This country of ours has gone bananas entirely for Operation Transformation, says Denis Lehane.
Everyone seems to be galloping around fields, leaping off tables and bouncing on sofas.
If you ask me, I feel this type of exertion is a terrible waste of energy.
I have never been one to waste energy needlessly.
I have discovered down through the years, that if you want to lose a few pounds, there is no better way to do it than to rear a sickly calf.
He will have you as thin as a lath in no time.
And before you tune out, thinking such a job might be confined to those of us who farm, think again.
Calf rearing can be done by anyone and everyone.
From Pippa Middleton to the Pope. All you need is an interest in the task, and the smallest of nooks to care for the creature.
A corner in the garage would do nicely, or a corner in the back-kitchen wouldn’t be a bad spot either.
Once you have created a little nest for your sickly calf, away you go.
Nobody will notice he’s there. Tell your missus, “he’s a class of a greyhound.” She won’t bat an eyelid.
“But how will I find a sickly calf to nurture?” you might cry. “How much will it cost?”
Well, before we begin at all, we have to stop getting emotional about the whole affair.
If we are crying before we start, we are doomed to failure.
To begin with, I’ll get you a sickly calf. There’s no problem in that regard.
Just let me know when you have your nest set up, and for the most meagre of sums, I’ll deliver him to the door.
Once the sickly calf arrives make sure he is as comfortable as can be. He needs to be kept as warm as the devil himself. Cover him with your overcoat, and if he is perched in front of the fire, make sure it never goes out. Common sense is all that is required.
What you will need to do next is obtain a good supply of electrolytes and anti-scour remedies. For as sure as night follows day, your old pal in the corner will have scour. Scour is the devil entirely, and it will keep you on your toes, make sure the medicine cabinet is well stocked.
Without going into too much detail regarding scour, for fear of putting more feeble readers off the scent, you will need to be feeding him once every three hours, around the clock for about four days, to get him back on the straight and narrow.
There will be no time for the pub, or slouching on the couch. As for eating, my dear friend, your appetite will be gone entirely.
The pounds will fall off.
Eventually, you will cure the calf. I have every confidence in you, even if it takes ten days or two weeks.
From this point on, it’s plain sailing. Just feed him a nice frothy mix of warm milk replacer twice daily for about eight weeks. Invite him to sample ration on a daily basis. Ensure he has a bite of hay, and a constant supply of water. Don’t forget to keep the nest clean.
And following on from this, once you have him dehorned, squeezed, inoculated, tested and dosed, your task is complete. Simple.
And what will you have at the end of it? Well, you will have the body of an Adonis, for starters, and a sickly calf that is sick no longer. A saleable calf welcome at any mart in the land.
What pounds you lose, my friend, will be replaced in euros. So forget about Operation Transformation, ’tis a sickly calf you need.