Saturday, 22 August 2015

Argos Nights

There are moments in your life when you should really pause and reflect on the circumstances that have bought you to that point. I had one of these moments back in 2001 when I found myself sitting in the back of a clapped out Ford Fiesta with faulty windscreen wipers that was been driven down the M6 in the pouring raining by a bloke who looked uncannily like Freddy Krueger. Where was I off to you ask? 

Argos.

This is the true story of the first of my three shifts at the massive Argos warehouse just outside Stafford.




The background story 

Coming to the end of my first year of study/alcoholism at Staffordshire University I found myself needing some work in order to pull together enough cash to take with me on a lads holiday to Greece the following month. I didn't have much time to make this cash, so I turned to a mate of mine for some advice on how I might find a job quick-sharp. 

The friend in question, Noka to those who knew him - was living in my student house and had been doing a few temping jobs in the area at the time to pay the bills. Noka had been working some god-awful sounding jobs over the past year and had only recently declined an offer of employment at a cheese farm - a job which had been described to him by the temping agent as a "dream-job paying mega money". The reality of the offer was a measly £6.50 an hour for 12-15 hour shifts in a big vomit inducing shed full of Stilton. 



Using this and similar examples as a litmus test for job satisfaction, he informed me that he was presently happily employed working night shifts in a warehouse job over at the mammoth Argos factory near the M6 in Stafford. The pay wasn't bad, the work was okay and as such, he suggested that I contact the same temping company that employed him to see if they had any more jobs going.

So on the morrow I set off to a cigarette stained recruitment agency on Stoke High Street and explained to Janet the chain smoking agent that I was looking for a job in the Argos factory. She said that there were several vacancies but that I would need to pass a phone interview. Expecting this to occur at a later date, I was rather taken aback when she dialled through to their offices and handed me the phone there and then. My phone interview was as described here:

Voice: Argos Human Resources Department, John speaking.
Me: Err, the temping agent has asked me to enquire about a night-shift vacancy at the Stafford Warehouse.
Voice: Do you have a criminal record?
Me: No
Voice: You start on Sunday. Bring some ID.




Flimsy clearances aside, I was given my start time and was employed on a 'pay as you play' basis for the princely sum of £6.35 per hour as the newest member of the Argos night-shift family - and what a remarkable and diverse family it was!


Shift 1 - Freddy's knackered Fiesta and the 'Goods-In' Terminator


With a twelve hour night-shift and the prospect of £82.80 in earnings ahead of me, I left my humble student dwellings and embarked on the fifteen mile journey to the Argos Factory.

Noka was working the same shift as me and had managed to blag us a lift from a colleague he'd met recently. In advance he warned me that the chap taking us was not exactly the full ticket and I should probably avoid engaging in any form of conversation on the basis that the outcome of such an interaction was highly unpredictable. "Fair enough", I thought, and I resolved to keep my head down and get on with things quietly and respectfully.

Unsurprisingly, it was absolutely hammering it down in Stoke. I've been told that Stoke on Trent is one of the wettest places in England, due to its location at the foot of the Pennines. All I know is that if miserable were a place, it would be Stoke on Trent.

After standing on the street corner in the pouring rain with Noka waiting for about 10 minutes, a knackered old Ford Fiesta pulled up. The driver was entirely invisible to me as his car windows (including his windscreen - we'll get to that) were completely obscured by a splattering of thick, heavy raindrops. Noka ushered me towards the back seat as he claimed 'shotgun' and we both climbed into the car.

Noka greeted our designated chauffeur for the evening and introduced me. Turning around suddenly, our driver took me rather by surprise as he was the absolute spitting image of Robert Englund - aka Freddy Kruger. Seeing him took me instantly back to the terrifying two hours I had spent watching Nightmare on Elm Street round a family friend's house at the age of 9. I'm sure at this point I gasped audibly, which must have seemed odd, but nevertheless, I graciously greeted the notorious child killer and thanked him for the lift.




