bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

The Longest Shot Of All

Dear Rachel

I find that efficiency usually beats incredulity when bringing an unexpected conversation to a swift conclusion.   I was able to test this on Father’s Day morning when Danny shoved his head through the side of my stall and said ‘Paul – you’ve not had the snip mate, have you?’  ‘I haven’t mate, no’ I replied, selling a ‘Quiche Is The Word’ apron to a lady from West Drayton.   Undeterred, Danny went on to explain how – and for the sake of authenticity, I shall use his exact phrase – he was convinced he was ‘chucking out less dirty water’ than before he was sterilised.   ‘My husband thought that, too’ said the lady from West Drayton, handing me a £20 note and addressing Danny ‘But I don’t reckon it’s made any difference, myself’. ‘Silly old me’ I exclaimed while assembling her change, ‘I seem to have set my stall up in the waiting room of a vasectomy clinic – if you’ll just give me a minute, I’ll wheel out a coffee table and some copies of Home and Garden and call you in when the cock doctor’s ready’.

They both departed at this point – the lady back to West Drayton and her sterilised husband, and Danny to get the teas in.  It should be noted that Father’s Day is like a second Christmas for Danny, and I’m pretty certain he was sterilised by Lewisham Council before the whole of south east London disappeared under an army of offspring starting out-of-the-blue fertility-based conversations with kitchenware vendors.

Danny’s oldest daughter is at a Real University, and studying an Actual Subject, psychology I think, or something along those lines. Danny and I are very similar in that although neither of us have any education beyond GCSEs (or O levels, in Danny’s case), we both nonetheless value it.   He’s just finished reading A Tale Of Two Cities to his youngest daughter, who is I believe eight, and who seems set on a successful university career of her own in a decade or so.

Coincidentally, a young lady who has caught Danny’s eye but whom prudence forbids me from identifying further is also set upon a successful university career of her own, if her grades come in.   ‘She seems nice enough’ I remarked entirely innocently to her boss when she first appeared at Greenwich.  ‘No she fucking doesn’t – that’s my god-daughter’ was the response, and I advised Danny to tread carefully, lest he wake up with a shotgun arranged such that, if the trigger were to be pulled, the barrels would remove a testicle each as they discharged.   ‘You’re only twenty eight years older than her’ I pointed out ‘You’d be a good role model, if you could convince her that every single thing you ever said or did or wore or thought was part of an elaborate hoax and that you’re actually working undercover for MI5, trying to break a ring of borderline sex pests.   Why not go over and ask her who she likes best, Blur or Oasis, and just agree with whatever she says, to get the ice broken?  Get her number and tell her you’ll fax her in the week. Job done’.

The pages of history are littered with examples of people succeeding in the face of tremendous odds which is, of course, uplifting to recount.   What the pages of history aren’t littered with is examples of the many, many more people who didn’t succeed in the face of tremendous odds.  These examples aren’t recorded because not succeeding in the face of tremendous odds is very much more likely.   That’s why the odds are tremendous in the first place, or else the concept of probability would be worthless.   The most pertinent set of tremendous odds that Danny and I and pretty much everyone mentioned in these posts over the years face are the ones involving the likelihood of financial oblivion, a future characterised by poverty and ill health, and a lonely coughing death in a doorway somewhere.   Bearing this in mind, it’s always nice to get the odd victory in before circumstance overwhelms you, and bearing that in mind, I shall leave you to speculate upon what did or did not happen when Danny did or did not discuss Blur and Oasis with The Girl in your own time.

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Photards. This weeks tiptoe through the photographic tulips are:

Top: The Duk of Gton public house, Toynbee Street, London E1. Look closely at this pictard, which is taken from Brune Street.  There are three main features here – the pub, the flats to the left and the newer buildings straight ahead. Whichever one I tried to line the shot up with, the other two were out of kilter.   I think there may have been an earthquake.

Middle: This is the sort of thing that lives in the country. It was by my estimation four hundred foot long and seven hundred foot high.  The things in the back ground aren’t fence posts – they’re telegraph poles.  I dared not provoke it.

Lower: I dunno if you remember but a while ago part of the roof of Greenwich Market blew in, struck a stall, bounced off, struck my stall, and narrowly missed decapitating me.   This is the first stall struck: Sharon’s marvellous hat emporium.   Sharon’s a lovely old stick.   We like to cheer ourselves up on slow days by discussing the Death of Creativity.

(This is Sharon’s site, by the way).


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