Merc-y For The Sick

Merc-y For The Sick

I’m dying. Despite the medical establishment insisting that my ailments amount to nothing more than a ‘cold’, it is abundantly clear that what I am currently suffering from is actually a new strain of exotic Asian pig-flu that – once it has finished with me – will go on to wipe out the entire human race. Possibly cockroaches too.

Doubtless there will be owners of a second ‘X’ chromosome reading this and rolling their eyes at yet another example of over-dramatised man flu, but rest assured girls; there’s no-one more disappointed about this than me. As someone who has always prided himself on being a particularly robust example of humanity, being laid low by illness is an unsightly dent on the otherwise gleaming bodywork of my ego. Whenever a cough, sneeze or other minor virus is doing the rounds, I generally find it harder to catch than a greasy weasel, leaving me free to look with scorn on the weakness of mere mortals and revelling in my own superhuman status.

I attribute the sharp decline in my immune system to a regime of ‘healthier living’ that has embedded itself in the head of my good lady. This generally involves going running even when the prevailing weather conditions would kill a penguin and shifting our diet towards the pureed remnants of each week’s vegetable shopping. All well and good if you happen to be a rabbit which has lost its dentures, but from harsh experience I can testify that skimping in this manner can end badly.

Prior to leaving the UK, my driveway was occupied by a large, silver, Mercedes E320. A genuine E-bay bargain at £700, my Teutonic leviathan had been cosseted by a single previous owner who treated it to warm garages, regular servicing and the finest high-octane unleaded that money could buy.

Yet despite this, the bloody thing couldn’t even make it over a speed bump. Thanks to someone whose experience of engineering began and ended with a calculator trimming the manufacturing budget, the front suspension cups of the W210 E-Class were essentially egg cups welded onto the inner wing. This lack of beef, previously taken for granted in big autobahnstormers, meant that the slightest fissure in the under body sealant would allow water in and the subsequent oxidisation to destroy the whole assembly. The end result of this was a sudden, dramatic, underpants-filling failure.

In my case this happened in the centre of a busy village in Leicestershire, which meant a lot of people could laugh at my expense; once, that is, they’d got over just how close my spring had come to decreasing the population of planet Earth by one old lady. To its credit, the E320 managed to drive home and did only cost me a bottle of whisky in bribery for a tame welder to get it back on the road again, but that is beside the point. The W210 was an object lesson to the motoring world that you get out exactly what you put in and the grey suit brigade should not be allowed within a million miles of the design department. Unless it’s to sign off expenses.

I suspect it will not surprise you to learn that the current Mrs Grimley who is merrily overseeing my decline into W210ishness, is also a member of the Honourable Society of Bean Counters.  But unlike the Merc, I’m about to be offered a chance of recovery while she disappears off to partake in some high-powered training at a very expensive hotel.

No doubt I’ll be held to account for the expensive, two-day beer and meat fest that will ensue, but experience has taught me this is a price worth paying. Anything, absolutely anything, is better than being held to accountant.

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