There is a phenomenon circulating on the web at the moment, known as ‘tagging’. Basically, this entails someone with a web presence (usually a blogger) reveals five little-known things about themselves on their site, and then ‘tags’ other individuals who may then do the same. Is this making sense? Anyway, I got tagged recently, and therefore feel duty bound to comply. So, thanks to Regina Wilshire at weightoftheevidence.blogspot.com, I am compelled to reveal these 5 facts about me that I don’t normally publicise.
1. I have a third nipple
Once, I went to a ‘James Bond’ party as Scaramanga. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Scaramanga is the ‘villain’ in The Man with the Golden Gun who is revealed in the film to have a third nipple. For the event, I spray-painted a toy-gun gold (natch) and wore a badge which read ‘Ask to See my Third Nipple’. Quite a lot of people obliged so my extra nipple got a lot of attention that particular evening.
2. I started smoking when I was 13
I took to smoking, for some reason, like a duck to water. By the age of 15 I was already addicted and smoking several cigarettes a day. I graduated to smoking 25-30 cigarettes a day while I was at medical school. I stopped smoking (God bless you, Allen Carr) on 23rd March 1987. I’ve done the maths, and that’s more than 200,000 cigarettes I’ve not smoked since I stopped.
3. I’m dyslexic
As a child I found reading a real chore. The only books I was interested in were those that were factual in nature. Even then, I would never think to read them from cover to cover. Dipping in and out was all I could manage. When at medical school, I found the only effective way to learn anything was to discuss medical matters with colleagues. I thought nothing of this until a few years ago while doing some research for an article on dyslexia I completed an on-line test and discovered I was a sufferer. Suddenly everything fell into place. To this day, I find it very difficult to read anything I personally have written, and tend not to spot mistakes due to my dyslexia. Some of you have been kind enough to point out my errors, for which I am truly grateful!
4. Once, a bird pooped in my mouth
In 1984 I was in Corfu, got drunk on tequila, and ended up sleeping on the beach. Unfortunately, I had bedded down under a tree festooned with birds. In the morning, I found I was splattered in avian poo, and one had made a direct hit on my open mouth. I consoled myself that at least it didn’t go down my trachea and kill me. What a way to go that would have been.
5. I’m lucky to be alive
Because of something known as ‘rhesus incompatibility’, my gestation was not an easy time for me and my mum. In short, her blood was breaking down my own. So severely affected was I by this that I required two transfusions while still in the womb. I was induced a month early and needed very intensive medical care for the first week of my life, including complete exchange of my blood more than once. If it hadn’t been for the care and expertise of the medical staff, it’s highly unlikely I would have made it. The irony of me spending some of my professional life running down conventional medicine despite the fact that I literally owe my life to it is not lost on me.
Dear Dr Briffa,
Your comment “I’m lucky to be alive” is very interesting. As a confirmed sceptic about much of modern medicine I would just like to say I too am hugely grateful for the benefits of modern resuscitation. Why can’t the same level of excellence be applied to chronic disease problems? It’s hard to belive that the nutritional garbage we read comes from the same profession that saved my wife’s life. Still, thank you to the medics for the 20 litres of Hartmann’s solution.
Dr John, I’m stunned and absolutely delighted to read these honest and very human facts. For a start, going by your picture in S&D, you don’t look old enough for those dates to be correct! I too owe alot to Allen Carr – I smoked from age 12 to 22 and astonished all my friends by quitting with no cravings, no mood swings and no need to stay away from the pub. I have discovered however that it’s not a book you can get people to read, no matter how much they say they want to give up. It made such a huge difference to my life, I can get quite boring trying to convince people to read it but they never bother. I suppose there’s a lesson in there.
That’s very kind of you, Tanya. I am 40, but the picture in S and D was taken when I was a mere 39!
I have a third nipple as well. I came across your site on searching for organic food related info. I found your site is really useful . Thanks for sharing the knowledge.