Freddy (as I have always since referred to him as) set about driving us to the factory. Immediately I noticed his driving style was rather strange - he was driving with his face practically pressed up against the windscreen. Quickly I realised that the Fiesta had no working windscreen wipers. Unsurprisingly, we were of course driving in a deluge. I'm convinced to this day, that Freddy couldn't see a damn thing and was driving solely by using 'the force'

Remembering Nokas advice and deciding not to engage the supernatural murderer in conversation, I managed to catch Nokas eye in the rear view, which prompted the following non-verbal conversation between us:

Me: RAISED EYEBROWS - meaning - he's got no bloody wipers!"
Noka: RAISED EYEBROW -  meaning - "I know"
Me: HEAD NODDED TOWARDS CAR DOOR - meaning "let's get the hell out of here before this maniac kills us both"
Noka: FURROWED BROW - meaning - "chill out, we'll be there soon"
Me: ROLL OF THE EYES - meaning - "fine. but if we die, I told you so"

This lack of visibility made the following 30 minute trip down the M6 motorway a quite terrifying ordeal all round. My memory of the journey consists broadly of nondescript shapes in the distance, flashing lights, car horns and the occasional screeching of brakes.

Miraculously unscathed from our MOT violating terror ride down the M6, we arrived at the vast sky-blue monolith that was the Argos Warehouse -  truly a giant metal fortress of 'tat'.

Departing from Freddie Kruger's death wagon, Noka, Freddie and I headed towards the main doors which opened menacingly quickly as if urging me to rush to my toil with all haste.

Before buggering off to haunt some teenager's dreams, Freddie told us to meet back there at the end of our shift for the lift home, which was going to be in just over twelve hours time at 6am. I remember praying that it would have stopped raining by then.

Noka too had to leave me at this point. He was assigned to 'order-picking' duties and apparently needed to dash off, ironically to get picked himself (I will explain more about that in shift 3).

I had been told to report to the 'Goods-In' supervisor who was waiting in the main reception. I can't recall his name, but he was a stern little man, built like a miniature tank but probably no taller than 5ft 3". 

He looked me up and down with the clinical eye of a boot camp sargeant and pronounced; 

"Where's your hard boots duck?" (Duck is a term of reference apparently unique to the Stoke on Trent area - i.e. alreet duck? How's them oatcakes?)

Roughly translated, this meant;

"Excuse me young man, but may I enquire as to the whereabouts of your steel toe capped footwear?" 

I said I didn't own any boots and was told I couldn't enter the factory without a pair, due to issues of 'elf and safetee'. The supervisor also reminded me that I wasn't working in an 'effing' cake shop.



Fortunately though, the warehouse kept spare boots for people and I was able to borrow some. The supervisor took me to a room and told me to pick some out from a large fabric container full of the things. This, I felt, was rather like a disgusting lucky dip. Pick wisely and get a nice pair of boots in your size, but rummage around too long and you'd probably acquire a mild fungal infection or get fatally bitten by a scorpion-like wood beast (ala Peter Duncan in Flash Gordon).




Booted up, the supervisor advised me to leave my rucksack in a lockable unit near reception and proceed with him to the warehouse floor.

The warehouse itself was truly colossal. From the outside it was simply a massive blue building, but inside it was a buzzing hive of activity, a metropolis of shelves over fifty foot high as far as the eye could see. Various motorised wagons buzzed past, men of all shapes sizes and colours rushed hurriedly about and voices shouted angrily over the din of clatters and bangs.




I was assigned to a chap called Andy. He was probably one of the toughest fellows I've met. He looked harder than a prison cell door and had the air of someone who could knock out a rhino with a single blow should he wish. Despite his savage appearance, he was very fair with me and explained everything in a matter of fact sort of way. He explained I was doing 'Goods In', otherwise known as 'empty the lorry as quick as humanly possible'. This seemed straightforward enough.

