RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

Aversion Therapy…

I’ve just had my breakfast.

Well second breakfast.

Remember we’ve got a 1 year old baby girl, who doesn’t seem to understand the concept of a ‘lie in’, so as she goes back to bed for a nap, I took advantage and had a second breakfast of a bit of toast and some chocolate “Nutella” spread.

I love that stuff, but it’s dangerous – particularly as it’s not the most healthy thing to eat on your toast. And then I was reminded of an event that happened a couple of years ago in the Junior Ranks Mess at RAF Cosford.

Despite Cosford’s vast population, there weren’t actually that many members of permanent staff (as opposed to trainees) who “lived in” the block on base.  I was one of about 20-30 or so.  Living arrangements were good for us – living in our own “Superblocks” – fairly large rooms, with en-suite facilities for each, and a communal area in each of the two blocks where parties and social events happened – either PRIOR to going off out to Wolverhampton, or AFTER we’d returned from a night out.

It was a great time. And as I said, one of the most social places that I have lived in during my time in the RAF.  It was a good feeling where people generally got on very well, respected each others privacy, but also enjoyed spending time with each other.  It had the feel – so I was told by an ex-girlfriend who’d been to university (unlike me!) of “Halls”.

The best thing about it was the fact that the community we had there was very protective of each other, with a strong feeling of looking after each other  – particularly on nights out in Wolves – a proper sort of family with people looking after each other almost like brothers and sisters.

And this community, as all communities do, centered around a focal point. And in our case it was the Junior Ranks Mess.

Here we had been given our own “dining area” in the mess, but it was a bit…actually, I don’t know what was wrong with it – apart from it was kind of out of the way – so instead we took over the tables closest to the servery. It started by five or six people dragging two tables together – and eventually ALL the livers-in had a big long table where we all sat and discussed our days at work and plans for the evening or the weekend.

It was a bit like the Rovers Return from Corrie or The Caf’ in Eastenders, it was a place where people met up and mixed and ate – and Ohhh we ate some great food.

And here, after a lot of digression, is the point of my post. There was a young LAC posted in – about 19 – into the Headquarters Admin Office.  And she had a thing for the Nutella spread I talked about earlier.

You see the Mess used to put out jars of jam, marmalade, marmite (YUK!) and Nutella for us to have. And the young LAC – let’s call her Mary (for that was her name) used to enjoy probably more than her fair share of the Nutella. She used to spread a good portion of it on her bread and munch it – but then would moan about how much she ate on her way back to the block – saying it was no good for her waistline.

So two of us came up with plan which we put to her. Initially, she was chuffed by it, but eventually…

You see, Bob and I planned some aversion therapy for Mary. We got one slice of bread. And asked the mess staff for a brand new unopened jar of Nutella. And then we smeared the contents of the entire jar on the one slice.

In the same way as a parent who has found their child smoking makes them smoke one cigarette after another until the child is sick – we planned to do the same.

And Mary started munching away. But it was rich – very, very rich. The chocolate was spread very thick. Very, very thick. After two or three bites, Mary’s face changed and she slowed right down.

We were ferrying glasses of water to her, and a crowd started to gather to see what was going on.

The chocolate and bread started to clag in her mouth and her eyes glazed. Every so often Mary’s cheeks would puff and she’d blink slowly.  But she persevered and kept going…slowly.

Until…all of a sudden she pushed her chair back and ran for the toilets just outside the dining hall.  After five minutes or so she came back looking pale and washed out.  It doesn’t take much to imagine what had just occurred.

She went back to the block and locked herself into her room and wasn’t seen until she was in work the next day.

Bob and I felt a bit guilty…Mary was lovely and we hadn’t intended to make her ill, but our guilt was eased a few days later when she came and sat down next to us.

“Thank you” she said.  “Since that night I haven’t been able to look at that bloody Nutella spread. Every time I even look at a bottle, I remember that claggy feeling of it coating my mouth and I can’t stomach even the idea of eating it. I’m cured of my addiction!”

I’m not sure I recommend this course of action, but, well, it clearly works as to this day, Mary’s Facebook page lists Nutella as one of her “Hates”…

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