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Diagnosis

By Theodore Dalrymple

Theodore Dalrymple practises in 'a very distant nook' - 'somewhat missing in subtle clinical amenities (other than myself, of course).'

"One day a guy got here to refer to me.
He was once super huge – what failed dieters name 'big-boned' – and extremely fats. He misplaced no time in telling me he used to be diabetic.
‘Do you smoke?’ I asked.

‘Like a chimney,’ he responded.

He used to be thoroughly unrepentant, so refreshingly varied from all these snivelling wheedlers with hangdog expressions who provide you with a protracted tale approximately how they approximately gave up yet then their budgerigar died. I received the image straight away.

‘And after all, you drink like a fish,’ I acknowledged.

‘Like a fish,’ he answered.

‘Dieting is out of the question?’ I endured, with mounting admiration.

‘Completely, i admire butter and cream, and meat with fats on it, and wealthy sauces.’

‘Well,’ I stated, ‘I’m yes you recognize the hazards larger than I, so I’m unlikely to lecture you. but when you invite me to dinner, I shall come.’

That used to be twelve years in the past. His spouse used to be, and is, a powerful cook.

I want i'll say the tale had a cheerful finishing, yet honesty compels me to narrate that lately he had center assaults that have laid him low. He can hardly ever breathe, and now he wishes cardiac surgery."

Axe-wielding maniacs, 'arthuritis' victims and apple crumble-cooking rapists... they are all the following, in addition to pullulating graphomaniacs, avaricious legal professionals, empire-building bureaucrats and the bad, huddled lots of the slum close to Dalrymple's health center in inner-city Britain.

This is the earliest - and funniest - selection of his celebrated 'If indicators Persist' items for The Spectator.
Also contains essays from the stick with up publication 'If indicators nonetheless
Persist.'

Praise for If indicators Persist:

'Compulsively Funny.' The Sunday Telegraph

'One of the definitive tracts for our time.' The day-by-day Telegraph

'Dalrymple's is the crystal voice of cause. What a clean voice this is!' Literary evaluation

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Example text

Evidently he conceived of psychoanalysis as a kind of suppository, taken once and for all. ‘I’m afraid not,’ I said, looking at my watch. ’ he asked. ’ How often have I heard such requests! Husbands who want to stop beating their wives, divorced women who want to stop remarrying violent layabouts, drunkards who want to be calm. They don’t really want to change, of course, any more than they believe I can change them. Weakness and vice are like symptoms: one soon grows attached to them. ‘I’m afraid I can’t make you better than you are,’ I said.

She asked. ‘Of course,’ I said. The following day, she called me. ’ One’s Enemy’s Enemy Is Not Always One’s Friend SYMPTOMS ARE LIKE bad husbands and wives: people will go to any length to be rid of them but, once gone, they miss them terribly. The result is that the symptoms return in new and worse forms, as do the rejected spouses. In human affairs, the general rule is once bitten, twice bitten. Young and inexperienced doctors think of symptoms as the enemy, to be vanquished without mercy, but older and wiser doctors know that one’s enemy’s enemy is often not one’s friend.

After my clinic I went to the ward where those who have tried to commit suicide, or at least have taken overdoses, are treated. A lady there had swallowed a bottle of pain-killers because her husband habitually gambled all their money away, leaving none with which to buy food for their three children or to pay the bills. If she tried to conceal money from him, he beat her. The overdose, however, was a turning point. She was going to divorce her husband and live happily ever after. ’ Amen to that.

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