Once upon a time there was a crotchedy doctor, named Botticelli, who suffered from a severe case of grumpypants. His domestic servant, Adelaide, was weary of waking up to persistent demands of “more marmelade”, and “where is the newspaper..” and “not oatmeal again!!”, and- being in a rather irritable frame of mind- chose to overly starch his boxer shorts. (Boxer shorts were coming back into style, and the doctor had bought 20 pairs of them.) Adelaide had laid out the doctor’s clothing that morning- unaware that the phrase “Adelaid had laid” rhymed. She hummed softly to herself (her favourite hum was ‘Don’t worry- be happy’) and tried to avoid bumping into the pitbull at the end of the bed. The pitbull looked up balefully. For a brief moment Adelaide thought about adding prunes to the doctor’s breakfast tray, as he had complained the evening before about “irregularity” (it had nothing to do with his bowels….he was remarking about the conductor of the local chamber orchestra, and his inability to keep tempo…). In the end, she thought that the best plan of action would be to get out of the house before the doctor got dressed.
Dr Botticelli could not understand why his boxers were so uncomfortably stiff- so stiff that he could not sit down at all. He had to conduct all of his examinations while standing perfectly ram-rod straight. He could not even bend over to look into anyone’s ears. Everytime Dr Botticelli tried to bend one way or the other, his boxers would cut into his skin, or pinch his bottom so that he would jump up again with a start. “I must speak to the manufacturer of these shorts” he muttered angrily as he pulled on a rubber glove. The doctor was about to enter the examination room, when his receptionist poked her head into the hall. “I have the banana man on the telephone” she said respectfully (Dr Botticelli really loved being treated deferentially). “What does he want this time?” the doctor snapped, feeling very proud of himself for making her quiver. “Excuse me sir, I mean doctor sir” she stammered, “but he won’t stop singing. He keeps singing about brown bananas, green bananas, and spotted bananas that make the best banana bread. I’ve tried to cut him off, but he won’t stop. Did you know that bananas have seeds?” By this time the doctor’s boxer shorts were feeling very uncomfortable indeed. With a red face, he grabbed the phone and shouted “Now listen here…I don’t have enough time for this nonsense..besides, my boxer shorts are biting into my bottom and WHAT are you going to do about it???” The receptionist was looking at him very strangely. She could hear the banana man’s high falsetto, and it reminded her of the counter-tenor that she had listened to the previous Saturday night. “What do you mean ‘grumpypants’? Did you say you had a cure for my personal boxer problem? Did I hear you say that your grandfather had ‘grumpypants’?”- the doctor was speaking with a low voice, at a greatly reduced volume so as not to upset the patients in the waiting room. The receptionist had to strain to hear snippets of the ensuing conversation. Dr. Botticelli hung up the telephone and cancelled the appointments for the rest of the day.
The next morning, the doctor got up very early and tiptoed to the kitchen. He pulled out the stash of ripe bananas that he had bought after leaving the office the day before. He made a banana and strawberry smoothie and drank it. Then he made another smoothie and put it on the kitchen table with a note for Adalaide. He gave Adelaide a coupon for a facial at a European spa, followed by all the pizza she could eat. After Adalaide was out of the house, Dr Botticelli did his own laundry for the first time in his life. Somehow, it freed his inner child and brought joy back into his miserable existence. Adalaide got a raise, stopped humming “Don’t worry, be happy”, and began to sing Rossini opera- especially the aria “Non pui mesta” (but she did not do it very well, because she was a contralto).