You may think of me as an anachronism. An Edwardian era relic. An antediluvian moustachioed vagabond that somehow embodies the values of one hundred years ago. Yet you would be surprised, nay, shocked, nay stunned, to learn that I am something of a philanthropist. A caregiver, if you will. I have developed a deep yearning to help the less fortunate of our society. In recent years I have begun to visit those who rarely venture outside the stifling environs of their own home, due to agoraphobia, or crippling anxiety, or in today’s case, super morbid obesity.
I have been visiting my charge at his home near Watford in Hertfordshire for some years now. Since others and I have been taking a keen interest in his wellbeing his quality of life has improved immeasurably. He still has to sleep in a specially reinforced bed, adapted from a zoo’s operating table for megafauna such as the rhinoceros or the elephant, and his armchair remains a steel-reinforced affair that began life as a three-person sofa. It still hugs his enormous girth at the hips.
A local charity has paid for a cook to provide sustenance for this poor soul, whose calorific requirements run to ten thousand or more a day; sometimes he simply shouts “BIG MAC SOUP,” at which command the cook sends an assistant to the local McDonalds hamburger restaurant for six ‘Big Mac’ hamburgers with accompanying French fries and milkshakes, deposits them in a blender and brings them through to our lad, who devours it by simply tipping the muddy liquid into his mouth straight from the jug. Such gluttony is to be pitied, rather than mocked.
One myth about people of fifty stones or more is that they are somehow ‘jolly’. Spend ten minutes with this creature and you would soon be disavowed of that option, for he is the most ill tempered personage you will ever meet. Yet his most unfortunate character trait is what his psychiatrists are calling ‘Extreme Hubris’. This manifests itself by the uttering of foolishly proud, overconfident and arrogant statements, which at some point are proved completely and utterly wrong, bringing about not so much a comeuppance as a startling humiliation.
A local tentmaker has taken pity on this poor soul and been manufacturing bespoke items of clothing for him; a pair of jeans, with a waist of 90 inches. A pair of pyjamas adapted from a pair of large silk curtains. And a football kit, for in one of the great humanitarian acts of our age, a local club have given this fellow a job.
I knock on the door. His assistant answers. “Good afternoon Gent. He’s in the front room.” As usual.
What greets me is a vast rear end, his custom-made jeans barely covering half of it and his gluteal cleft is in full view. He is shouting at the television, which is playing the children’s animated drama Peppa Pig.
“You need a bit of cojones, Daddy Pig, a bit of nuts.” He takes a sip of his Big Mac Soup.
“And you, Peppa you want to fight with me, I’m gonna beat you all day.” He passes wind, loudly and moistly.
He changes the channel. It is ‘Bob the Builder’, a tale of a helpful tradesman and his pals.
“Bob, you need cojones, you’re never going to get that building built.” Again, he changes channels. It is Blue Peter.
“You’re never going to be able to make that thing out of cardboard. You need some cojones. Some nuts.”
“How long has he been like this?” I whisper.
“Since Sunday,” says his assistant. “Ever since he waddled back through the front door with his two walking sticks on Sunday evening he’s been like this.”
So there we have it, ladies and gentlemen.
The perils of hubris.