Monday, November 02, 2009

A laugh in the face of adversity

And so I come to yet another week-ending where nothing has taken place that is worth mentioning. We've had the postal strike of course - the lemmings heading for the cliffs, but they can't see it. Well, I suspect that they can, they have just managed to put themselves into the hands of yet another nitwit who thinks he is far more powerful than he really is. The fool has even had the temerity to compare himself with Scargill and to add that he has more power. That must be the power of self-delusion, a wonderful thing.

So - nothing to report at all.

Instead I will tell a little story that happened a couple of weeks ago here in the wonderful world of Long Lartin jail. But before I start, I'd better point out, as I'm sure you're all aware by now, that I am not allowed to use the names of any members of staff. They are all hiding their identities - from the Taliban, the general public, Special Branch, even their own families, for all I know. Whatever the case may be, their identities must remain confidential, so I must either make names up or call them nothing at all.

This story, then, concerns a female member of staff - Miss Nothing-At-All.

One day, a couple of weeks ago, I was standing leaning on the rail watching a couple of the fellows playing snooker down below me, on the ground floor - and let me just point out here that John Higgins has nothing to worry about from these two. So there I stood, or leant, and I must have had a pensive look on my visage because Miss Nothing-At-All, who had been passing, found it necessary to stop and say, in a sympathetic manner, "Are you all right, Frank?"

Well, show a greyhound a hare and he will go for it.

"As a matter of fact, no, I'm not," said I.

"Oh," says she, leaning on the railing next to me and getting comfy for a chat, "What's the trouble?"

"Well," says I, "it's my brother Tommy."

"What's wrong with him?"

I sighed, heartfelt too. "He's a lot older than me, (I'm the oldest in the family) and he isn't all that well to start with . He lives in one of those sheltered housing things, you know, a flat in a block with a sort of caretaker looking after the old people."

"Oh," says she, "I know what you mean. My auntie lives in one."

"Well," says I, "our Tommy hadn't been seen for weeks so a couple of the family went round there with the police and the social services and they knocked on the door for ages but they couldn't get any answer."

"What did they do?" asked Miss Nothing-At-All, doing a good job of sounding concerned.

"Well," said I with yet another sigh, "they did the only thing they could do, they kicked the door in and went in. The whole place was stinking and they found opened tins of dog food all over the place - some had been half eaten and still had forks stuck in them. They found our Tommy lying on the floor in the kitchenette."

"Oh God!" says she, "Was it food poisoning?"

"Nah!" said I. "He'd broken his neck trying to lick his own bollocks!"

Now, most folk would find that quite amusing - I did, but then I have a twisted sense of humour. Miss Nothing-At-All said, "That's horrible!" and went on her way. Obviously another one of those who take themselves far too seriously and, as they say in Ireland, are 'slightly up themselves'.

I tell people that they have to learn to laugh in the face of adversity. The alternative is to cry our eyes out, and I forgot how to cry a long time ago. Who was it who said, "When we get old nobody gives us time to cry"? Oh! I know! That would be me.

The Voice In The Wilderness

No comments: