It’s a bit early for silly season. Is it not? Still, who can resist this story about the increasing problem of “Avocado Hand”? According to articles I’ve read in the Daily Filler and the Clickbait Gazette, the syndrome is becoming an increasing problem in hospitals near areas with high concentrations of middle-class fatheads.
I'm no newcomer to this exotic Mexican fruit. I can remember when it was still known as "an avocado pear" and its appearance at dinner parties indicated levels of sophistication that would have made Marcello Mastroianni seem like Mrs Brown (or her late 1970s equivalent).
You can’t make guacamole without it. It gives name to the optimum colour for bathroom suites. Don’t talk to me about Persea Americana.
Over the past year or two, however, the avocado has achieved new levels of ubiquity. We have Nigella Lawson to thank for the invention of a dish so facile it stands as a symbol of contemporary fecklessness.
On her (to be fair, aptly named) 2015 show Simply Nigella, the finger-sucking chef dared to offer a recipe for avocado toast. A bit of seasoning came into it, but there was little more to the method than squashing the green flesh onto a browned slice of sourdough. An orang-utan could have improvised something similar with no prompting.
Avocado toast has gone on to become the bacon sandwich of its era. Bland, unchallenging and quick to prepare, it is the perfect brunch dish for the hungover urbanite.
There is one problem. Avocados are not the easiest fruits to get into. Slicing them in half is straightforward enough. But knifing out the flesh risks seriously wounding the hand in which the avocado rests.
More dangerous still is the samurai hack into the central stone. Get that wrong and you’ll never play the cor anglais again.
We are only partly joking here. So frequent are the injuries that the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons has lobbied for warning labels to be placed on this dangerous foodstuff.
"There is minimal understanding of how to handle them," Simon Eccles, honorary secretary of the body, told the London Times. "Perhaps we could have a cartoon picture of an avocado with a knife, and a big red cross going through it?"
Dr Eccles claims he treats four people a week with avocado-related wounds. If it goes on at this rate, the populations of Hampstead and Dublin 4 will be reduced to a tiny rump of Avocado haters by the middle of the century. Even Philip K Dick never imagined that particular apocalypse.
Avocado Hand is just the latest in a long line of injuries affecting fad-addicted idiots throughout the last few decades.
In the mid-1980s, friends and I identified a particular condition – painful though not fatal – as Chronic Hyper-Olympics Finger. The ailment, characterised by blistering at the tip of the middle finger and stiffness at its base, was contracted in the bar of a distinguished Irish university during long sessions of the titular video game.
Depression of a particular button caused the tiny athlete to swim, run and jump in rhythm to the finger’s increasingly painful tattoo. At its worst, CHOF broke promising careers. Students who might later have become judges found themselves unable to write their own name in final examinations.
I knew one man who would not play the game unless he had on his favourite running shoes. By third term his finger was as red and mottled as a fat chorizo. The little digital Olympian accepted his medal on a rostrum fashioned from our squandered ambition.
The simultaneous rise of the Walkman and the popularity of thrash metal led to a complaint called Metallica Ear. It was impossible to listen to that band at any volume not prohibited in workplaces by EU legislation. Walk to the office with Enter Sandman on the headphones and you need rule out any phone calls until lunchtime.
All that was doubly irritating if you’d just recovered from a lengthy bout of Rubik’s Wrist. A few weeks twisting the blocks in that Hungarian inventor’s famous puzzle and you were likely to find yourself unable to turn a door handle without yelping.
Let’s not start on Clackers Knuckle, Break-dance Ankle and whatever trouble ponytailed wazzocks got into on those stupid little silver scooters that astonishingly have yet to entirely vanish from the streets.
There could be an upside to this parade of human folly. Successive faddish complaints may, in ruthless Darwinian fashion, eliminate the fools who can’t harmlessly slice an avocado and allow the less incompetent to thrive.
Avocado Hand might be to the urban buffoon as the Chicxulub Asteroid was to the dinosaurs.
Then again, that CHOF sufferer in the running shoes went to receive an MBE. Astonishingly, I’m not making that up. So, maybe not.