Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Wow, What A Lovely Gift

The story that I wrote for the newspaper this week suggests that I didn’t like or appreciate the gift I received from a secret Santa colleague at work. Nothing could be further from the truth of course as it will come in very handy in the future whenever I can’t think of things to write about. Which is most weeks as it happens. I genuinely don’t know who purchased the gift but I’m very grateful for it and the story that follows is obviously fabricated for comic effect. That was the intention anyway.

Last week, during the twelve hour food and drink binge that constituted our office Christmas ‘lunch’, there came the time to open presents received under our not-so-secret-Santa gift exchange programme. In the past, this has always been one of those grin-and-bear-it moments for me when I end up with something that was either intended for someone else (chocolate penis anyone?) or was picked up at the local petrol station at the last moment (jumbo-sized sponge and a disposable barbeque).

This year however, I was more hopeful. For weeks now I’ve been dropping obvious hints that I’d quite like one of those new fangled iPod thingys and was confident my Santa would be able to stretch his or her £10 budget in a creative way to meet my needs. Then, as one of Scotland’s foremost fashion leaders, I would be able to write about the iPod trend in this column and let you know whether I think it has any future or not in modern society. (I think not.)

As the gifts were distributed, my excitement increased to near pants-wetting levels as an iPod-shaped parcel headed my way. It was heavy and rectangular and it didn’t rattle so I shut my eyes, tore off the wrapping paper and uncovered… a book!

“Wow, a book!” I exclaimed through all the grinning and bearing and as I turned it over I was praying it would have a title along the lines of ‘An Idiot’s Guide to Surviving in Modern Society Without an iPod’. My grin didn’t slip an inch as I casually announced, “Wow, the Best Book of Useless Information EVER. Thanks very much Santa.”

As I excused myself to go and conduct a ten minute weeping session in the office toilets, my mind was racing about the long term consequences of this injustice. What was I going to write about now? How would the general public be able to make an informed choice about this iPod phenomenon if I wasn’t there to guide them through it? No way could I now just assault the senses of readers with these obscure facts published in handy, easy to follow subject headings.

Like the chapter dedicated to The Beatles for example. Who in their right mind would want to learn that at the end of ‘A Day In The Life’, an ultrasonic whistle, audible only to dogs, was recorded by Paul for his Shetland sheepdog? And would people really be sent rushing to their CD collection if I was to tell them that at exactly 2.58 seconds into ‘Hey Jude’, you can hear John say in the background, ‘I f***ed it up’?

Then there was the chapter covering injuries and illnesses. I could just imagine the torrent of supplementary questions I’d receive if I was to reveal that in 1992, 5,840 people checked into emergency rooms with ‘pillow-related injuries’. Or the fact that breast reduction is the most common plastic surgery performed on American men.

As well as the short and snappy facts, this chapter contained cautionary tales which are also best left unrepeated. Like the story of the woman in Germany who came home to find her husband in the kitchen shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current, she whacked him with a handy plank of wood breaking his arm in two places. Until that moment, he had been happily listening to his Walkman. Didn’t I tell you iPods have no future?

So no, I won’t be bothering you this week with any trivia from my secret Santa gift. Instead, let me tell you about the new book I’m writing. It’s called ‘An Idiot’s Guide to…’


At 26/12/05 4:44 pm, Blogger Green Glass Beads said...

Happy christmas. And wrens day. And new year. Here, we knew Roy was going to Celtic dint we? Brillopads!work blocked my blog but i will somehow still write. just less. thank god sez you...x

At 27/12/05 4:09 am, Blogger The Other Half said...

thanks for that neil...i'll go spank your penguin now...


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