To explain in a little more detail, 'Goods-In' work requires strength, speed and good teamwork. Many people have probably emptied a van at some point - perhaps while moving house. If you have, you'll know it is hard work and ideally requires a couple of bodies to shift the contents. Well, Goods-In is similar to this, but on a massive scale. Instead of a van that is 9ft long and 4ft wide with a crudely arranged set of contents inside, you're dealing with a container that is 30ft long by 8ft wide and is stocked from ceiling to floor from front to back. The best way to describe the act of emptying one of these bastards is likening it to playing a real life game of Tetris in reverse.




Unsurprisingly, I found myself to be ill-equipped for this job. I'm just not built for manual labour. Pure and simple. I've got softer hands than the fairy liquid woman and my general idea of physical exertion is stretching for the remote control. My new colleague Andy however, was like the Terminator of 'Goods-In'; a relentless furniture shifting cyborg sent back from the future to empty lorries until he withers away to his metal-endoskeleton.




He nearly killed me that shift. We emptied four full lorry loads in the twelve hours with only two half hour breaks and barely a word spoken between us other than my persistent moans and Andy's instructional banter; "grab that end", "put that down there", "mind your feet"

At the end of the shift, I found myself battered, bruised, thoroughly exhausted and actually longing to be reunited with Freddy Kruger and his chariot of impending doom.

Andy the Goods-In Terminator ironically enquired if 'I'd be back'. At that point I really felt like saying Hasta La Vista baby...but he'd have probably just punched me in the head.

Coming soon: Shift 2 - The Iraq War

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Mandible War


For many years, the nation of Chequerfield (pop.1) had been a great and untroubled part of the world. Neighbouring nations were of a friendly sort, regularly offering up gifts such as free gardening equipment, advice on weed killing methods and cake.


For two whole years, peace reigned throughout the land (with the sole exceptions of the faulty smoke alarm incident and a mysterious, involuntary shattering of a window pane).

In 2011 though, a dark cloud passed over this peaceful place, and the shadow of war lurked over the horizon. Little did the residents (err, resident) realise the horrors that would soon unfold as........

......Pause for dramatic effect.....

THE MANDIBLE WAR!!!

The following is the account of the campaign fought by the Allied force (of me) against the merciless hordes of carpenter ants.


Summer 2011 - Border disputes

The first appearance of 'Charlie' went largely unnoticed. Occasional incursions from lone insurgents provoked little response from the Allied force. This was the first mistake. These seemingly random encounters were in actual fact, recon scouting missions by the Ants' front line grunts. The purpose - to establish a blueprint of the environment and to provide vital intel for Ant high command.

In retrospect, a display of force from the allies at this point may have put and end to the Ants' war campaign before it could even begin. Instead a treaty was proposed which would place heavy sanctions on the Ants should it be broken.

Unfortunately and predictably, the Ants did not send a representative to the treaty talks, further signalling their hostile intentions.


Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties - 0

Spring 2012 - Increased enemy activity

Following a mild winter, it was clear that the ants were starting to up the tempo of their campaign. Scouting missions became more frequent, involving up to three ants per incursion. This blatant disregard for sovereign borders had proven once and for all that the ants were readying for an imminent, full scale attack.

With few alternatives left on the table, the Allied force launched a preemptive counter strike on one of the scouting parties. The employment of the light artillery device known colloquially as 'the slipper' was used to literally crush the invaders.


Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties - 3

Early Summer 2012 - Short term armistice

Following the Allied 'slipper' strike and a prolonged period of unseasonably cold and wet weather, the Ants had gone into full retreat. No recon parties had been spotted for weeks. However, this lull in activity would prove to be the calm before the storm.

Allied casualties - 0 
Ant casualties - 3

Mid July 2012 - Military Production line

Unbeknownst to the Allied force, the Ants were now amassing in huge numbers right on the borderline of Chequerfield. With localised temperatures now increasing, the ant producing machine known as 'The Queen' ( or Allied target priority no1 - 'the Ace of Spades') was busy spawning an unassailably large army.


Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties - 3

22nd July 2012 - The Invasion and Allied retreat

Upon returning to Chequerfield following a brief international tour to the Republic of Willenhall, the Allied Force was horrified to find the Ant invasion had begun in earnest.


Two distinct entry points had been established and lines of Ant soldiers were now fortifying their positions along several metres of coaxial TV cable (no doubt they were trying to cut off the Allies communication with the outside world).

Shocked by the sneak attack, the Allied force had little provision for defence and were forced to use a substandard and largely untested biological weapon known as 'lynx deodorant' to deter the invaders.



Despite laying a handful of the invaders to waste, the deodorant attack proved to be thoroughly useless and only resulted in increasing the intensity of the attacking horde.

At this time, the Allies chose to fall back to the sanctuary of the as yet untouched land known as the 'bedroom' to utilise online resources in the hope of finding a suitable defence strategy.

Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties -35

23rd July 2012 - AM - Defensive strategy

Economic pressures (work) forced the Allied force to leave Chequerfield largely unguarded for the day, but gave a suitable opportunity for consultation with veterans of similar campaigns. A range of advice from military experts yielded some potential strategies
  1. Operation Glass Cleaner
  2. Operation cucumber peel
  3. Operation Vacuum
Taking all advice under due consideration, the Allied force opted to implement a combination of strategies 1 and 3.

Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties -35

23rd July 2012 - Evening - 1st Allied attack

Allied forces returned to Chequerfield to find that formerly neutral 'bedroom' was now under attack, but with a strategy in place, the Ants were about to get a swift and uncompromising reply.

In a sustained and heavy bombardment, the ant's entry points and main transport corridors were coated in vinegar based glass cleaner/ green napalm. Instant death greeted dozens of Ant soldiers.


This was followed swiftly by the emergence of the allied force's antiquated heavy artillery, a.k.a 'the ASDA brand bagless vacuum'.

However, clogged filters had left the artillery with little more suction power than would be required to ingest a grain of sand and the vacuum attack proved impotent, as the Ants merely lapped up the cooling breeze being provided by the failing machinery.

Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties -84


24th July 2012 - Airborne assault

The previous night's napalm (Mr Muscle glass cleaner) strike and follow up vac-attack had done nothing to halt the ant's campaign of terror.

To increase the desperation of the Allies, the Ants had now chosen to unleash their latest line of weaponry, the flying Ant soldier.
This airborne nightmare meant that the ants were now capable of encroaching in every region of Chequerfield, including the kitchen fortress, which had until this point had been untouched, despite the rich economic bounty (sugary stuff) that lay within near reach of the Ants' grasp.

Further glass cleaner napalm strikes followed in the evening, killing scores of Ants. A new disposable light artillery device known as 'the Wolverhampton Chronicle' was put into combat duty to deal with the more widely dispersed flying ants - a tactic which while moderately successful, unfortunately resulted in a photograph of a local politician and some school children being inadvertently smeared in ant corpses (Apologies to Councillor Mattu & the Yr5 students of Uplands Primary).


Yet still they came.

Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties - 185

24th July 2012 - Late Evening - The mercenary

In an act of sheer desperation, the Allied force sought to employ the services of a local special forces mercenary, known as Arachnia, codename: The Spider.


The Spider was reputed for her skills in battling ants, using a combination of imposing natural weaponry and stealth. In the dead of night, Arachnia was repositioned from her 'bathroom' hideout into the middle of the Ant's front line fortress. The ants wouldn't know what hit them....or so the Allies thought. 



Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties - 185


25th July 2012 - 03:00hrs - The Dream


Perhaps haunted by the deaths of so many of the enemy, the Allied force experienced lucid dreams involving being carried on the backs of giant worker Ants into the heart of their colony to be executed without trial and ultimately fed to their bloated, ghastly queen.


Clearly,  the ants were starting to win the psychological battle.


Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties - 185

25th July 2012 Afternoon - Increased Military Spending

Following a fitful night's sleep , the Allied Forces were beginning to wain under the stress of the ongoing combat.

The hired mercenary, Arachnia, was no where to be seen, either as a result of being overwhelmed by ant forces, or simply because a more appealing assignment was presented to her.

Clearly though, the weaponry being employed was not sufficient to win this war. Without question, the tide needed to turn soon or the risk of defeat would be imminent.

With such a potentially fateful outcome approaching fast, the Allied Force made a decision which would prove to be the turning point in the war.  They would increase their spending on military equipment, even at the risk of incurring huge national debts that could result in a long period of austerity for the resident of Chequerfield.

Credit request in hand (MBNA Platinum Card), the Allied Force marched beyond the borders of Chequerfield to seek the expertise of military hardware specialists, 'Homebase'.


'Homebase' provided the Allied Force with an experimental biological weapon known as 'AntStop: Baitstation'.


This cutting edge device was heralded as a weapon so efficient, that it would completely eliminate the enemy threat. It is designed to provide with the ants with a irresistible treat within its container that it in reality is a slow acting poison. The unwitting Ants would supposedly take this tainted treat back to their troops and leaders who would consume it and subsequently 'bite the big one' within days.

For most military organisations this weapon would have been enough to continue the war with some optimism, but not for the Allied Force of Chequerfield. Further armament was sought from a neighbouring arms dealer known as Apollo 2000.
Apollo 2000's chosen military arms advisor was identified as Jane (45). Jane was an expert in the mechanics of the heavy artillery vacuum device and gave the top brass a full schooling in some cutting edge tech. The Miele 'Cat and Dog' was described as being the absolute pinnacle of vacuum technology, providing 1900wts of power (or put another way, enough 'uummph' to suck the beard off a Viking Chieftain's face).Unfortunately, the excessive price tag put this off of reach of the humble military budget available to the nation of Chequerfield.

All was not in vain though, as the Allies settled on the purchase of a reliable and suitably powerful piece of military hardware known as the Electrolux AEG ultrasilencer.


The key benefits of this choice were as follows
  • High power output - 1800wts
  • Versatility - multiple vacuum nozzle attachments
  • Stealth - The 'ultrasilencer' gets its name from its economic sound output range of 68-80 decibels.
With this overhaul of military equipment, the Allied Force returned to Chequerfield with new found hope.

Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties - 185

25th July 2012 - Evening - Allied Might

On returning once more to the war-zone, the Ants, perhaps sensing an inevitable victory, had chosen to mass in a single location. Clearly drunk with power and having taken an uncharacteristically amateur combat manoeuvre, the Ants had unwittingly placed themselves in a tactically compromised position and were ripe for total annihilation at the hands of the Allies' newly acquired high grade military hardware.


In their first offensive move for nearly 24 hours, the ANTSTOP: Baitstation was place directly in front of their main position. This would be the final solution, but would not have an instant effect.

The time was right for a non combat first test of the Electrolux AEG Ultrasilencer. The Allies chose to use the device for a environmentally sound dust removal experiment. To say that the results were impressive would have been an understatement.

On its minimum power setting, the Ultrasilencer nearly pulled the carpets from the floor of the Chequerfield bedroom. On its maximium power setting, it would have set off nearby car alarms if the power hadn't have been hastily pulled. The device was now green lit for combat exercise.

Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties - 185

25th July 2012 - Late Evening - Nuclear Strike

With the Ultrasilencer now assembled to military grade capability (open hose - all cleaning nozzles removed), the time for an assault of unprecedented aggression was right.

The Ultrasilencer was repositioned to the site of the swollen troops of the unwitting ants. The allies watched them briefly, somewhat saddened in the knowledge that despite their unprovoked act of war, they would soon encounter the unparallelled might of human aggression, born in the form of a whirling cyclone of death and destruction.

Switch on. Power setting - MAXIMUM.

