You have waited a long time to discover just what forces propelled me into the glamorous world of Celebrity Parasitologists. Well here is the truth, and nothing but the truth. Let this be a lesson to you all to be very, very careful out there.....
To summarise for those who have lost the plot, skipped episodes or not found earlier posts:
I, Dr Joseph McCrumble, was invited by a TV production company to act as consultant on a reality jungle programme set in Papua New Guinea (Part I). My brief was to support the crew and cast on the dangers that lurk in the jungle, but upon arrival I was inadvertently pushed into the role of 'camp medic' despite having no medical qualifications (Part II ). The atmosphere was tense throughout (Part III), and a series of mishaps ensued, including the unfortunate incident where I was forced to remove a botfly larva from the one functioning eyeball of a former judo champion (Part IV - Part V), and, during the grand final challenge (Part VI ), the unfortunate loss of our garrulous producer to the largest estuarine crocodile I have ever seen (Part VII). We join the action now as I overcome my distaste of walking along tightropes suspended over crocodile-infested swamps, to rescue two minor celebrities frozen with fear.....
Part VIII - The end, and a new beginning.
I had no time to think about the consequences of my actions. There were two people in mortal danger on that tightrope. I knew that the estuarine crocodile would either wait for them to fatigue and fall into the swamp, or simply snap at them for fun. The last time I had walked along a tightrope had been at high school when Toby the school bully had made me walk along a washing line suspended in someone's garden for a laugh (he laughed, I cried). Now I had to face that same fear of falling again, only this time the penalty was not a kick in the balls but imminent death in the jaws of a voracious predator. Both painful experiences, but at least squashed testicles can be reconstituted.
I first calmed myself using a method I learnt from a traditional Scottish healer who uses Majoric Tantric principles to place emphasis on removing the malevolent influence of the Fear-Spirit. On applying his patent-pending techniques, within a few seconds my heart rate was normalised, and my adrenalin output was at a manageable level. I therefore strode towards the tightrope without fear, climbed up the steps and put on my blindfold (I always was a stickler for the rules of a game). Using nothing more than my toes and fingers, I edged along the tightrope whilst holding onto the safety rope that ran above my head. As I moved along, I shouted words of gentle encouragment to the two stricken celebrities that everything was going to be alright. I could hear both of them wimpering, calling for their mothers, asking God for help.
'God isn't here right now, so I've come instead' I said cheerfully as I bumped into the miniature car salesman. He wobbled but didn't fall. 'Follow me and I shall lead you to safety' I continued in a firm and authoritative tone. 'Stay here and you will die. Use one hand to hold onto my shirt. Come now.'
My gentle but firm words had no effect whatsoever. The two shaking celebrities couldn't even muster up a word of thanks that I had come to their rescue (I realised this was due to their morbid fear rather than anything personal). But I still had a job to do. My next vocalisation was therefore required to be more forceful. I quickly assembled a few sentences in my head using the imaginary character of an American staff sargeant at an army training camp.
'YOU *WILL* LISTEN TO WHAT I AM ABOUT TO SAY. AND I AM SAYING THAT YOU *WILL* GET THE FUCK OFF THIS TIGHTROPE. THERE IS A MOTHERFUCKING CROCODILE UNDERNEATH THIS MOTHERFUCKING ROPE THAT *WILL* EAT YOUR MOTHERFUCKING SORRY ASSES YOU IF YOU STAY HERE. NOW MOVE IT YOU MOTHERFUCKING MAGGOTS!!!!!!!!!!!'
First, I must say that ordinarily I do not swear in public, but these were exceptional circumstances and I feel, therefore, that my swearing for emphasis was justified. Second, I must say that I was quite impressed by the american inflections I put into the barking of this order, and the two celebrities were most certainly influenced as it seemed to snap them both our of their frozen reverie. The miniature car salesman grabbed hold of my waist with one arm, almost winding me in the process, and the former folk singer in turn grabbed hold of the miniature car salesman (rather clumsily around his neck I thought). Thus entwined, I started to edge us all back towards the shore, ten metres away. It was slow going, and more than once did both minor celebrities almost lose their grip. But ten minutes later we we were all ashore to the (frankly hysterical) clapping and cheering the of the crew. The crocodile, meanwhile had disappeared, presumably to finish its meal of our former producer (RIP).
