Bob is contagious

My car is called ‘Shrek’. That is because when you look at its shadow when the sun is behind you the sticky-out wing mirrors and bulky body shell make it look like the animated character Shrek’s head. The observant among you will have noticed that while the car in the picture bears a strong resemblance to Shrek (my car not the animated character) there is a fundamental difference. Can you spot it for 100 points?

Sadly Shrek has been poorly. He caught the automotive version of Bob (see ‘Side efftects’ blog last week if you don’t understand that reference) and has been coughing and spluttering since. He had a service last week (after he had caught autoBob) and they did lots of lovely things to it to help Shrek run better. But they did not cure Shrek of autoBob. After the service, when he was running smoothly he sounded really happy that he had had a service. But then from time to time he coughed and spluttered again, sounding like a VW camper van rather than a well-tuned Renault.

Today the mechanics cured Shrek of autoBob. Apparently one or two of the ignition coils were failing. They replaced all of them (on the basis that if one or two were failing the others would go soon). I am hoping now that the car is happy and will not suffer any further complications from autoBob, or side effects from the treatment. (What is the automotive equivalent of Black Hairy Tongue? Suggestions welcome!).

Illness is a strange thing, robbing us of our normal ‘joie de vivre’, that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that we have when we feel healthy… and speaking French apparently. I think that there are times when we suffer from the spiritual equivalent of Bob or autoBob. Following Jesus becomes more of a struggle than a joy and we find that our spiritual get up and go has got up and gone.

I have found that when I become aware that this is what has happened to me God helps me to recover – usually through a combination of being refreshed by taking time and space to read the Bible and pray, listening to (and sometimes singing along with) inspiring music and receiving encouragement and blessing from the ministry of others. The key thing is to realise that we have caught GodBob. How are you feeling?

Car-related humour. Genuine statements written on insurance claim forms, sent to me by a friend in the industry:

“The car in front hit the pedestrian but he got up so I hit him again.”
“I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought.”

“A car drove away at speed catching our client who went up in the air and his head went through the windscreen and then rolled off at the traffic lights a good few feet away. The car then sped off and miraculously our client remained conscious and managed to cross the road.”

“I am responsible for the accident as I was miles away at the time.”

“I had one eye on a parked car, another on approaching lorries, and another on the woman behind”.

“I knew the dog was possessive about the car but I would not have asked her to drive it if I had thought there was any risk.”

“While proceeding through ‘Monkey Jungle’, the vehicle was enveloped by small fat brown grinning monkeys. Number three fat brown monkey (with buck teeth) proceeded to swing in an anticlockwise direction on the radio aerial. Repeated requests to desist were ignored. Approximately 2 minutes and 43 seconds later, small fat brown monkey disappeared in ‘Monkey Jungle’ clutching radio aerial.”

“I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in- law and headed over the embankment.”

“To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front I struck the pedestrian.”

“I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows.”

A customer collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were:
Q – What warning was given by you?
A – Horn
Q – What warning was given by the other party?
A – Moo


Side effects

I have now seen a physician who has taken my temperature, peered down my throat as I said ‘Aaaah’ and diagnosed a sore throat. She was not prepared to diagnose it as Man Flu (notice her gender, see yesterday) and did not give the ailment a name. I felt bereft, not being able to give what ails me a special name. A friend came the rescue though and suggested I call it ‘Bob’ (thanks John!).

The physician prescribed antibiotics to get rid of Bob and in a moment of boredom induced by being oppressed by Bob I read the accompanying leaflet. I was intrigued by the description of possible side effects. There were some which, if they occur, require immediate consultation with a Doctor. Then there was this section:

Other unwanted effects which are more likely to occur are:

* nausea, vomiting or stomach upset

* diarrhoea

* black hairy tongue.

If you notice any of the above side effects, or you notice any other unusual or unexpected side effects and think your tablets may be causing them, please inform…

HOLD ON! Go back a paragraph.

Black hairy tongue????!!!!!

Are they SERIOUS?

I was sufficiently alarmed by black hairy tongue that I looked it up online. It sounds like someone thought that nobody ever reads the leaflet that accompanies drugs so they would slip black hairy tongue in and have a laugh.

Yuck! It’s a real ailment! It looks so revolting that I have decided against putting a picture of it on my blog in case it frightens you away for good. If it’s a choice between vomiting and nausea, diarrhoea and black hairy tongue I would prefer either (or even both) of the first two. (Not that I would like either of them!). If I go into hiding you will know that I have succumbed to black hairy tongue. It sounds like a tongue that has gone feral – living wild and growing a black mane – like the difference between a domestic pig and a wild boar! Black hairy tongue even makes Bob seem less life-threatening.

In the New Testament Paul wrote about wild tongues (admittedly not black hairy ones) to several churches. He seems to be convinced that if we do not keep our tongues under control we can seriously undermine or destroy what God is doing. Not by blowing raspberries (or at least not just by doing that) but by gossip, slander, undermining others and all sorts of other destructive talk. If I am repulsed by black hairy tongue, how much do these other wild tongues repulse people from encountering God through his people?

Some tongue twisters: (to be spoken aloud as fast as you can and repeated – preferably in polite company!)

Seth at Sainsbury’s sells thick socks

Eleven benevolent elephants

Red lorry, yellow lorry

One smart fellow, he felt smart.
Two smart fellows, they felt smart.
Three smart fellows, they felt smart.
Four smart fellows, they felt smart.
Five smart fellows, they felt smart.
Six smart fellows, they felt smart.