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A Man of Few Words - by Swan Morrison

The Medical Model of Nagging

The conversation of we men in the public bar has changed little over the years. Topics range every subject from cars to beer to football to women. Discourse on one subject, however, has changed dramatically due to more enlightened attitudes.

There was a time when you would hear endless angry lamentations on the subject of ‘er indoors’ nagging. Those who spoke thus, look back upon it with some guilt in the light of modern research into ‘Verbal Irrationality Syndrome’, or VIS. Neuroscientists have proven that VIS is an illness which can be genetically predetermined or caused due to acquired brain injury from, for example, reading romantic fiction.

The tragedy of this disorder became all too real to me when my poor, dear wife began to display symptoms. On the first occasion, I was quietly repairing the car gearbox on the coffee table in the lounge. Whilst I couldn’t account for her shouting about oil on the carpet and grease on the furniture, I thought little more of it. I began to realise that something was seriously wrong, however, on the last day of the football season, with United’s relegation hanging on their final game. I was obviously distracted with worry over the possibility of the Team dropping to the fourth division of the ‘All Hampshire Pub League’. Far from supporting me, Angela simply nagged on and on about me having, I think understandably, overlooked that it was her birthday.

I went to see her GP, Doctor Ladd, on the very next day. I knew him well as he too was a lifelong United supporter. He was quickly able to diagnose VIS from my description of events. He explained that the condition was treatable with medication. However, a symptom of the illness was that sufferers did not recognise that they were unwell and so would not accept treatment. We resolved that desperate circumstances required extreme measures, and he gave me some tablets that I could secretly add to her food.

There was a marked improvement within days. As the doctor had warned, however, there were side effects that arose from the fact that the medication had some of the properties of male hormones. Dr Ladd had explained that treatment had developed from the observation that nagging was ‘sex-specific’ to women. Managing the illness thus required women to develop a greater degree of male characteristics.

Angela’s new found interest in cars and football was certainly refreshing. I shortly became concerned, however, about what seemed to me to be her rather unhealthy interest in that attractive young woman who lives over the road. My worst fears were confirmed when she left me to move in with this neighbour. After a while, however, I began to appreciate the advantages of being able to leave car parts around the house together with my collection of artistic magazines. The pizza and curry delivery boys are always polite and prompt with my dinner, and I have now employed a cleaner.

All in all, I think things have worked out rather well.