MILLIONS of people across England were last night struck by the horrific realisation that Wayne Rooney's ankle health could influence their emotional well-being.
As the Manchester United and England striker was helped from the pitch during the Champions' League quarter-final against Bayern Munich, men and women with jobs and houses found themselves consoling each other and expressing opinions abut the potential consequences of what had happened.
Martin Bishop, a supporter of the England football team, said: "I'm not pretending to care about this. I'm not that pathetic.
"As I watched Wayne Rooney hobbling off the pitch I realised that the success or failure of this gut-wrenchingly over-compensated little man genuinely meant something to me.
"Like the first pangs of a massive vomit, I realised that if England lose a football match this summer it will make me very sad. I won't be following the herd or succumbing to mass psychosis, I will be sad because my country – whatever that means – has failed to defeat another country at a thing that is for the most part about millionaires making more money to spend on whores. And so that's why I have decided to kill myself."
He added: "And as a way of atoning for the dreary and deliberately worthless life I have led, I'm going to use a pitchfork and a see-saw."
Meanwhile, as tabloid newspaper The Sun urged the nation to 'pray' for Rooney, many of the people who work at The Sun reached into their desk drawer for the bottle of pure alcohol and methadone which transports them to a magical kingdom full of proper jobs and self-respect.
Nathan Muir, a sports sub-editor, said: "I tell my children I work in a kitten abattoir."
Tom Logan, who derives genuine happiness from the success of both England and Manchester United, added: "It was like I was able to move outside of my own body and then look back in. And all I could see was an empty desert in the middle of the night being battered by a constant and ferocious wind.
"I think I'm going to stare out to sea for a long time and then begin the slow process of becoming an actual human being."