I decide, instead, to phone the Embarrassed Englishman’s Hotline, but they are too busy to take my call and I find myself 1,457, 694th in the queue. I hang up. Mainly because of the muzak.
I spend the next seven minutes deciding not to go to A and E, the nearest thing the NHS has to a trauma unit (or does the NHS have trauma units? And what is a trauma unit equal to? A mile? A ton? Four cubic kilometres? A week? I decide to stop asking myself flippant questions. After all, this is an emergency.)
I reject the idea that I should pretend to phone the Samaritans and fabricate a conversation along the lines of, ‘Is reading a poem some sort of euphemism, sir? What type of poem was it? How many did you read?’ because it would be crassly insensitive.
My wife walks in, ‘ ‘Sup?’ she asks (she doesn’t; she only ever speaks in properly constructed sentences, with subject, verb, predicate, and – interestingly – punctuation).
‘Today, I read a poem,’ I explain, ‘and now I need Trauma Counselling.’
‘Open speech marks Was the poem you read one of yours question mark close speech marks’ (Now you see why I abbreviated her previous question.)
‘Normally, I would say yes,’ I reply, ‘but this was one of those found poems you hear about.’
I point to the piece of paper on the table.
‘Open speech marks That apostrophe 's my To Do List full-stop. It apostrophe 's not a poem full-stop close speech marks.’
‘Tomayto/Tomarto,’ I say. ‘I read it as a poem, ergo it is a poem, ergo I need Trauma Counselling.’
‘Open speech marks ellipsis close speech marks’ she says.
‘What?’ I ask. Now it’s her turn to point.
I look again at my wife’s To Do List (and what’s a poem but a glorified list?). It is written on infinity paper, the only paper long enough to accommodate all of the things on a teacher’s To Do List/Poem (cry for help?).
‘Open speech marks I apostrophe 'm the one who needs Trauma Counselling full-stop close speech marks’ she says.
I read the first line of the List/Poem/Cry-for-Help and set about buying all of the ice-cream in a five-mile radius (Trauma Counselling/Comfort Eating, potayto/potarto, sort of thing).
Tomorrow I will hit the Off Licences.
We’ll take it from there.