“Now, we need to make sure that all the points have contact with your skull. If you look at the screen, you’ll see that most points are showing red at the moment.”
I look at the screen and indeed, on the diagram which represents my skull, there are many, many red spots – a positive plague of red spots.
“Now, when the points have sufficient contact, they go green. So I’m going to manipulate the points until they have contact. It is not painful – a bit like having your head massaged.” And off he goes.
If he thinks that this feels like a head massage, ResearcherDude should seriously change his masseur. However, it is reminiscent of something … hang on a minute – got it!
Dena’s His and Hers: early Eighties. At the back of the shop, old Mrs Dena has squeezed onto my head what appears to be a swimming cap. Young Miss Dena is now pushing crochet hooks through the holes in the cap in order to wrench out strands of hair. The whole process blooming well hurts. Head massage, my foot.
Perhaps ResearcherDude will also proceed to slaver the cap with bleach, and then shampoo, and then colour before pulling off said cap and declaring, as Mrs Dena did, that the results look Very Natural.
I think we established long ago that I am not the stuff of which empires are built. Having my hair highlighted (on top of the perm, d’y’mind – natural, indeed) left me wimpering. But this cap is being worn in the name of Research, not Vanity and therefore I must man-up or they’ll never find a cure.
At last, all the points are green to go. Then, I do some memory exercises and logic puzzles while they measure my brainwaves.
After this, I am slid into the MRI scanner and by virtue of a cunning arrangement of mirrors, projector and screen, shown more puzzles to ponder while my brainwaves are being measured again and my brain is simultaneously being scanned.
Then it’s out the scanner, off with the cap, and back into the scanner for an extra half-hour until I’ve gone golden and a skewer poked into my arm emerges clean.
Eventually I am released into the Spring Sunshine. As I skip towards the tube station, it occurs to me that there is probably an Easter Bonnet parade at Thrush Woods today. Shame I couldn’t enter with this morning’s headgear: I reckon I’d have been a shoe-in for the prize Egg.