Though largely beneficient, Mother Nature is on occasion less than kind to her progeny. The first example of her sometime wilful bad intent that enters my brain is haemorrhoids (the thought of haemorrhoids entering the brain is, I confess, somewhat surreal, and not a little gruesome). Other examples are not hard to find. Despite her few parental failings, however, I submit that we all ought to club together and buy Mother Nature a big bunch of flowers. My reason is this: she has chosen not to bestow upon the human race the phenomenon of itchy internal organs.

Itchy internal organs! The very thought chills me to the core! What terror, what torment would be involved in having, say, an itchy spleen! Even as I write about it, I feel that I should stop; I am afflicted by a superstitious thought that my merely mentioning itchy spleens will summon that phenomenon from its slumber in the realm of the merely possible, and drag it into the harsh, glaring light of the actual. How mind-achingly unbearable that would be - an itch that

  1. you could not scratch; and
  2. being no mere surface irritation, would have invaded the most private of spaces


And imagine the procedure for ridding oneself of such an itch. There would simply be no alternative: it would be surgery or nothing. Picture the scene. You are admitted to hospital with an itchy pancreas. You are anaesthetised and wheeled to theatre, where you are surrounded by green-gowned medical staff. Lights flash and monitors beep on dizzyingly arcane hi-tech equipment. 'Scalpel!', a doctor orders. The instrument is passed to her, and she makes her incision with unconcious, practised ease. Her begloved hand enters the fresh-gaping hole, and finds the pancreas.

She scratches, and you are sewn up.

Hours later, you awake, your mind fogged with the anaesthetic. You purse your dry lips, and, with what seems a Herculean effort, you speak. 'Down a bit, and to the left', you say.