Big Tits, ornithologically

“Big tits,” agreed my colleague, enunciating the words with a certain relish, as it’s not often we get a chance to say them with a clear conscience. “Massive tits. The biggest tits I’ve ever seen.”

We country doctors are close to nature, and we take our responsibilities seriously. There is a bigger picture, so I wrote to Sir David Attenborough with my solution to global warming: “Introduce polar bears to the Antarctic, there are millions of penguins for them to eat.”

But while I wait for the great man’s reply, local issues remain important, and we’ve kept a bird table behind the surgery for some years now. Birdseed, mealworms, peanuts; our menu is varied, but the favourite item is lard, and our generosity is now causing its own problems. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, goes the proverb; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give a bunch of greedy little feckers a free lunch every day, and they’ll stuff themselves until their tongues turn blue. We’ve enabled a handout culture, and reaped the whirlwind of gluttony and sloth.

As we watched, the biggest tit, engorged on saturated fat, flopped off the bird table, plopped on to the ground, and gave a few half-hearted flutters and squawks, before settling back with an apathetic shrug, as if to say: “What can I do, it’s not my fault, I hardly eat a thing, it’s a hormonal problem.”

Health promotion is of prime concern to the diligent clinician, so I picked it up, took it in, checked its lipids, and gave it a lecture on diet and exercise. Fly, I said, be brave, sing your song, leap from tree to tree.

“Wheep,” said the tit, unenthusiastically. Couldn’t you just give me a tablet or something, I could see it thinking.

I opened a window and set it free, to soar, I hoped, into the wide blue yonder. Unfortunately I was on the second floor, and the tit dropped like a stone, stunning a passing climate change denier, before waddling determinedly back towards the bird table.

If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change, I reckoned. Less fat and carbohydrate, more fibre.

And we’re getting a cat.

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