“I don’t pay two pounds to look bewildered, muddled and confused by simple, commonplace technology. If I wanted that, I’d buy an XBox, or whatever it is young people use for entertainment these days”
Imagine: The editor’s expecting 700 pithy and quirky words on some aspect of my life, and being the genius that I am, I can literally phone it in. And this is the life of a celebrity newspaper columnist. So, let’s give it a go…
Last Friday, something happened to me that had never occurred in the 57 and a bit years on this planet. I finished a tube of toothpaste.
That’s completely finished. Not even the merest smear of the stuff left in the tube.
I feel like I have achieved something, gone up a level in life. Usually, as you get to the end of your tube of Colgate Sensitive Extra Protect, you reach that “Sod it” moment when you can squeeze and squeeze no more and the poor limp thing is consigned to the bin. But not this time, and that tastes of victory. Fresh minty victory, and [continued in the colour supplement]…
And… that’s pretty dire stuff isn’t it? Any Jeremy, Adrian or Boris with a flowery turn of words can pump this shit out once a week. I know I could. Pay me enough money and I will. Seven hundred words of flowery prose on how hard and bewildering it is to be a white middle-aged, middle-class British male in the third decade of the twenty-first century, coming right up.
I’ve got years of experience being a white middle-aged, middle-class British male in the third decade of the twenty-first century, and it has not been hard and bewildering in the slightest, but – here’s the kicker – I can act like I am entirely bewildered at the hardness of it all.
Like, why is it that the QR code reader at the station makes you face your phone downward; while the QR code reader on the bus home makes you face your phone upward?
My life is hard and bewildering enough as it is without being judged by the driver of the number 600 to the park and ride because – like some sort of bewildered idiot – I have presented my phone face down.
“I had another bewildered middle-aged idiot holding his phone wrong way up on the 1830,” he’d tell his wife when he got home that evening, “it’s never not funny seeing them baffled, muddled and confused by this simple and commonplace piece of technology.” And they’d both laugh at my expense and tuck into their egg and chips and sip on their gin and tonics. Or something.
And I’ll tell you something for nothing – I don’t pay two pounds to look bewildered, muddled and confused by simple, commonplace technology for the amusement of bus drivers and up to 83 fellow passengers (58 seated and 24 standing, many of whom are either sighing, or making a mental note of the hilarious thing that happened on the bus home). If I wanted that, I’d buy an XBox, or whatever it is young people use for entertainment these days, with Reg Varney Bus Passenger Simulator as the one and only game.
But because I am fifty-seven years old with all my hand-eye coordination having jumped ship decades ago, I would throw the hand controller at the wall, and damn Reg Varney Bus Passenger Simulator as the waste of life that it is.
That five paragraphs of padding has put us on the final straight of this brainfart disguised as reasoned debate, and you – the reader – demand that they are told the lesson of the previous 650 words.
And the lesson is threefold: Avoid public transport at all costs, unless you are looking for possibly humorous content for your weekly celebrity newspaper column; that any buffoon could write this stuff; and if the editor decides to call your column “hilarious”, it will be – by definition – as funny as a leap of leopards on the loose in a retirement home. On the plus side, you will have found out the collective noun for leopards, and that will leave you feeling that you have at least learned something.