There are times when I question the sanity of my children. Son number two announced last night that he had made an appointment to discuss taking part in a clinical trial. After the stunned silence over the Chinese takeaway (we hadn't moved on from the Bank Holiday), I managed to get more information from him.
He had been approached at a festival over the weekend by some doctors. I asked him how he knew they were doctors. Did they have stethoscopes casually hung around their bow-tie decorated necks? Were they wearing brown Cornish Pasty shoes? Did they know which end of a thermometer went where?
'No', explains son number two, 'but they were wearing jumpers over their shoulders with that knot at the front'.
So it would appear that this is all that is necessary for a doctor to gain some kudos. Why bother with the seven plus years of hard toil, when a Marks & Spencer V-neck slung across the shoulders will do just as well? Son number 2 also suggested that perhaps that's why he couldn't see the stethoscope as it was neatly hidden behind the aforementioned knot.
Anyway, if he goes ahead with this, he will form part of a trial for Salmonella Typhi. Having told me this, I completely got the wrong end of the stick, and started telling him how bad things could get in the trouser department if he had salmonella. I described unsuccessfully completed journeys to the loo, never making it in time before all hell broke loose, and massive weight loss (actually, I considered signing up myself at this point).
'Mum, you're getting it all wrong', says he. 'It's not salmonella, its typhoid'.
Oh goody, let's add a light rash and possible death to the side effects of diarrhoea and vomiting. I tried to talk him out of it, by threatening to lock him in the bathroom once the obvious side effects started to manifest themselves. When he asked me how he was going to eat if he was locked in the bathroom, I told him I would slide what I could under the door - he wasn't too impressed by the thought of two weeks of cheap ham and thinly sliced cucumber.
He then waffled on for about five minutes about the positives:
1. He would be immune against typhoid after the trial (if he survived)
2. He would be contributing to future medical breakthroughs, and if the trial was a success, he'd be able to take some pride in being part of it (if he survived)
He then let slip that the reward for completing the trial (we assumed they meant 'living' by that) he would receive the grand sum of £3000......
'So it's all about the money then?' declared the husband, his attention drawn away from his ducky pancakes.
'No, of course not. I just want to be part of something which will help people'.
'So would you do it for free?' I asked.
'Of course not', says he. 'I'm not stupid'.
That, my friends, is questionable...