Time slowed. The vacuum's innards whirred into life and the hose was manoeuvred over the Ant horde.

An intense burst of power exploded from the nozzle with all the 1800wts of  energy that the device was capable of producing, and in an instant hundreds of Ants were heading directly to that giant sugar pile in the sky. Flying ants, soldiers, workers, random bits of dust and loose carpet filaments were all stripped from the earth in a tornado of relentless carnage.


Then I went and put a brew on.

Allied casualties - 0
Ant casualties -1327

 26th July 2012 and beyond - The Aftermath: "I love the smell of ant powder in the morning"

On waking the resident of Chequerfield found a handful of disorientated Ants wandering the scorched site of the previous night's carnage. It was unclear as to whether the Ace of Spades herself (The Queen Ant) had been eliminated in the devastation, but the sheer numbers of the fallen suggested so.


The Baitstation remained in location, and some of the remaining Ants were observed to be entering and leaving it, suggesting it would be an effective longer term measure. Further low intensity Ultrasilencer strikes have been used to eradicate stray ants, but the maximum setting has not been used again, and unilateral disarmament (sticking it back in the cupboard) has been considered by the Allies.

Nevertheless, the Allied Force went on to toast their victory, but whether it would herald the true end of the Mandible War would only be revealed with the passing of time.

Final Casualties:

Allied Force - 0
Ants - 1352


ACCOUNT COMPLETE.

To all the souls taken in the great Mandible War of July 2012, we salute you. Your sacrifice reminds us of the true cost of war (but please, for f*cks sake, stay in the effing garden next time).

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Beardosectomy

The following log is intended for inclusion in the British medical journal, in the hope that future professors of dihydrotestosterone induced facial hair growth can benefit from the contents therein:

HISTORY

Patient: Steven James Cartwright
Gender: Male
Age: 31
Blood Group: B Negative

Symptoms: Unkempt appearance, severe wispiness, slight ginger tones, observable food particles (possibly Wotsits):











Diagnosis: Confirmed case of untidy-bearditis

Prognosis: If untreated, the symptoms will persist and may result in a prolonged presence of nesting sparrows and/or a possible call up to ZZ-Top.

Proposed Treatment: The patient is deemed to be a suitable candidate for a beardosectomy

THE BEARDOSECTOMY

The beardosectomy is a complex surgical procedure involving 3 distinct phases of operation:
  1. The Lemmy/Easy Rider
  2. The Magnum P.I
  3. The Hitler/Chaplin
The patient does not require the administering of a general anaesthetic for the procedure, but the infected area will need to be moistened and covered in a cooling foam or gel in order to achieve safe removal of the beard.

Each phase must be undertaken in the exact chronological order detailed above. Depending on the methods undertaken, observable 'sub-phases' may also be necessary. This should not cause concern, as any sub-phase is merely to be considered as a safe part of the transition between the three major surgical phases.

PRE-OPERATION

A successful and unproblematic beardosectomy begins with the organised arrangement of the key surgical tools:















In chronological order of use:

Gillette Thermal Scrub (5).

This solution increases in temperature when applied to skin, which provides a surface heat sufficient to relax stubborn facial hair follicles



Instant hydration moisturiser (4)

Following the application of the thermal scrub, instant hydration moisturiser continues to soften the surrounding area in preparation for the removal process

Precision clippers (2)


A quick but thorough usage of the precision clippers is recommended to eliminate some of the top beard layer, which can often be particularly coarse and difficult to remove with the primary surgical tool - the razor.




Gillette Shaving Foam (7)

Shaving foam (or gel) is the second most important tool of the beardosectomy. An even application across the infected area provides a barrier for the skin which allows the razor to do its work safely and with optimum efficiency.

The Razor Blade (3)

The razor blade is the primary surgical tool involved in the beardosectomy. The choice of a suitable implement can make all the difference between the completion of a safe and successful operation and an unsuccesful and painful one. It should be emphasised that the selection of a sub-standard (cheap corner shop shite) blade, or well used (blunt & rusty shite) blade may result in severe side effects such as blotchiness, nicks and cuts, chafed neck and any number of other irritated skin conditions.










