Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Ground Will Make Your Pancreas Ache

The pancreas was discovered by Herophilus (335-280 BC), a Greek surgeon but he did not bother to call it anything. A few hundred years later, Ruphos, another Greek anatomist, gave the pancreas its name. 'Pancreas' comes from the Greek pan, "all", and kreas, "flesh" which sounds as disgusting as it looks, like something bad from Dr Who.

Because I think it is Dexter bashing at the front door, I open it. Aunt Caroline (102) is sort of floating on the doorstep and The Unspeakable Cousins are pulling up Mum's daffodils. I think I scream but I cannot be sure because I am suddenly enveloped in purple dress and perfume and bosom.
I can just about hear my cousin Jaspar (9) say, 'I'm hungry!' and then everything starts to go black.
When I come round, I am lying in the garden and my other cousin Skye (4) is looking down on me. She has her bad fairy outfit on and a sparkly tiara jammed into her fluffy white hair. She pokes me with a silver wand.
'Get up,' she orders, 'the ground will make your pancreas ache.'
I cannot think of anything to say to this, apart from, "what is a pancreas?" but I do not say this because she is just a baby-child and should not know what a pancreas is before me and anyway she has gone into the house. I think very carefully about running away but I think for too long. Dad appears in the doorway and hisses. 'What are you doing lying about? Your cousins are here!' As though I was just dozing on the pancreas-ache-making ground and must have missed them. He hauls me to my feet and looks about him as though more aunts and cousins are going to spring out of bushes at any second. He is nervous - he'll start blaming me for stuff any moment. I can see Dexter weaving down the road on his new new bike. I want to warn him about the danger but all my trainee spymaker training is lost in the pain of Dad's Vulcan death grip.
His beard bristles. 'Why didn't you warn me they were coming? I'm in the middle of some teeth sorting and I've still got to mount Baden-Powell's molar...she'll want me to look at their teeth again...'
'I did not know they were coming until they were here,' I explain but it is no good.
He is ranting now about children and teeth and I just hope that Dexter has the sense to run away. At the doorway to hell, I hear the thumps and screeches that tell me Jaspar has found our cat, Serbena; daffodils lie strewn along the hallway; Aunt Caroline's laugh is billowing through the house.
Dad's grip tightens. 'Why did you pick all those daffodils, Wilfred?'
'We'll stay until the moon rises high in the sky, darling!' I hear Aunt Caroline say in her sing-song mystical sort of voice.
Dad's face is purple.
'Hello - what's up?' Dexter appears with his Bad Boyz cycle helmet on. It makes him look like a fat alien.
'And why is he here as well?' Dad shrieks. He points his finger at me. 'I blame you for this, Wilfred.' He stomps off into the kitchen.
Dexter shrugs. 'Problem?' he asks.
'You could say that,' I reply.
I think I can feel my pancreas beginning to ache.


suzanabrams said...

When you get called Wilfred by your dad, does that mean you're in the doghouse, Wilf?
Blame it all on the nasty fairy wand then!
btw, my reaction on anything to do with pancreas is YIKES!!

Wilf said...

He always calls me 'Wilfred', Susan. 'That is your name,' he says. Not for many more years if I can help it.

Richard said...

Wilf, you'll like this. The Greek word 'kreas' means 'meat' as much as it means 'flesh'. So you could colloquially translate it as 'big lump of meat'. :)

Atyllah said...

Hmm, your dad's response to aunts and cousins sounds just like how my dad used to respond to the same. I also used to end up with an aching pancreatis. Really, family are so not worth the trouble!

Wilf said...

I do like that, Richard. Mum would not - she is a vegetarian.

Wilf said...

Utterly and totally, Atyllah.

But I suppose you might miss the odd aunt when they're gone??

Jude said...

Ah... families- can't live with 'em , can't live without 'em. As for the pancreas, just teh sound of it is interesting. Why don't you see if you can find a word (or several ) to rhyme with the word pancreas? The only remote rhyme I can think of is not for such innocent ears/eyes as yours Wilf.

Wilf said...

Finding a rhyme, Jude! Blimus, I do not want to do anymore literacy hour than I do already because that is far too much. I would really like to know what the rude rhyme is though.

Richard said...


I have taken up your challenge for a rhyme for pancreas and with a little help from a friend, here's what I've come up with:

Oh my darling, dearest pancreas,
If thou wert a lovely lass,
I'd take you out and kiss you as
I took you to a Cath'lic Mass!

Jude said...

Ah Richard well rhymed- you know how to keep it clean.

I on the other have created a much ruder and possibly offensive rhyme which is why I am refraining from posting it for fear I will cause much upset, commotion and possibly a rebellion!

(Sorry Wilf. Ask your Dad about the benefits of keeping shtum)