Help Yourself

Waiting at the train station in the dismal suburban town of Barrhead (the birthplace of Armitage Shanks piss pots) this evening, I noticed a dump-bin display unit for the free Metro commuter newspaper. "Help Yourself" it offered. Since the last copy had been taken, a second message was displayed: "You’ve Got to Be Quick".

If I were a more superstitious individual I might have taken this to be a personal message from a higher being or perhaps a clever piece of programming from my real-world trapped-in-an-artificial-reality-booth self.

“Help Yourself. You’ve Got to Be Quick.”

It was like a subliminal message planted by Darren Brown and his funny-shaped head.

Your humble narrator has been a little down in the dumps, you see. The feeling of ensnarement and the desire to escape have been seldom far from my consciousness of late. I’m four days into a five-week placement with East Renfrewshire Community Libraries. I really don’t want to do it but it’s a requirement of my MSc librarianship course. The fact that I’ve been working in libraries for years now does not call for my exemption from this exercise. So I’m having to do the job I’ve been doing for years, only for no wages (for minus wages in fact given that it’s an expensive train journey for me to get there each day) and for more intolerable hours. It’s really quite awful.

So the opportune sighting of the message, “Help Yourself. You’ve Got to Be Quick” almost pushed me over the edge. It was kinda like that old episode of The X Files in which people start receiving messages (usually along the lines of “Kill ‘Em. Kill ‘Em All!”) from digital clocks.

“Yeah”, I thought, “I really do have to be quick. I’ve only got a few years of youth left. I shall join a commune and paint my nails immediately.”

But I didn’t, of course. Because I’m a pussy. And such spontaneous Dice Man decisions are seldom made by pussies.

Tonight, I repair to The Tron to witness the acclaimed The Escapologist. Quite Appropriate, I’m sure.

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