The Thackery T Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases
(Macmillan, 298 pages, hardback, £12.99, published 2004.)
At last! With the advent of this mass-marketed
of the Lambshead Pocket Guide, Dr Lambshead's wisdom and candid surgical
diagrams are available to qualified physician and ignorant lay-person
For too long this invaluable almanac has languished in the backwaters
of medical journalism, ignored by the masses and shunned by the medical
establishment. (How many poor souls have fallen victim to Jumping Monkworm
or Espectare Necrosis, thanks to the ill-informed attentions of so-called
"doctors"?) Now Drs VanderMeer and Roberts have compiled a volume that
incorporates a selection of historical material as well as the very
latest research from Dr Lambshead's illustrious colleagues.
There are two types of ailment that may be expected in any such collection:
diseases that afflict the readers and/or writers of such collections,
and venereal diseases of the most startling kind. These are of course
present, although fewer in number than one might expect, and are perhaps
best left for the reader to discover. Of greater interest to this reviewer
is the wealth of new ground broken by the present Guide's contributors,
both well-known and recently qualified. I particularly feel that congratulations
are due to Dr Rhys Hughes for his discovery of Ebercitas, the contagious
infatuation with an Argentinian phonetics teacher, to whom this review
is dedicated; to Dr Jeff Topham for his work on Logopetria; to Dr RM
Berry for her timely paper on Wife Blindness; to Dr Alan Moore for his
research into Fuseli's Disease; and to Dr Eliot Fintushel for his elaboration
of the pernicious parasitic condition known commonly as "the skin".
I suppose that sceptics--there are always one or two--will remark that
Dr Lambshead himself has never contributed to the principal medical
journals (Intravene, Locum et al), and will suggest that the august
gentleman has merely been invented to lend gravitas to the present endeavour.
Let us not dignify these doubters with an answer! Let us deny them the
oxygen of publicity, and instead administer a suppository of scorn and
20cc of stern reproof! Esteemed fellows, we are all sick, and Dr Lambshead
has the cure.