- You react impulsively by swinging your arm. Lashing out blindly, and with the co-ordination of a stoned chimp, you slap yourself around the face, knocking out two teeth. If you weren't awake 5 seconds ago, you bloody well are now!
- You reach around for the light switch, only to hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. A jet of cold cat piss shoots into your face. F*cking alarm clock!
- After wiping your eyes on your pillow case, you fumble around some more and finally locate the light switch. The room lights up, blinding you like a rabbit caught in headlights. With blurry eyes you glance around, as if expecting Dracula to be standing by your bed with a big smirk on his face and a small trickle of blood running down his chin. He's not there. Shit... this is going to be more difficult than you thought.
- You engage in a game of insect hide and seek. However, you're at a disadvantage because mosquitos are masters of disguise - they are the chameleon ninjas of the insect world. You try to hunt him out, but he's craftily transformed into a lamp, a sock or the March 2012 issue of Playboy. As a result you can't find him. Feeling wearier by the minute, you slump into a chair and wait for him to make the next move.
- An hour passes and he hasn't made an appearance. In a desperate attempt to resume your slumber, you stumble around the room randomly hitting and moving things, hoping for some movement. He, in the meantime, is having a good old giggle at your pathetic attempt to find him. It's a complete mismatch in size terms, but the little bastard is beating you.
- After a further hour of searching, and having enlisted the help of binoculars, you spot him clinging to a cupboard by the far wall. Grabbing something substantial (the February 2012 issue of Playboy), you tiptoe slowly towards him. As you reach striking range you take a big swing and... bang!!!! A colossal chunk of plaster falls to the floor. Sadly for you, the mosquito isn't under it - he flew off a millisecond before Miss February's ample cleavage had a chance to make contact with his tiny head. You're now faced with a new challenge - focussing your eyes on where he goes next. You go cross-eyed as he does three circuits of the lampshade before heading towards the dark bookcase and then... he's vanished again.
- You repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 endlessly until you collapse onto the floor with exhaustion. Beaten.
- A big, hairy man with tattoos on his knuckles; spelling out the words 'bad ass muva'.
- A tourettes sufferer.
- An Abba tribute band. It might consist of them walking up and down my back for an hour singing the greatest hits of Abba. Painful - too painful!
- A time machine. Your bread will disappear for twenty minutes, only to re-appear looking exactly the same as it went in.
- A cremation furnace. You pop your bread in and, 10 seconds later, a pile of ash falls out onto the tray (the ash may or may not resemble the face of someone famous from history... possibly someone who was cremated)
Today I received an email reply from someone that I had previously had correspondance with (he sent an enquiry to me, I replied). However, this particular email from him was less than kind about me, so I felt obliged to respond in my own way. It’s number 6 in my collection of pointless letters…
Thank you for your reply - your kind comments are more than I deserve. And thank you for your fabulous range of natty images - I found myself smiling and chuckling at them for seconds on end. Just to confirm - in the photo below your name, are you the human or the cat? I’ve never received an email from a cat before, so I’m understandably excited. :)
I have to completely agree with you - I am officially the most stupid person in the world and I have a certificate to prove it (I made it myself using the back of a cornflakes packet and some felt… the only problem was that I had an accident with the glue and now it’s stuck to the kitchen floor). With regards to my education, I like to think that I proved my teachers wrong when they said that my brain was smaller than the salad section in a Scottish supermarket. I left college with two GCSE certificates - in mouthwash gargling and plug-hole hair removal - before spending 15 years at university, eventually graduating with a degree in wok polishing.
For years I’ve yearned to be a Grounds Keeper, but sadly the only job they would give me was answering enquiries from cats such as yourself. This job and the part time job counting toe nail clippings for the local chiropodist (he likes to collect them for his world record attempt) earn me just enough to fund my heating bills, keep my cupboards stocked with spam and baked beans and feed the pet zebra that I keep in my bathroom (toilet trips are a safari all of their own).
Coming back to your enquiry, you gave me a simple question and I gave you three simple answers. Here is another one - we have a collection of 250,000 medical abbreviations and you can search either by individual abbreviation (EG: “BID” - Twice Daily) or by definition (“twice daily”, in this case). As you are aware, there is more than one abbreviation for frequency of medication and we do not have a page containing a set defined list. If we did, we would probably call it “Abbreviations For Medication Frequency” and include some animated images such as a cat wagging its tail and a weird blinking Star Trek Klingon with a hand that looks like a man’s bottom.
I hope this clears things up for you. I’m going to close this email now as it’s becoming longer than Rapunzel’s pubic hair.
Have a wonderful day - don’t get too high on catnip.
Robert P.S: If you would like to come around and look at my certificate at any point, you’d be most welcome. Also, if you have a wok that needs polishing, I’m your man…
This morning I received an email from Sage that tugged at my heart strings and begged to be replied to. However, me being me meant that my reply had to be one of my, now infamous, pointless letters.
