Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Old Man/Wobbly Old Lady - the Many Faces of Multiple Sclerosis

TWO SOUPS!

If you’re British and of a certain age, you may remember the Two Soups sketch from one of Victoria Wood’s comedy shows. I could only find this clip on YouTube 


which gives no more than a flavour of it, but in it Julie Walters plays a doddery, unstable waitress. She takes an age to shakily walk over to the customers seated at their table, writes down the order for two soups, then takes another age to walk back to the kitchen. When she finally returns carrying the soups, much of the contents of the bowls is spilling onto the carpet as she once again infirmly crosses the floor to the diners. By the time she reaches them, most of the soup has been shed, but she happily places the bowls on the table with the cheery proclamation, ‘Two soups!’

How I laughed back in the 80s, in my pre-MS days, at this impression of an infirm waitress. It doesn’t seem quite as funny now that I am that doddery person. Whenever I’m carrying a tray of food, particularly if I’ve been on my feet for a while preparing that food, I have to use all my concentration to step carefully across the short distance involved in order to avoid introducing my dinner to the floor. If we’re eating in front of the TV, that even involves a treacherous three steps down to the living room. I’ve managed it without disaster up to now, but rarely feel confident enough to add a drink into the mix, so another trip to the kitchen is required to pick that up – a trip by this time that I could really do without.

I think Julie Walters must have used her bad waitress character as inspiration for her long-running role as Mrs Overall in the Acorn Antiques sketches. When I’m bringing a meal to my wife and pots are clinking together as I totter towards her in a game of MS Jeopardy, the jovial cry of, ‘Here she comes, Mrs Overall,’ is often heard. Mixing my comedy characters, I breathe a sigh of relief as the tray safely makes it onto the table, before celebrating with a breezy cry of my own, no matter what the nature of the meal: ‘Two soups!’

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