The phantom visitor

This is a true story and there is a moral to this tale.

Benjamin (the handsome Cavalier Spaniel, born sans tail) is the self-appointed ‘doorman’ at Number 16. He makes the announcement when visitors arrive and enthusiastically summonses me to open the door. He exuberantly welcomes visitors, is a doorman par excellence and takes his calling very seriously.


For most of my working years I have been remunerated because I design advertising concepts and strategies for retailers, brands and products. Consequently I often (more often than not) feel obligated to buy and test products. Recently, I felt compelled to test a new product on the market.

The product is a ‘tap therapy massager’. It’s a clumsy, cumbersome looking apparatus that you strap to your shoulders and it taps the knots away. However, that’s not all it does, it taps loudly and in varying rhythms.

Having said that, it works quite well, albeit extremely loudly ;- the drumming mechanism shouts at the knots in your shoulders,  while the drummer himself bangs vigorously on them.  It is rather strange but effective.

Hence the reason it was lying on my bed a few weeks ago.



Benji, the doorman, has had a really tiring day, chasing birds, scaring cats, digging up plants and opening doors . Doggie-bedtime has arrived and the Benji-man has hopped onto my bed to take up his usual sleeping position. In his enthusiastic hopping, the tap therapy massager has hopped off the bed landing on a wooden floor,  where it proceeds to tap loudly!

Benji, the ever faithful doorman, hears the knocking which he knows is usually at a door. However, in this instance it is on the floor next the bed and in the direction of my bedside table.

Immediately he jumps to attention and begins the door opening rigmarole, however there is no door to open, only drawers in the bedside table.

By this stage, I have disarmed the tapping apparatus, but Benjamin is not convinced that this was a false alarm. He zealously tries to open the door, which has now become the drawer, for the ‘phantom visitor’.

My furry child and my human child

Being the ingenious hound that he is, he succeeds in opening the drawer. He then proceeds to ‘bark to the visitor’ that the door has been opened and the visitor may now enter the room. The visitor however remains hidden and I inconsiderately close the drawer. This distresses the doorman no end as he is unable to fulfil his duty. As a result the visitor is now trapped, inside a bedside drawer.

Being a vocal animal, his conversation with the visitor becomes more and more desperate. He decides that if he can’t let the visitor in, he will bark and whine the visitor through the experience until morning. I suppose the situation would then change and I would possibly assist.

At some stage I fell asleep after unsuccessfully trying to demonstrate that the tap massager was in fact the real guest.

The truly faithful doorman stayed up all night and gave moral support to the trapped guest.

benjaminThe next morning Benji was exhausted by the search and rescue operation, but none-the-less he continued to give his all in an to free the hidden visitor.

The ‘phantom visitor’ has still not been found, but every time he walks past the scene he offers a quick word of support.


  • Sometimes we may care too much and get hurt or disappointed in the process, never stop caring.

  • When you find your purpose in life pursue it fervently even when there are setbacks.

  • Never give up.

  • Be kind and helpful.

  • Don’t discrimate, acknowledge everyone and give them the attention they deserve.

  • FINALLY, the same principle applies to mental illness, don’t discriminate, don’t be judgemental and treat everyone the same. 


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