Category Archives: Silly

Don’t Judge a Bureaucrat by its Cover

I know prejudice is more often than not an error of reasoning, but I have to confess that I am inclined to harbour the occasional preconceived idea about certain types of jobs and the people who do them. The obvious example of this is the way I feel about anyone whose daily bread is earned by imposing and enforcing parking fines.  I DO understand that we probably need some rules about where not to park – if we didn’t we’d probably end up with ambulances full of heart attack victims gridlocked in a sea of static hatchbacks like imaginative ideas in a democracy. And if we have rules, we probably need someone to go around and remind people what those rules are. But humans are nothing if not hypocritical, so while accepting that the system should probably exist, I still secretly think that people who work in it are inflexible, blindly obedient, bureaucratic types without a critical faculty between them.

carol-beer-computer-says-no-1

So when, a few years ago, we received a parking ticket, I responded in my usual manner – which is to make like an ostrich and pretend it wasn’t happening. Here is the exact letter, with bits blurred out for privacy purposes:

parking ticket letter

You can tell this was some time ago because parking fines are considerably more than £40 now. But the tone of these letters hasn’t changed – all shouty and officious. You can almost imagined the stiff, grey, purse-mouthed bureaucrat who came up with that gem. Nothing here to challenge any prejudices.

Spouse was going through one of his phases at the time we received this uptight little letter (he goes through phases a lot – there’s been the Nationalist phase, the conspiracy phase, the Hindu phase and the Fungiculture phase, for example – and he has asked to have ‘Death: It’s a phase I’m going through‘ carved on his gravestone). The phase he was in at the time of the letter was his Discordian phase (if you know what that means, you will see where this is going). So he wrote the parking department a letter.  Here it is (in two parts because I am rubbish at I.T.)

discordian letter 1

discordian letter 2

This letter entertained us immensely. It may have been juvenile and unlikely to achieve anything, but I particularly enjoyed the little dig, ‘those investors in people’.  So we sent it off expecting no real response apart from the next computer generated demand.  But this is where the story gets wonderful.  I absolutely love having my worldview jiggled about occasionally, and when the next letter arrived from the council it did just that. When I opened the envelope I had to read the contents three times before I could believe what I was seeing. And when I did, it just filled me with joy. It still does, years later. Proper happiness. Somewhere in what I thought were those dusty grey corridors of blandness, there was a man who could do this:

parking ticket letter 2

The moral of this story is probably something to do with diamonds in lumps of coal or pearls inside oysters and books and covers and all that whatever. I just read the letter again, and it’s rendered me incoherent with pleasure.  You’ll have to draw your own conclusion.

Good Morning Bratwurst

“Mom and Dad were married 64 years. And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist – because every day Dad gave Mom a rose, which he put on her bedside table. That’s how she found out what happened on the day my father died – she went looking for him because that morning, there was no rose.”

- Mitt Romney

just a pipeI’ll know when my spouse is dead because I’ll wake up, go downstairs and there won’t be a cardboard man with a sausage penis on my table in the morning.

.

 

Fiddling while we burn

I depressed myself a bit with my last doom-mongering post, and spent the morning wandering round imagining the world of Idiocracy is just around the corner.

idiocracy

Then I spent the afternoon feeling ashamed of myself for being such a terrible snob. As xkcd points out in this cartoon:

idiocracy 2So, as usual I overthought the whole thing and got myself into a state of not-knowing-what-I-think. Which is sometimes a bit depressing. Then I started to sort out a few files and came across something that cheered me up. A Word document where I’d started making notes of family conversations that made me laugh. I’d forgotten about it. But here’s what I’ve collected so far:

1.

Me: … you know I’m right
Spouse: Yes. That’s why I’m ignoring you.
Spouse: (writes in small notebook) Wife is getting more annoying by the day. Must poison her soon.

2.

Son 2: I didn’t get the grades I needed.
Me: Oh, what did you get?
Son 2: three Bs, but I phoned up the university and made the history lecturer laugh and he said I’d got in anyway.
Me: Oh good.
Son 2: Buy me things.
Me: No, your reward is your own glory.
Son 2: I have enough glory already. When I walk through the streets, admirers attach themselves to my underbelly.

3.

Spouse (sweeping): “I’ve gathered all the dust in one place. Would you like to see it?”

4.

Spouse: We’ve made quite a lot on eBay this month.
Me: That’s good.
Spouse: If we took some nude photos of you and put them up we’d make loads of money
Me: I think you slightly overestimate my marketability
Spouse: No – LOADS of people like pictures of freaks.

5.

Spouse: “I woke up from a snooze earlier, wandered into the kitchen, lifted the lid of the bin, whipped my willy out and thought, “oh, this is the bin.” Then I checked to see if anyone was looking and went into the toilet.”

.
It doesn’t matter if intelligent civilisation is on the decline. I’m laughing all the way to the bottom.

.

Number 12 in my occasional series of Empty Nest coping strategies

Nobody has pointed out to me that I put 11 suggestions in my list of 10 ways to deal with an impending empty nest (which is here): http://throbbingsofnoontide.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/10-ways-to-deal-with-an-impending-empty-nest-2/

But I did.

Today we found another one.

12. Swerve into Pets At Home on an impulse and spend a whole hour getting in the way of young people cleaning out rodent cages, flailing a camera and planning a gigantic Degu cage in your tiny house because you have discovered that Degu respond to your whistle like you are the Messiah prophesied in their holy book .

Image

This hamster is posing in a futuristic dystopia.

Image

This hamster has been imbibing an unwholesome fungus it found in a fake log

These degu are pleading with us to lead them to the promised land.

Egg-based violence

I received a message from a man called Tony in response to my violent crime clipart.  He made, I felt, a valid point:

“These are all very good, but is there an intermediate level of violent clipart? Perhaps a Chinese burn, an eye poke, a wedgie and a bit of a shove with an accompanying ‘Grrr’ would help complete the set.”

While I was reflecting on the possibilities of this, I suddenly remembered an incident of low-level violence carried out by a member of my own family.

When my mum was young, she once waited on a bridge to drop an egg on the head of a girl she hated. I have drawn a representation of this in which my mother is bald:

This is clearly a case of premeditated bullying which proves that my mum is a very bad person indeed, but the thought of our mother doing this made me and my brother laugh until we nearly did a wee. Our laughter was not moderated in the slightest by the information that mum’s victim was called Gun. This took place in a country where Gun is not a hilarious name, but it finished my brother and me off altogether.

The universe did not let my young mother off entirely scot-free for her evil deeds though, because she did have to wear glasses that made her look a bit like this: