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SATURDAY’S CHILD: Tappiness is

Tony Deyal

SATURDAY’S CHILD: Tappiness is

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Last Wednesday I found out what a “sherpal imperative” is. I had taken my wife to the doctor (even though she can drive) and chose to wait for her, a task which involves being stared at curiously by ladies (also in waiting) and receptionists behind glass partitions.  
It is not a pleasant experience and so when my excuses run out, or my concern kicks in and I find myself in a doctor’s office while my wife is in the inner sanctum, I generally hasten to bury my head in a book or magazine.  
The first thing I do is sort through the pile of tattered magazines. I always feel that I need to be expeditious in my expeditions for suitable materials because there might be something readable in the pile, and if I don’t grab it quickly someone else will and I would end up only with biblical tracts.
Male doctors usually have very old copies of Time magazine and sales literature for drugs interspersed with yachting, boating, golfing and automobile magazines. Sometimes the doctor’s wife contributes a battered Elle or Mademoiselle, which looks forlorn among the Watchtower and other religious literature.  
Female doctors, on the other hand, have a surfeit of home, garden, beauty and fashion magazines, some less than two years old, and most of them featuring either high fashion or low bikinis.  
It is in one of these that I found out what I was doing at the doctor’s and, more important, what made me do it.  It was, in fact, a “sherpal imperative” or “the overwhelming desire – and resultant feelings of joy and desire – that drives a man to fulfil menial tasks for a woman when he is love struck” or (I added) “fears he would become struck by his love if he refuses”.
I also found out that perhaps I had spent too much “time in the barrel”. According to the interpretation of the term, if you don’t spend enough time in the barrel you tend to be immature and callow, and the cure is more time in the barrel.  
In my case, I believe that I have been in the barrel far too long and instead of ruminating on modern life and thinking how tweet it is, I read books, even old, musty ones in doctors’ offices instead of whipping out my Ipad or Kindle.  
Although I am not so old-fashioned as to advocate making kindling of Kindles, and I have to read tonnes of stuff off computer screens, I much prefer to go to bed with a real book in my hands than a machine.        
What I would love, though, is an affordable (meaning very cheap) car that uses its sensors to know when there is trouble ahead and brakes automatically.  Last Tuesday, the day before my sherpal imperative drove me to the doctor’s, I drove into the back of a car. In the old days of heavy metal cars, this would have been what Trinis call a “toosh”. A “toosh” is a slight accident – bumpers dinged but no damage to the vehicle itself.   
Nowadays, cars are like so much kindling. They are made mainly from plastic and are built to fold, like accordions, at the slightest touch. Even though this is a high-tech way of reducing the impact on the driver, it just transfers the pain to your pocket where you take a much bigger financial hit.  
It was very simple and quick. A van in front of me stopped suddenly at the edge of a piece of road that had been dug up to run a water main and had not been properly repaved. I hit the brake but ended up breaking my front bumper and radiator and will probably end up broke given the high cost of car parts and repairs.
It is estimated that if you try to build a car from parts bought from the dealership it would cost you between 20 and 40 times the cost of the factory-finished vehicle. If you have to use labour from the dealership to build it, your car will cost about a hundred times the factory cost.
Now I have to go through the whole hassle of finding alternative transport to get the kids to school, dealing with the insurance company, trying to get the body-repair man to fix my car urgently, while at the same time ensuring that I am at the peak of the sherpal imperative scale. The reason for trying to be as uxorious as I can possibly be is that the car is my wife’s and she is not pleased.  
In the meantime, even though I am normally a brave man with a heart of old oak, I realize that I should never have left the barrel.
• Tony Deyal was last seen using the word “tappy” which means that you drink tap water. The interpretation is that if you’re “tappy” and you know it, you have either a lack of pretence or a desire to be coddled.