Diary

They have John Houblon on them

30 August 2013 | Diary

From the secret archives of Robert Wringham, this is a Glasgow-based diary entry about a frustrating day in 2009. Until today, it remained unpublished on grounds being too rubbish. But thanks to declining standards at this website and in life generally, it’s probably safe to air it now.

Cutting through the university quad, some animal rights protesters take me for a university employee (I’d be the Dean of Lint Studies) and one of them shouts at me through a megaphone:

“THIS UNIVERSITY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY!” he bawls across the quad.

“I DON’T EAT MEAT OR DRINK MILK!” I shout back through my cupped hands. “I’VE NEVER DRESSED UP A CAT FOR FUN AND I’VE NEVER BEEN ENTERTAINED BY A CHIMPANZEE SMOKING A PIPE,” I lied. “I’M ON YOUR SIDE!”

“WHAT ABOUT HONEY?!” he comes back.

“I EAT HONEY IN LARGE AND VISCOUS PROPORTIONS! I THINK WE SHOULD STIMULATE DEMAND FOR BEEKEEPING. GIVEN THAT WILD BEES ARE ALL BUT EXTINCT WE NEED APIARY BEES IN ORDER TO POLLINATE THE EARTH! I’M A VERY CONSCIENTIOUS CONSUMER!”

That got him.

“UM. OKAY THEN. CARRY ON.”

This is not the first time today I’ve been shouted at for things that are nothing to do with me. I can only assume that Messenger Shooting has been added to the list of unlikely sports at the forthcoming commonwealth games.

This morning, I am pilloried by a dental receptionist for trying to pay for treatment with a fifty.

It’s not my fault the bank produces unpopular currency. What’s wrong with fifties? They’re great. They have John Houblon on them, his serious face forbidding you to spend the note on anything too frivolous: a responsible gesture on behalf of the bank, especially in these harsh economic times.

I couldn’t imagine why the dental receptionist would have a problem with Houblon.

“I disapprove of his 1695 fiscal reform,” I imagine her saying, “Also, his wig lacks schnooze. See you in six weeks for a scale and polish”.

Later, a pharmacist lambasts me for my dentist’s handwriting on the prescription. He can’t make out whether I should be given a week’s worth of antibiotics or just five day’s worth. I suggest he level it out at six and he shouts at me. The dentist and I should take prescription drugs more seriously.

“Sorry,” I squeak.

On the way home, exhausted from so many arguments, I see a sign strapped to a lamp post which reads: “It’s your dog mess. Clean it up!”

I want to protest but cannot. The lamp post, being an inanimate object and all, would be unable to comprehend my predicament and I’m just a middle man in all of this anyway and didn’t really want to get involved. I doubted that the lamp post would have had any say in what went on the sign either, but was forced to wear it like a gaudy and lambasting medallion.

In that lamp post I had found an equal: someone else caught up in the argument of two sides and ambivalent about the causes of either. Neither of us owned dogs and neither of us had any strong feelings on poo disposal. Of course, he was accustomed to dogs peeing around his feet so he had a more informed stance than I.

This lamp post was the most rational individual I had met all day. We’re meeting for coffee next week.