gyp.'

I wordlessly pushed the requested documents towards him, jam dribbling down my chin.

'And don't come back,' I tried to say.

'Lovely to see you as well, doc,' he said, deliberately misunderstanding, and with a hint of menace in his voice, 'This is obviously a good time to call.'

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