Thursday, 19 August 2010

Slow news day?

My first act as world leader will be to ban infantile surveys dreamed up by PR companies during the silly season when the nation’s newspapers are even more devoid of meaningful copy than usual.

The latest piece of statistical nonsense to be published comes to us courtesy of Polo Mints. For some reason, the mighty Nestlé decided to commission a study of Britons’ eating habits in the post-dining room age.

And what did these geniuses discover? That a third of us think it’s acceptable to feed ourselves without the aid of a knife and fork. In fact, women are the worst culprits, choosing to eat with their fingers rather than using implements or ‘eating irons’ as one old colonel I used to know called them.

Not only do Britons use their fingers to eat, but a sixth of the population lick their plates clean. Why they can’t use hot water and washing up liquid, I really don’t know. However, the mind-numbingly banal survey goes on to reveal that 35 per cent of us save our favourite part of the meal until last. Thank goodness for that; you have no idea how long I’ve been searching for that particular statistic.

According to Judi James, Nestlé’s resident body-language guru, you can tell a lot about someone by the way they eat. “The way we eat and how we treat food can often give away more about us than a ten-minute conversation. Our subconscious food habits reveal our attitudes to everything from relationships to work, and define us as a nation.”

To round off this dissertation in digestion, the survey says that we are also a nation of quirky eaters with half of us choosing to lick our ice creams in a circular motion and preferring to suck our boiled sweets instead of crunching them between our molars. Two-thirds of us eat crisps one at a time instead of ramming them in our mouth by the handful… using fingers, presumably.

This behaviour, according to the buffoons behind this exercise in the bleeding obvious claim that these discoveries show that we are a nation that takes a delayed gratification approach to eating, prolonging the experience for as long as we can. Finally, the boffins claim that food is the way to our hearts because three per cent of those surveyed (yes… a whopping three per cent) said that their idea of a perfect date would be a candlelit dinner.

Apparently, Nestlé’s next survey will investigate the toilet habits of bears dwelling in woods and other heavily forested areas.  Goodnight!

Monday, 9 August 2010

No more Mr Nice Guy

Well that’s it! No more Mr Nice Guy for me. After a life spent being decent, kind and honest, I’ve finally decided to shed the Mr Nice Guy persona and become a Bond villain. Let me explain…

For most of my adult life I’ve tried to follow a path that includes being very soft and considerate. I’m the sort of sucker who opens doors for other people and offers their seat to elderly ladies in the hope that what my mother told me was true. As a kid, I was repeatedly told that being a fine, upstanding and polite individual would pay dividends and that my life would be blessed. I now know this to be an utter falsehood.

The past month or so has brought forth so many mishaps and misfortunes in my life; enough catastrophes to make your average rash of Biblical disasters look like an afternoon at Scout camp. I won’t go into details but as I sit here trying not to cough myself into an early grave thanks to the mother of all chest infections, I’m plotting the rest of my life on earth as Mr Evil. It’s only an experiment but I want to see if being a complete bastard might turn my fortunes round.

I’m not a religious person but at the back of all our minds are the words of teachers, aunts and grannies telling us how the meek shall inherit the earth and how when we pass on from this earthly existence we shall have a deckchair in Heaven and be ministered to by beautiful angels who will feed us our favourite sweetmeats and morsels while playing the lyre for us whenever we wish.

Well, I’ve been thinking about this fantasy and have decided that with my luck it wouldn’t really go like that when checking in with St Peter:


“Traction Man.”

“Ah yes. You're down here on the list between Mother Theresa and Albert Schweizer. Unfortunately I have some bad news. Heaven is closed at the moment. It’s been extremely tough up here since the credit crunch and we've had to cut back membership dramatically.”

“What do you mean ‘Heaven’s closed’?”

“Just what I said, mate. We’re not accepting any new members. I’ve got a couple of places in Hell Lite going, if you’re interested. It’s a bit like full-fat Hell but without the heat and the raucous parties. Is that any good?”

“No it’s bloody not! I’ve just spent my entire life being trampled on by estate agents, lawyers and politicians, trying to be a kind and decent individual, and all you can offer me is a place in Hell’s annexe. It’s not good enough.”

“Well how about Limbo. It’s a bit boring but it’s not all that bad. I can then put you on the waiting list for Heaven and with any luck one of our members will do something naughty and we can shift them downstairs and let you in. We’ve got that Pol Pot bloke in here at the moment; I shouldn’t really tell you this but he’s on his final warning. You might not have to wait too long.”

“How many people are on the waiting list, then?”

“Not many.”

“How many?

“Couple of million... tops.”

“ So how long am I going to have to wait in Limbo?”

“Couple of aeons… maybe.”

See what I mean? I just know that doing the right thing is going to blow up in my face and backfire spectacularly. What’s the point? Why bother? So if the next time someone fails to hold a door open for you or nicks your parking space, it could very well be me practising my new guise as a Bond villain in the vain hope that my life will finally start moving in the right direction.