Deborah Ross: 'I've come down with Apprenticitis'

If you ask me, with each new series of The Apprentice, there is every chance you might come down with Apprenticitis, a cruel condition which, you will find, means you cannot speak in anything but Apprentice-speak. I hoped I'd got away with it this time, but knew I hadn't when I woke up and said: "Everything I touch turns to sold!". "Oh no," groaned my husband, "you've got Apprenticitis again, haven't you?". "I'm arrogant, but with a business brain like mine, why shouldn't I be?" I said. "I can't bear it," he said. "You're fired!" I said. "And just be glad I didn't make you drink hemlock in that sad caff first... LOSER!"

Apprenticitis, once contracted, is not easy to shrug off. "My first word wasn't Mummy, it was money," I said when I went to the corner shop for milk. "Really?" queried Mr Patel. "Also, I have fire in my belly," I added. "Nice," he said. "I'll do whatever it takes. I'll step over my dying grandmother if I have to," I further added. "I know," he said. "It's not playing the game that counts, it's the winning... Oh no, you've given me Apprenticitis! Last time I had it, I fired Mrs Patel 24 times and, on each occasion, kicked her out of bed, as I don't have a boardroom... Get out my shop, get out!" So I did get out his shop although, of course, not before shouting "LOSER!" over my shoulder and not without imagining I was pulling a little suitcase on wheels behind me. I do like to think that, when I am imagining pulling a little suitcase behind me, I give it 170 per cent. At least.

Anyway, I had a busy day, stepping over my dying grandmother mostly. It was as exhausting as it was inconvenient, but what can you do? And there is no telling how long Apprenticitis will last, although, according to a recent report in the BMJ, "totally thick tossers can suffer from it all their lives". This bout lasted 24 hours and my husband was very pleased to see it gone by the following morning. "Phew," he said. "But I let myself down," I said. "I could have done so much better. I work with scallops every day." "Oh no," he groaned, "you've now got MasterChefitis, haven't you?". "Can I win this competition?" I said. "Yes. I know I can."

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