Monthly Archives: August 2008

Now that’s a coincidence

Tonight, while crossing London Bridge, I saw Jeremy Paxman wandering around. He looked quite disheveled (for him, I mean, he didn’t have a tie on for a start) and he was wandering about from left to right across the pavement. When he quickly walked back towards the edge I really did think “he’s going to jump!”.

Because he’s famous, I didn’t approach him immediately. I was always brought up to believe that celebrities have the strength of ten to fifteen men. So I looked around for help and that’s when I saw the film crew. Of course, if you were a celebrity and going to kill yourself you would definitely bring a film crew along. That’s just common sense.

So I left them to their own devices. I would have taken a picture but I didn’t want to risk Paxman threatening to overrule me.

The three urinal problem

I was at a bar not that long ago and I decided, in the term of one of my less couth* friends, to syphon the python.

The toilet, as I believe the title of this post**** may have given away, had three urinals in it. But it was the configuration of them that was most interesting to me.

First, you must know that there was only one cubicle in the room.

Second, you should know that if one were to stand in front of the first urinal, one would block the entrance to the cubicle. So that urinal was out. As was the cubicle.

The middle urinal was out because it was the middle urinal. That is the law, passed down from ancient times. ‘No man shall stand at the middle urinal if all urinals are available.’

Last, but not least, the last urinal was wedged in behind the sink so that if you wanted to use it, you had to stand with your backside wedged against the taps.

So my question is this – what would you have done?

* You can be ‘uncouth’, but ‘couth’ itself – what is that?**

** This and other opposite words that don’t exist are discussed in my new book “things that should be true but are the opposite of true”.***

*** Since the publication of my book, the word “false” has been brought to my attention. This alters almost nothing.

**** “It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won’t speak to me for fifty minutes.” – The Red Headed League*****

***** “I do not take 50 minutes to go to the toilet. That is not what I am implying.

Did you threaten to over-rule him?

So I went to the theatre the other night. During the interval I found myself finishing my glass of wine while Katherine popped to the loo.

I cast my eyes around looking for something to entertain them. And lo, Michael Howard oiled into view. I did the look away, look back, look away, look back thing that we all think we can get away with but know doesn’t really work.

Having decided that it was him, I decided that the best thing I could do was completely ignore him. I did this successfully and turned back to the cheeky rioja.

Glass finished, I then wandered off to get rid of the plastic receptacle*. The problem is, of course, that I had forgotten about Michael Howard a bit too much. I realized that I was, essentially, sidling up to him. But of course I was still looking down in case there had been a spare ledge for my empty placky plonk-holder.

I looked up and realised that I’d actually got within a few feet of him. And then as he raised the various bits of cheek around his mouth in what I’m sure he’s been reassured resembles a smile – a smile learned from a book – I realized that he thought I was approaching him.

Oh. No.

What do I do? Should I say something? Should I ask him if he really did threaten to overrule Derek Lewis? I nearly did. I really did. But then I thought, no, it’s an old joke. He’s probably heard it quite a few times. So instead I simply turned around and walked off towards some likely looking ledges.

I wonder what he thought. Maybe he’ll leave a comment?

* We clearly need a better name than “plastic glass” for plastic glasses. Any suggestions?