Dead C. Scrolls

According to the new issue of The New Yorker, a collection of Graham Chapman's writing, called Back to the Trees, will be published in England next fall. This week's "Shouts and Murmurs" piece -- "An Appendectomy on the Bakerloo Line" -- is from Back to the Trees. In addition to being a pipe-smoking Python, Chapman was a fully accredited medical doctor. He died in 1989.

Here's the first part of "An Appendectomy on the Bakerloo Line":

Dear Sirs,

I’ve had letter after letter after letter since you published one particular query that asked, “What should I do about my appendix on the Bakerloo Line?” Well, “Miss N.,” I can only assume you’re talking about an acutely inflamed vermiform appendix. The answer is simply: Take it out! I’ve no wish to give glib advice. I know, there are bound to be difficulties for the inexperienced layman or -woman contemplating auto-appendectomy. One tiny hint here: have a good rummage through your handbag and make sure your Lane’s forceps are not caked with biscuit crumbs, bits of fluff, old bus tickets, etc. It could save an awful lot of fuss later on. I have set out some details that may help you in this sometimes irksome chore.

First, find yourself a Tube Map, issued free by London Transport, or go to your nearest Underground station and ask for one. Remember, the stations marked with an “O” are interchange stations. Stations marked with a star are closed on Sundays, and also remember to pick up a plastic bucket for the guts.

Click here to continue reading.


Here's Michael Palin's tribute to Chapman.