So many things you can do on your 16th birthday; lose your virginity (legally), buy a lottery ticket, learn to ride a moped, enlist in Army basic training, get married...all in all, quite a busy day.
And now there's another to add to the list; work in an NHS swine flu call centre. Now my 16-year-old is a fairly responsible type but, leaving aside parental pride, is also the last person I'd want answering the phone if I rang up in a panic over complex medical symptoms.
Between you and me, I don't think three hours training, a GCSE in Biology and having seen a few episodes of 'House' is enough ('Well it's definitely not lupus, anyway.'). Still, I'm sure the Urchin would have enjoyed the bit where they all get to bring in games - just like the last day of term - while waiting for the phone to ring.
It's almost beyond belief, but that's not what led to the post title. No, that's inspired by a sidebar I caught when following a link to the call centre story at Ambush Predator (h/t to JuliaM, social commentator extraordinaire); the Mail online is currently displaying the attention-grabbing headline:
'Diet mad Cheeky Girls reveal how they turned yellow and grew fur'
To paraphrase Bill Bryson, whatever is the stage beyond the mind boggling is the stage I reached when I read that. I can only assume that all the Mail employees with any journalistic integrity (always assuming there are some) have gone to the seaside and left the shop in the hands of someone capable of turning anorexia-induced liver failure and hirsutism into a headline of jaw-dropping inanity.
The Frankenstein Lesson
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