Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Mysterious Case of the Blue Tongued Monster


Occasionally you come across quite bizarre things as a Chaplain Abroad. You read in the news papers about holiday makers who went off on their holiday of a life time to some far flung place. They spend their time on the beaches sunning themselves and tasting and experiencing the local delicacies - revelling in everything that the locale has to offer. When they come home, of course, they are riddled with parasites and flesh eating antelope who by some unmentionable path have managed to get themselves in their lower bowel.

Example of the lesser spotted flesh eating antelope, which often inhabits the lower bowel.
(please note that the existence of the lesser spotted bowel-dwelling flesh-eating antelope is still questioned by some authorities)
Now I am quite aware that I would have to be a pretty terrible Johnny Englander to parallel France to the rich savannahs grazed by those worrisome antelope. But I must say that some things are qiute different here. I still have no meaningful idea why towels are so expensive, and I do not understand why or how a French Doctor can give a boy a sick note so that he does not have to do the one sport that he hates, but can do the ones he likes just because of some strange illness that has to do with not having the right shoes or a bit of a twinge in the elbow or some such nonsense.


Now I seem to remember, but don't quote me on this, that you have to cut out all the extraneous stuff to see what's left. Actually I think that that was Sherlock Holmes who said that and not Ockham, but never mind. Yes, definitely Sherlock Holmes "when you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

And these thoughts come to you regularly when you are a chaplain and a teacher in a boys school. I am well aware of the tongue colouring effects of certain sweets. How I remember from my own youth the delights of black jacks. Just the thought of them turns my tongue black and licoricy.


So how is a man supposed to respond to a boys blue tongue? Answer me that. A blatant blue tongue. And in the middle of study. A blue tongue can only have come about by the eating of Bubble Gum Smaak or the like (highly sugared and colourant enriched sweety delights). The boys are not allowed to eat during study so there must have been illicit eating going on.

Ah the horrors of disobedience! The deception as he swears to me that he has not eaten anything!

But blue tongues are not normal in boys - they do not happen in nature. Even a French Doctor would find it hard to explain away that one (while giving out spurious medical notes). It's not as if they are lizards or anything. So how are we to explain a boy with a blue tongue who swears that he has not eaten sweets?

So there I was on my high horse, full of righteousness and fury, about to bring down condemnation on the poor sinner, to show him the errors of his ways and reveal to him the way from blue bonbons and their tell-tale tongue-turning tricks to the paths of honesty and not lying to Father ness.


And then I saw it... the leaking pen... the ink stained fingers... and I remembered the rather odd habit of certain boys sticking either end of a pen into their mouths.

Not lizards. Not secret sweet eaters. Not evil.

Just boys.
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