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My most embarrassing moment

This is a bit of an odd post, because it’s not all by me. It’s a collaboration. You’ll see.

It’s possible people may find the subject matter distressing. It’s about someone undergoing radiotherapy. It may be you think it’s disrespectful to tell a funny story about this. I don’t feel it is. It illustrates my stupidity, but also the courage and determination and cheerfulness of the other person.

I am not poking fun at the person, or her condition. I’m going to tell you how good she was.

So on with the tale.

When I graduated I had a job as a porter in a hospital, and I was allocated as the main man for the X ray and radiotherapy departments. Radiotherapy had a lot of outpatients, all of whom were unfailingly cheery and polite, and very very brave.

I liked them all but I had a favourite. She was about my age, early twenties, very intelligent, very funny. I’ll not tell you what she was being treated for.

She was also very pretty and vivacious and we had a bit of a flirty thing going on. We both knew we were playing, but we enjoyed it.

One day she turned up, and instead of the auburn hair I was used to there was a white spiky arrangement. You can probably see what’s coming here…

‘Hey! Love the new hair. White blonde really suits you.’

She looked at me absolutely straight faced.

‘Glad you like it. I couldn’t decide between this and the redhead.’

She reached up and slowly lifted the front edge of her wig.

This was the moment I said a silent prayer. ‘Oh ground, please swallow me up.’

‘Oh shit, I’m so sorry. I didn’t.. I just….’

At this point her face cracked into a huge grin, then she started laughing. Laughing really hard.

So that was OK.

Now the other half of the collaboration. This is by the Julia Dean-Richards, the author of the wonderful blog A Place for Poetry


Julia was kind enough to run an eye over my story before I put it up on my post. As you’ll see, she has some insider knowledge here. BTW Julia, I hope the formatting doesn’t get lost. You know what WordPress is like.

My Wig. By Julia Dean-Richards (2009)

Big wig

Bigger than my hair wig;

Shiny, made of wiry stuff.

Like dolls hair, someone said, feeling.


Made to cover me up when I am bald.

Made to make me feel normal,

or to make others feel normal:

truth in antithesis.


“Makes you look fat!”

“Wow, you’d never know!”

“Is it or isn’t it?”

“Absolutely smashing!”

“They did well with the colours…”


Washed it, because

it smelled like roast chicken.

Soaked it in fabric conditioner:

wet and scraggy, like a dish cloth.


Handy in the rain.

Warm and slightly scratchy.

Strange to put a hat over a hat.


not to feel my boyfriend’s finger tips

when he holds my head.


Who is this in the mirror?

Deteriorating already.

Growing into me:

A stranger sitting in the corner.

Another imposition.

A reminder of something lost