Wednesday 26 May 2021

Take a Compliment

 This story takes place in the before times, when I would commute to an office and I would talk to my colleagues face to face.

One of my colleagues hates mawkish sentimentality and enforced jollity as much as I do. They found out that this poster of compliments was being displayed in the girls' toilets.

We took it upon ourselves to remake the poster with backhanded compliments and had the doctored version hung in place of the original. These were the "compliments" on our version:

"You're brave to wear that"
"It's the thought that counts"
"I can't tell you how great you are"
"I'm surprised you did so well"
"You look really pretty with makeup"
"You're trying your best"
"You look great for your age"
"You're impossible to underestimate"
"You make people laugh"

The part of the story where I'm both ashamed of my deceit and proud of my quick thinking an deceit was a few days later when one of the women I work with showed me the doctored poster and asked me, quite harshly, if I had anything to do with it. I looked at it closely, just about kept a straight face and said "That's like hand drawn lettering. I'd be looking for someone with Photoshop skills and someone that can go in the girls' toilet" I then stared pointedly out of my office towards the woman who runs all our graphic design projects. I don't know if she got into trouble. Sorry Sarah.

Richard "not quite a liar" B

Monday 17 May 2021


 There's a great car personality called Ed Bolian. I've read one of his books, but he also tells great stories on Youtube. He talks about buying a wrecked Lamborghini from a prostitute. He offered her $30,000 but she was holding out for $75,000. Ed says that "Kimmy was a shrewd negotiator, so we ended up slap bang in the middle at $30,000".

Last week I negotiated my new salary and I was even less shrewd than Kimmy. I didn't know my current salary so I started out by demanding a small pay cut in exchange for a load of extra responsibilities and expectations. I'm glad to say that my boss was honest and generous and the negotiation was postponed until we both understood what I was getting paid. I'm less proud to say that the Financial Director had to explain my payslip to me and that "Gross" doesn't mean what I though it meant - if you make voluntary contributions into a pension.

Richard "Proper Preparation" B

Friday 14 May 2021

Hair Cut!

 My father looked like a mad scientist. He had big glasses, a pronounced widow's peak, and a shock of crazy white hair brushed backwards. To be fair he also worked in a laboratory at the polytechnic, would sometimes wear a lab coat, and did exciting experiments and demonstrations.

For the last 20-something years I have worn my hair close cropped. It's a style which my barber supported because it hides how much of my hair is grey, and she knows how unskilled and careless I am when it comes to personal grooming. Over the course of three national lockdowns my hair has grown to the point that I had to comb it back to keep it out of my eyes. It was very messy, but the style (very similar to my father's) actually seemed to suit me.

I was nervous to try to explain to my barber that I didn't want her to cut all my hair off, and that I actually wished to embrace the "crazy professor" look. It was unnecessary. When she eventually recognised me she said "Ha! You look like Doc Brown... It suits you". And all I had to say way "just neaten it up".

Richard "Where we're going we don't need roads" B

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Driving Test

 When I was preparing for my driving test my brother helped me with my knowledge of the highway code. I remember him asking me the meaning of various road signs. We didn't have flash cards so he would describe the road signs to me and ask me what they meant. To this day I particularly remember two of these questions, the first for the beautiful description of the road sign, the second for how useful the information is.

"Red triangle..."
"it's a hazard I have to be aware of"
"...containing an upside down tuning fork"
"What?... tuning fork?.... End of dual carriageway!"

"Displayed on the back of a car. Outline of a fish."
"I don't know."
"It means the vehicle will be slowly and inexpertly driven."

Richard "Passed 2nd Time" B