Thursday, 24 December 2009

Woodpeckers And Painkillers

It’s Christmas Eve and I’ve always associated woodpeckers with hangovers, or more precisely, headaches. Back in the 1970’s there was an advert on TV for Woodpecker cider. I have no recollection of the visuals, but the words accompanying jingle went something like: “when the woodpecker knocks be sure to let him in, because the woodpecker knows: cider goes with everything”.

Thick heads. Thick trees. What’s the point of ascending a thick tree with a tripod? What are the chances, once you’re up there, of finding three branches spread in a formation that’d accommodate the spread of the tripod’s legs?

And say you do find the branches agreeable - get your tripod up; imagine the struggle it'd be to take a photograph using an old wooden glass-plate view camera? You (at high-altitude) have to put your head under a dark-cloth, plunge yourself into total darkness, and to top it all, as soon as you try to focus; the ground glass screen turns everything (your whole world) upside-down!

When everything's topsy-turvy, when I can’t see the trees for wood and the hairdryer’s no comfort anymore: I put on my fireman’s hat (stolen), don a suit and tie (a tie decorated with woodpeckers), load the suit-pockets with painkillers, go out and climb a tree - a tree inhabited by a woodpecker. I climb up high to his hole (open door), and as there’s nothing to knock, I pour: pour paracetamols into my mouth. If at this point I were to fall, it’d look like suicide, so I steady myself and spit – spit the tablets into the woodpecker’s hole; flood the home – overdose the house – medicate the menagerie. And if anyone happens on by and looks up to see what I’m at - I chant:

Painkillers for the woodpecker,
For the splitting headaches he must get.
I’m neither, fireman or vertical-golfer,
No need to run for the vet.

As I normally have a mouthful of tablets, these lines often go misunderstood. I’ve forgotten to mention, when I look down on these nosy-parkers, I’m wearing an eye-mask improvised out of paracetamol packaging – made from the foil and plastic wrapping you pop the pills out of. I can see through the holes of the popped-out pills. This DIY mask helps me focus my mouth-to-hole (orifice-to-orifice) aim – like a sniper.

If you can’t call on a woodpecker this Christmas, why not try crumbling a few paracetamols on the bird-table? make his headachy Christmas, a white Christmas: You’ve got a hangover? Think of the woodpecker!

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