My overseas readers may not have heard of Big Ian, as he is known, though wherever you live in the world if you’ve ever sat with the window open you may well have heard him. He was a loud, fiery, hectoring preacher-cum-politician during Northern Ireland’s darkest days, before mellowing and joining with those who had been his bitterest enemies to help lead to peaceful government up there.
His new part-android status entitles him to membership of that most secret of societies, the CIA (Cardiologically Inept Association). He will be given our membership card, to carry with him at all times (it has this -> picture on it, of our founder). People think we carry them for medical reasons, but it’s actually a swipe card that gets us access into our exclusive pub, the Tainted Ticker, where we sit and make plans for the invention of longer-life batteries and the abolition of magnets.
He, like the rest of us, will be able to skip airport queues, being led through our own special door to be greeted with our equivalent of the secret handshake, the full-body pat-down. (I bet we’re exempt from the full body scanner too, it’s just as well, no-one wants to see me naked – I‘m not saying they shouldn’t , I’m just saying no-one does). He will learn the secret hand gesture by which we can all spot each other, in other words he will find, when talking to a pretty girl, that he will have raised one hand to his chest to cover where his pacemaker is, as if subconsciously afraid that’d she’ll be able to spot the bulge through his clothes (I’ll really have to think sentences like that through more carefully in my head before I write them down).
He will learn our secret anthem, Fergal Sharkey’s A Good Heart is Hard to Find (I hate that song and will now have it stuck in my head all day, I hope you all appreciate the sacrifices I go through to produce this stuff).
He will find membership exempts him from things he doesn’t want to do. I’ve been able to opt out of paintballing, golf and softball at various times just by saying “sorry, I have a pacemaker”. No-one ever questions you, I could tell someone I’m not allowed play dominos because I’ve a pacemaker and they’d just apologise profusely for having asked.
There is one possible problem. I know that a couple of you found this blog because you have pacemakers yourselves and were searching the internet for information. Well, he’s bound to google for information as well, unless he just shouts his questions directly at God.
What if he ends up here?
As founder of the Free Presbyterian Church he’s unlikely to be impressed. He won’t like the bulge joke above. He won’t find the Jesus picture at all amusing. He’ll frown upon my recent version of the Tin Commandments.
If he goes back seventeen posts to the one where God meets Eve for the first time his pacemaker might explode.
Otherwise, it might not be good for your heart.