The long wait for hip surgeries is no laughing matter for Wyn Drabble. Photo/NZME
Throughout history, literature has highlighted some of our weaknesses and failures. Some works have even made changes.
In 1852, for example, Uncle Tom’s Cabin addresses the issues of slavery and human exploitation. He is credited
by many for changing people’s perception of slavery.
Frankenstein (1818) reconfigured many people’s views of life and death, God, humans and machines.
In 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four highlighted totalitarianism, technology and surveillance. It remains relevant and significant to this day. For example, how much data does Spotify collect on me to know if my music tastes so good?
Homer’s Iliad introduced the futility of war and the making of toys for humans. While it clearly failed to make any changes, it certainly remained relevant.
With all this in mind, I wrote a short play. Oh, I know my place; I’m not about to rank my work up there with these masters, but my little satirical work still has something very relevant to say about our society. Let me know what you think.
Hip Hip Ho…
A short piece by Wyn Drabble
Scene: A GP’s brightly lit rooms. Enter a lame man.
Man: Hello. I have the relevant papers and x-rays here so I would like to be referred for a hip replacement please.
Receptionist: You mean, like, soon?
Man: Yes, please.
Man: What’s funny?
Receptionist: Sorry, I shouldn’t have laughed, but you obviously have no idea how long it takes to get a hip replacement. Please sit down and read this helpful brochure, which will walk you through the process clearly, step by step.
1. You will eventually be placed on a waiting list. This is an extremely long waiting list with thousands of names, so please be patient. Your hip operation is important to us.
2. You will be given an approximate waiting time – usually around two years – but as it gets closer we are sorry but the date will have to be pushed back a bit due to various factors. But don’t forget that your hip is important to us.
3. While waiting, you may be required to undergo a pain and inconvenience examination. This is to confirm that you are correctly placed on the waiting list as your hip is still important to us. You may be asked to illustrate your ability to walk, for example.
4. Your GP can prescribe many painkillers to help you through this difficult time.
5. Try not to think about it too much.
6. Discretion is advised.
7. The product may contain traces of nuts.
8. Remember that your hip operation is always important to us.
Man: Thank you. I have read the brochure but I have a question. If I bide my time without complaining, do I get chocolate fish at the end?
Receptionist: Well, it’s never been done before, but I can put your name on a waiting list.
Two years later. Enter the same man, but now on a mobility scooter.
Man: Hello. My hip deteriorated, so I was hoping I could get up on the list.
Man: Well, could I at least take a test?
A few hours later.
GP: Man, the news isn’t all good. I did a thorough examination and many tests and came to the conclusion that it would now be best to keep the hip and replace the rest of you.
Man: And what is the waiting period for that?
GP: One to two years.
Man: And is there any chance of getting a chocolate fish?
Wyn Drabble is an English teacher, writer, musician and speaker.
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