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Monday, 7 November 2011

Things I wish I hadn't seen (1)

I mentioned earlier some of the things I wished I'd not said.  Here's a list of some of the things I wish I had never laid eyes on.

These things are DANGEROUS

Meat on the Bone 1.  
This incident happened when I was in Primary School in Glasgow.  While we were waiting for a bus, one of the boys stumbled while running along the side of his bus, tripped and fell with his arm out flung in front of the bus's rear wheels.  The bus for some reason then rolled neatly onto his arm, and right over it.  When he stood up, screaming his little head off, the interior anatomy of his arm was displayed to all of us.  I can still visualise it, and occasionally dream about it, but while I've never had any counselling and therapy (as would probably be mandatory these days) it did have a major effect on me.  I don't run alongside buses.  Ever.

Oops, won't do that again

Meat on the Bone 2.
While I was serving as a Lieutenant in the Army in Germany, one of my troops stuck his hand in to the workings of one of our large mobile generators, and promptly had 3 fingers of his right hand removed, and the remainder of his hand converted to a rather unappetising pulp. I got a commendation from my CO for my actions in collecting the severed fingers and rushing the poor idiot to hospital.  We didn't have any ice, so we dropped the fingers into a can of cold beer.  It worked, sort of, but the guy was a cartoonist.  Note the past tense. Shame really; he had been quite talented.  I did make a mental note to:
  1. Never trust the troops not to be idiots
  2. Never to put any portion of my anatomy inside a running engine
  3. Always keep an ice cold beer for emergencies.

It smarts

Meat on the Bone 3.
While I was working in a hospital Biochemistry lab, again in Glasgow, I was running a HMMA/VMA assay on some urine samples. In these days we didn't have any sophisticated enzyme or antibody based techniques, and had to use old-fashioned "wet" chemistry.  I had just carefully measured 10 ml of the patients urine (It's a test for neuroblastoma in very young children) and added it to a stoppered boiling tube, which contained salt, acid and an organic solvent.  After mixing, these tubes would be placed in an autoclave (a big pressure cooker) for about 2 hours, which would convert any HMMA to VMA, which is easier to test for directly through a scanning spectrophotometer (It always surprises me how much I can remember from over 30 years ago)

Anyway, the glass stoppers of these tubes had a tendency to jam shut and were quite difficult to open, so we put a small cotton thread inside the neck of the tube before we tightened the stopper onto it. I was following this procedure and tightening the stopper with a final twist when the whole top of the tube snapped, and leaving a long razor sharp, dagger-shaped fragment embedded in the left index finger. I had also opened up my finger so I could see the bones.  Please don't forget the urine, salt, acid and solvent (I think it was Benzene) which now resided in the gaping flesh of my wounded digit.

I screamed.

I still have the scar, the memory of the pain, the memory of seeing the bone.  I now wear thick leather work gloves when handling or manipulating glass.

There's no way that thing's goin....
The Nightmare of Birth 1.
Sitting in the delivery suite of the Queen Mother's Hospital in Yorkhill in Glasgow, holding my Beloved's hand as she went through a 36 hour labour.  Now I'm not a squeamish person, and I can handle most things with aplomb, but when the Senior Registrar decided that we'd better get the baby (my lovely daughter) out before she asphyxiated I began to feel the first stirrings of panic.  Then the nurse brought in the forceps.  DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN, how the f*ck are they going to get those things INSIDE my Beloved.
They proceeded to demonstrate and I fainted.
I came round just as they dragged the THING (that is now my lovely little daughter) out of my Beloved. I can just remember thinking that the THING on the end of the forceps couldn't possibly be anything to do with me, because it looked like Chairman Mao in a grossly miniaturised and mutated way, but covered in blood and white stuff.  I fainted again

I'm not a member of any practicing religion, but after that I prayed to Buddha that if I was ever reincarnated, it WOULD NOT be as a woman, or any female of any species (with the possible exception of Praying Mantisses Manti Mantisa Mantes or Black Widow Spiders)

The Borat Boy.

During our school sports day, one of my form class, a slightly eccentric young chap thought it would be fun to run the 500 metres dressed as Borat in his unitard.  This sight has remained with me every day. 
Therapy doesn't work.
Hypnotism doesn't work.
Whisky doesn't always work.
Application of Dettol via wire brush doesn't work.
I can only hope that advancing senility will dull the clarity of the horrible, gut-wrenching, absolutely repulsive vision. *Excuse me, retches into bucket*

The only deterrent is, I believe, initiating a world-wide ban on these unitards, or perhaps shooting any wearer on sight, unless of course, we develop some sort of bomb.


  1. This explains a lot TSB.......

  2. I hate to be pedantic (I prefer to call it "historical accuracy") but I must point out that your bus picture is not a Glasgow bus. It is a London Transport Routemaster in LT's very plain over-all red livery. And, to be fair to buses, the Routemaster wasn't/isn't - (I believe there are still some around, despite its 1950s heritage) dangerous, but very friendly, efficient and comfortable.
    Glasgow used to have possibly the most efficient and people-friendly public transport sytem in Europe. Based on an extensive tram system, it had a very attractive orange, green and cream livery. Modern and old-but-refurbished trams covered the city, providing cheap comfortable transport and a consistent profit to the ratepayers.
    Of course the fools closed the system in the 50s/60s. As a student of public transport it's one of my (many) regrets I never saw it. If there is a next world and I meet those fools I'll have a couple of words to say to them. They won't like either of them.
    Meanwhile, you might like a reminder here:


  3. So TSB do you respect us lovely ladies who have been through childbirth (and more than once!) ??? My first labour was very similar to your Beloved's and my Hubby was busy holding my hand and encouraging and my dear late Mother as at the business end and she nearly died when they got the forceps out! Her being a nurse too!I'm pleased I passed on the choice of having a mirror placed down the business end while all this was going on to see my daughter's birth. By then I just wanted her out! And soon she was all 8lb 9oz of her. 22 years on I would do it all again. Children are a gift. Sometimes a pain(even from the moment of giving birth) but truly a gift! PS - You soon forget the pain otherwise you would never ever have sex again!

  4. In labour for 36 hours?

    Did they forget to take her tights off?


  5. Never mind about the labour thing, it's good that Clive knows his buses.

  6. Alistair: Explains what?
    The headaches?
    The vertigo?
    The obsession with perfection in It's most absolute form?
    The love of whisky?
    The crime?
    The hunt?
    The chase?
    The flight to New Zealand?

    Anon-C:You are absolutely bloody correct again, because I couldn't spot a bus in the glasgow livery when I was searching, and the Routemaster is instanly identifiable as a "British" bus.
    I remember the trams,just. My Dad still has an old pre-decimalisation penny, bent where the last tram in Glasgow rolled over it to it's terminus on it's last trip.

    VG: I'll say it again, I'm so glad I'm a guy. Children are a gift, and remember, they're not just for Christmas.

    Alistair: So you should be, you unspeakable cad. How dare you poke fun at what is supposed to be one of life's miracles!

    Actually, I really wish they'd done it the old-fashioned way, where the father goes to the pub and let's the woman get on with it. This modern idea of "sahring" can be taken too far.

  7. Ah wan cam oot! Ken ye nae get these fecking taits oot the weh!

  8. I have duly noted the important beer tip.

  9. looby: Sorry old chap, I don't speak geordie. See

    Laoch of Chicago: Excellent, the importance of a plentiful supply of ice cold beer cannot be overemphasised

  10. He he... War drums :)


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