Remember a while back I was talking about the joys of turning 50? Remember the National Bowel Screening Program test kit the Government sent me for my birthday? You know, the one I kept ignoring because I couldn't bring myself to poke around in poo and then send it through the post? The one that had me terribly worried for all the Australia Post employees who would have to trundle bags of poo around the country on their postie bikes?
Can you believe the gov sent me a reminder letter? A "Dear Betty, to date we have not received your poo, please send ASAP" type missive. I couldn't believe it. The government of this country was really desperate for my little ol' poo. I was touched.
I carefully read through the material that came with the poo-kit, and learned that I was one of a select number of old folk invited to poo for Australia. It was, in fact, quite a special thing to receive a defecation invitation from the folk that run the nation. A Very Special Thing Indeed.
Somehow, though, as I carefully laid the special dissolving poo-catcher paper mat in the toilet bowl, then tried to perform under pressure (the poo-catcher dissolves after only 5 minutes of contact with the loo water, so you don't have a lot of time to recompose yourself afterwards), and then poked around in the - oh, it's all too awful - I didn't feel very special. In fact, I couldn't help but get this screamingly funny image of thousands of middle-aged Aussies in their PJs and fluffy slippers, bent bare-arsed over their dunnies and poking about with great seriousness in their business to collect samples for the government before the poo-catcher dissolved.
And (this is the best bit) you have to do it twice! One poo is not enough for the Government of Australia. Participation in the national bowel screening program is a two poo jobbie, so to speak. While you're waiting for your number two Number Two, your carefully labelled number one Number Two goes into THE FRIDGE (yes, you read that right), along with the raspberry jam, the limp bunch of celery that you'd forgotten was there and half a litre of soy milk.
The job(s) finally done, and carefully packaged, I felt horribly conspicuous, hobbling to the letterbox at the local shops with my little post-pack of poo, (with my name written on the OUTSIDE of the post-pack where anybody could see it!) and breathed a great sigh of relief as it plopped through the slot of the post-box. What an ordeal. Over to you, Australia Post. Ride like the wind, little postie bikes, to deliver your precious cargo!
So - any time you feel like sneering at those little wee postie-bikes, just remind yourself that they play a vital part in the screening of the nation's bowels, and be very very thankful that they do.