Have you ever been on a First Aid Course?
Why is it that all First Aid training centres have a rundown coffee machine, pictures of the Queen in 1982, photos of old Land Rover ambulances and a painting of Florence Nightingale? The courses are run by plump women in their 50’s who either themselves or a member of their family have experienced every accident personally known to man, carry a face mask on their key ring and have a plain Jane assistant that sits in the corner usually called Polly.
Yes it was time for my 3-year company ritual and I must say not the best. Sitting in a room full of strangers and making “instant friends” with the man sat next to me. He took every opportunity to tap his hand on my arm, talk closely to me whenever he could and even tickle my stomach (I kid you not) as I was lying on the floor with my eyes closed as the “casualty”. It was not the best of situations. I can only imagine what his face was like as he wrapped his arms around me whilst mimicking the abdominal thrusts – or as it used to be called – the Heimlich Manoeuvre, and then likewise as I had to do it to him in return.
However, all that pales into insignificance as the most dreaded part of the day looms ahead of us. Six rounds each, taking it in turns to get up close and personal with a legless rubber doll. As we all do our bit shaking the torso of rubber Annie and shouting into her completely sealed off ears (after first applying antiseptic wipes around her mouth) we are told to imagine that she is unconscious and cannot see or hear. Hardly surprising when you looked at the state of these old mannequins, if Annie was a dog, she would have been put down.
At this stage I had successfully managed to shake off over friendly man to my left, to be replaced with beige corduroy trousers and matching jacket man to my right. As we marked each other’s competence on bringing lifeless Annie back from the brink of shifting off this mortal coil, he followed everything to the letter and got top marks.
Thankfully it’s all over again for another three years and back to work in the morning. My colleagues can now be rest assured that if they start foaming toothpaste at the mouth, cut their shin with a Stanley knife or slice the top end of a fake rubber finger off, then someone is at hand who has done a course and get them back to tip top performance and at their desk to carry on working.