Thursday 1st April 1993 Dinner at home 19:10

“Look at you, Dennis! You are such a mess!”
I glanced down. There was a splodge of brown gravy on the front of my jumper. I tried to wipe it off but only smeared it over a bigger area.”
“Do you think that they will ever find a cure for the dirty jumper gene, Desmond?”
Declan laughed but Mum was right. Grandad had been plagued by it. It had driven my grandmother mad. Dad obviously had it and his brother, Uncle Dermot. The twins were terrible. It looked like I was developing the same problem pretty quickly. Only Declan had been spared the family curse. He could come straight home from school, shovel down a bowlful of spaghetti bolognaise and still end up with a spotless white shirt.
“Before they treat any gene, they’ve got to find out which one it is, Daphne.” Dad’s sprout wobbled precariously on his fork as he spoke. Mum frowned.
“I think they have got plenty of more important genes to sort out before they go looking for the dirty jumper gene,” said Declan.
“It means that people like Dennis and I will have to continue to suffer quietly,” said Dad glumly, “because dirty jumpers aren’t given the high public profile they deserve.”

“I was reading an article on genetic engineering the other day,” said Declan. “It said that any single gene might be responsible for more than one bodily function.”
“That’s very interesting,” said Dad.
“I was wondering if the dirty jumper gene was the same one that makes you pee on the bathroom floor.”
“I wouldn’t have thought so, Declan. I never pee on the bathroom floor.”
“Yes, you do, Desmond!” We all exclaimed in unison.
Dad went bright red.

The dirty jumper gene.