Here’s the conversation thread, with her email appearing first…
Subject: Hello, stallion! Stop killing your time surfing the Web and come to me!
My name is Sage. In three words about myself – pretty, mad and free. I get so lonely from time to time these days. Why a well-hung fellow like you shouldn’t call a lustful queen like me to spend the most splendid time together? Do you prefer to play hard or is it more enjoyable for you to make it slowly dwelling on each moment? I can realize every fantasy you have. Look at my profile right now and let us fly away together! (link)
Subject: Your stallion is here, my love…
In three words about myself - old, bald and flatulent.
Thank you for your delightful email. I have to say that I feel flattered and as soon as I read your email I knew you were the one for me. It’s lovely of you to say that I’m well-hung - that’s the first time anyone has uttered those words to me. Normally, I receive comments expressing shock, disappointment and disbelief… the nickname ‘pee wee’ has been uttered on more than one occasion.
For several years I’ve yearned for a lustful queen to spend splendid time with. So your timing couldn’t be more opportune… if also several years late. I won’t hold that against you though. I mean, they say that you happen upon love just when you least expect it. Well, imagine my surprise for it to arrive via an email this very morning. Lucky for you, I have recently become single following a split with my girlfriend. She was a nice girl… someone once said that if she had two more legs she could have starred in a Western. I’m not quite sure what they meant by that…
I would love to have a look at your profile before I decide to fly away with you. It’s a sensible suggestion because I don’t know what you look like (not that that matters, as we are certain to spend splendid time together). I should, however, like to check whether you’re a 6ft tall blonde with the features of a supermodel or a bald, 4ft dwarf with a big nose. It makes sense, you see - if it’s the latter then I can book you a child seat on the plane…
How lovely of you to enquire about my preferences. I have to say that I like to play hard, particularly when challenging my cat Geoffrey to a game of tiddlywinks. He’s a bad ass, you see, and he takes no prisoners. I initially gave him a home after finding him on the street at night, bullying beggars out of their hard earned change. I’m hoping that with time he will recover from his addiction to prostitutes, gambling and glue sniffing.
I must admit that I really love the thought that you can realise every fantasy I have. Indeed, if you have the connections to order me a unicorn, and get it to stand in a bath of custard whilst I eat my dinner off its back then that would truly make my day. Oh, and Geoffrey has requested a blonde call-girl, carrying a vat of UHU (he’s cutting down to a less-addictive form of glue).
Love and hugs always.
Onion P.S: Let’s make stuffing together.
Let me ask you a question: Why don’t they make alarm clocks with a mosquito sound? I can’t think of anything guaranteed to get you out of bed swifter than that irritating, high-pitched whine… with the possible exception of your cat peeing on your head. However, I would speculate that alarm clock sales might decline with a cat urine spray as the featured wake-up call. One can only speculate on the consequences of hitting ‘snooze’ - perhaps you might be awakened 10 minutes later with a vomit-soaked fur ball.
Following on from that bizarre introduction, let me tell you a story about how one clever little mosquito’s big appetite ended up costing him dearly. If I was a super-villain then this would be a most timely moment to include an evil laugh. Oh what the hell… MUHAHAHAAAAAA!!!
For the purposes of this tale I have taken the decision to name the mosquito Colin, if only to add personality and dramatic effect when I kill him off at the end. I agree that ‘Colin’ doesn’t seem like a very ferocious name for a supremely despised, blood-sucking creature. But then you haven’t met my bank manager.
On the right is a picture of Colin - to add additional persona to his character. Obviously the picture isn’t actually of Colin. I didn’t have time to ask him to pose for a series of candid portrait drawings before sending him on his way to mosquito heaven. With forethought I’d have perhaps considered taking ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs to publish on billboards as a warning to other mosquitos not to mess with me. Kind-of like the ‘Don’t Drink And Drive’ campaigns. A possible slogan off the top of my head: ‘Don’t Whine And Dine!’ I think it’s got legs… which is more than can be said for Colin - one of his legs is still dangling limply from my curtain. I’m leaving it there as a trophy.
Allow me to set the scene a little. It was a warm Wednesday night and I had just returned from a night of drinking, singing and merriment in a local Cancun bar… with the added entertainment of watching one particular young lady (Christine) chase cockroaches around the room with a mop, in a mild state of hysteria. Cockroaches are said to be the only creatures capable of surviving a nuclear holocaust - they’re “hard bastards” - so I can’t think that being chased by a stick with a wig (poor Christine needs to put on some weight) would have them particularly quaking in their little boots.
At the end of the evening, and having had rather enough of insects, I made my way home and into bed. All was peaceful. And then a few minutes later it happened… a whining sound coming from behind my ear. Being that I’m not married, I immediately twigged that I had a mosquito problem.