To cut a long story short, the next few days were a grim period. A local ranger was called in to dispatch the crocodile so that the producers remains could be retrieved. But all they found in the swamp was her hipflask and a prosthetic left foot (no one had any idea). Presumably the rich and varied fauna of the swamp had made use of all her organic parts. The surviving members of the crew, and all the celebrities (including the now blinded former judo champion) had to give statements to CID officers flown out in haste. We were then embroiled in a lengthy investigation which culminated six months later in a prosecution against the production company on charges of corporate manslaughter, fraud, breach of contract, etc. I was called in as a witness for both the prosecution and the defence. Oddly, it was my testimony for the defence that was later accredited with sealing the conviction of 3 exectutives and four other employees, with jail terms ranging from 2 - 8 years. No-one in the production company was left without a stain on their character. Each of the celebrity vicitims sued for between 1 and 10 million pounds sterling, but none of them recieved any money due to the fact that the company was already on the verge of receivership during the production, and the personal fortunes of the company directors was instead carved up amongst long-term creditors.
So is this how I became a celebrity? Was I plucked from scientific obscurity by my involvement in a hideous misadventure that was never televised, that left one person dead and many other scarred for life, that saw people thrown into jail populated by murderers and thieves, that left me bewildered and confused for months afterwards?
er, not as such.
It was the last day of the trial. The judge had passed sentence and those of us not under police custody were allowed to leave the building. I was walking back to my hotel near Kings Cross, minding my own business, when suddenly I was sent flying backwards by someone, a woman, crashing into me face-on. I landed on my coccyx and was immediately laid out flat as the woman fell on top of me, pinning my torso to the ground. Opening my eyes, I realised that I was being straddled by a rather attractive and slim woman of about 25 years old that I recognised from the television and papers. She was a former model and love interest of a minor royal who was in constant demand by the paparazzi due to her flamboyant lifestyle.
'Hello' I said, not able to think of anything more due to the throbbing pain in my lower back.
'Fuck' she said 'Get off me. They're right behind' Her breath smelled of alcohol and vomit.
It was already too late. The paparazzi had seen it all happen and within seconds were upon us like sharks in a pictorial feeding frenzy. A thousand images were captured in just the few seconds it took the former model to ungainly extricate herself from my prone body. They continued to take pictures as she re-assembled her hair and clothing, and as she hailed a passing taxi. Then they turned their attention back to me and took another couple of hundred shots of me trying to get up off the floor. A few of them followed me back to the hotel, asking questions like' What's your name? or 'How did you two meet?' or 'Is she a good shag then mister?' Not being used to such attention, I attempted to give fair answers to their persistent questions, and could only return to my room sometime later. Interestingly, none of them asked about the trial, despite the fact that it had garnered a modicum of media attention.
The next day I was passing a newstand on my way to Regents Park. To my utter surprise I saw pictures of myself and the former model on the front pages of three red-top tabloids. Picking one up, I read that I was the secret lover of the aforementioned woman and was trying to have sex with her, al fresco, when we were surprised by eagle-eyed reporters. Stunned by this revelation, which clearly wasn't true, I rang the paper to complain. They asked for an interview. I agreed, wanting to put the record straight.
To cut a long story short, the salacious and untrue stories continued. I went back to the McCumbernauld institute with two dozen reporters on my tail. For three weeks they camped outside the institute, harassing anyone who came in or out. Then I started receiving phone calls from other media outlets. I first recieved requests for appearences on game shows, but then, joyfully, eventually for a bona-fide science programme! This last request I was happy to fulfill, and I was introduced onto their programme as their 'celebrity guest'. And they wanted to know about parasites! It was the one type of media appearance I was happy to fulfill. The sucess of that appearance led to more requests, and it wasn't long before I became a staple guest on science programmes on several small but significant cable and satellite channels. On each programme I would be introduced as 'Dr Joseph McCrumble, Celebrity Parasitologist', and the moniker has just kind of stuck.
So now you know. Let my tale be a warning to you all to conduct vigorous background checks on any company before signing a contract. My time in the jungle may seem like an adventure to some, but the reality of that reality show was something far from herioc. But, also, please don't have nightmares. Such cases are rare, and only happen to the unlucky few. It was the result of greed and corruption. Greed is bad. Don't let it affect you.