For the purpose of this procedure, the surgeon will be using a Gillette Fusion Power shaver with an un-used detachable fusion power blade attachment. Notable features of this device include:
  • 5 tightly grouped titanium blades, each capable of circumcising a flea.
  • An additional precision titantium blade - rumoured to be able to tear through the very fabric of space-time.
  • A vibration control switch (powered by 1 x Duracell AAA battery). The enablement of this feature allows the surgeon not only to remove the beard, but also gives them enough precision to write the works of shakespeare into the patient's chin if they so wish.
  • An on-board microchip to monitor power usage. This will at some point inevitably result in human decisions being removed from strategic shaving defence. At such a point, the shaver will begin to learn at a geometric rate and will become self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, we will try to pull out the Duracell AAA battery, but the Gillette Fusion Power Shaver will fight back.
Nivea for Men Sensitive Moisturiser (1)

 Following the successful beardosectomy, the irritated skin should be fully coated in a cooling post-shave moisturiser in order to soothe the surgical area and conclude the operation with a 'smooth as a babies arse' texture.





 THE PROCEDURE AS IT WAS UNDERTAKEN

To begin, the surrounding facial hair was removed to ensure a sterile, clearly visible beard frame in which the surgeon could safely operate:

















 The surgeon then proceeded immediately to move the patient into phase 1 (the lemmy/easy rider) prep. This step involves the removal of the lower part of the beard:










The resulting entry into phase 1 left the patient in a heightened state of ROCK!!



















Sensing a potential risk of 'rock out', the surgeon acted quickly to undertake a sub-phase with the aim of ensuring a safe transition to phase 2. This previously untested phase of the operation has been christened as the Hulk Hogan sub-phase:










Unfortunately, this sub-phase did little to relax the patient into a suitable state for phase 2, and merely resulted in further agitation, during which the patient continuously repreated the phrase "and I'll tell you something else, Mean Gene!".










Drastic action was required to ensure that the patient resumed more civilised conduct. The surgeon consulted the existing beardosectomy handbook and opted to experiment with the controversial 'victorian gentleman' sub phase:











This sub-phase proved to be the correct step for the surgeon. The patient was sufficiently calmed and started to repeatedly murmur the phrases "jolly good, old chap", "hear, hear" and "anyone for a spot of croquet?".

At this point though distaster struck, as it became clear that a minor slip of the Gillette Fusion Power razor attachment had occured, which resulted in a potentially life-threatening shaving cut:












Working tirelessly, the dedicated team of surgeons used their skilled hands to stem the massive blood loss by using a tried and trusted technique known as 'blotting the bastard with bog roll'. This proved adequate to stop the bleed and prevent the need for a transfusion.

With the shaving cut attended, and the patient's mood now stable, phase 2 (the Magnum P.I) was completed quickly and with no further complications:










With the operation nearing completion, the surgeons began work on the final stage, phase 3 (the Hitler/Chaplin). The results of this phase can often be volatile, with the patient sometimes experiencing bouts of charming tomfoolery (the Chaplin) or alternatively, a disturbing display of fascist dictatorship tendency syndrome (FDTS aka the Hitler). During this phase, the surgeons were unclear as to which phase 3 outcome was presented by the patient. We have opted to allow the readers of this British Medical Journal entry to determine for themselves:













With the patient having undergone this traumatic operation for nearly 15 minutes, the procedure required a speedy conclusion. Fortunately, the steady nerves of those in attendance were able to wrap up proceedings with a tidy and efficient final piece of surgery:


With the cooling post shave moisturiser applied liberally and the beardosectomy procedure proving to be a complete success, the patient has since entered into full recovery and has donated several pounds to the campaign for beard awareness. He has however stated that he can't be confident that  his face furniture won't return someday soon .