What happened next? Well I’m sure you’ve all been in this position yourselves, so I will quickly summarise the principles involved with solving a nighttime mosquito situation…
Back to my story now and, after waking to the sound of Colin’s dulcet tones, I discovered that he had cheekily tucked into an appetiser. He’d bitten me on my chin. Of all the delicious parts of me that he could have chosen to start with, he chose my chin. I deduced from this fact that he was either incredibly bright or incredibly stupid. Here’s the logic behind my thinking:
Incredibly bright - he lands on my chin, I go to hit him and knock myself out. He then continues to invite all his friends over for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Incredibly stupid - of all the places to chow down into, the chin is surely the least appetising. It’s a bit like me killing a cow and then chomping on his buttocks. I’ve never eaten cow buttock, so I really don’t know how it tastes. However, I suspect that if it was truly delicious then cow buttock would feature prominently on steak restaurant menus. I feel I should point out that I’m not comparing my face to a cow’s arse and any resemblance is purely coincidental (and a little cruel if you ask me).
So what did I do next? Well I was tired, half-drunk and I couldn’t be bothered to start searching around for the little sod. Instead I sprayed myself with insect repellent and hid under the covers. I didn’t hear from Colin for the rest of the night. But, if I thought that that would be the last I heard of him then I was wrong…
Colin re-appeared the next evening. I can only think that he got a bad case of the munchies (having only sampled my chin the previous night) because he attacked me when the light was on. I saw his approach from a mile off, moving off the bed and goading him with a confident demeanour of someone who knew the game had changed in his favour. I waited for him to land on the curtain next to me and then, as he settled, I was all over him like a fat kid on a cupcake. Revenge was mine… MUHAHAHAAAAAA!!! (I’m beginning to enjoy these evil laughs!)
So it transpires that Colin wasn’t particularly bright after all. He certainly won’t be renewing his Mensa membership next year, let alone his Playboy subscription…
Having had fun with origami money boats two days ago, today I took the opportunity to jump into a boat of my own. Thankfully this particular boat was not crafted out of paper, which I think is a fairly good thing when you’re cruising across a crocodile-infested lagoon. I haven’t studied crocodiles a lot (I can’t bloody find one for a start - they’re clearly afraid of cameras), but I suspect that if I stood in front of Mr Croc whilst holding a beautifully crafted paper swan, he wouldn’t be admiring the quality of my paper folding.
We had booked in for a one hour Jungle Tour as a group of four people; Christian, Sarah, Christine and myself. Arriving at dockside in the late afternoon, our first task was to read and sign their disclaimer form. It was the usual arrangement; in the event of death as a result of turning the boat over, hitting a tree or being eaten by a crocodile they lay claim to your house, children and priceless collection of Justin Bieber memorabilia.
I must point out that it was only after initially signing their disclaimer form that we were given our safety equipment. There appeared to be good reason for this, as having donned my life jacket I felt about as safe as a man walking into a cage of hungry lions dressed as a pork chop. I can only presume that the purpose of our life jackets was to make us slightly more chewy when being masticated by a crocodile. The safety equipment in our boats wasn’t much better, consisting mostly of four inflatable plastic tampons attached to the boat sides as buoyancy, two of which had more holes than a colander.
Having inspected the ‘safety equipment,’ we were introduced to our guide Martinez. Now, its very important I get his name right as he did say to us that if we enjoyed ourselves we should make sure “not to forget” him. I realise that in some parts of the world this can be a hint to leave a big tip. But I got the impression that on this occasion he just felt unloved, the poor guy.
So let me introduce our guide Manuel to you - approximately 5ft 6 tall, 41 years old, Mexican, dark hair, fat, with a medium-sized moustache, Gemini with a hairy back and mild halitosis.
Before we jumped in our speed boats, we were taken through the in-depth safety briefing and important safety signals. Being in Mexico, we were unsurprised by the amount of thought and effort they’d put into their set of safety signals; one arm in the air moving up and down for ‘slow down’, a lasso motion for ‘speed up’, two arms waving in the air for us to signal “help!!!!” and one arm in the air with ‘v for victory’ sign for “I’ve just successfully thrown my passenger out of the boat and she’s currently having her leg chewed off by a large croc.”
After our 10 second safety briefing, we clambered into our boats. I was with Christine - approximately 5ft 3, American, brown and purple hair, slim, slight moustache and with a mild kamikaze attitude. She didn’t ask me “not to forget” her - God, I only wish I could - I’m just getting into the swing of describing people.
We set off at speed - our guide Mauricio in the lead boat, Christine and I in the second boat and Christian and Sarah in the third. And when I say “set off at speed,” I mean just that. Our guide Malcolm sped off into the distance like he was late for his appointment at the local whore house. Perhaps if I’d seen more of him during the trip, rather than just as a speck in the distance, remembering him wouldn’t be such a problem. We stuck the throttle fully down and set off after him. I tried my very best to be as unsafe as possible with some kamikaze steering in order to cut the distance to our guide and generally increase the risk of Christine losing her Justin Bieber collection.
Now, at the very beginning of this story you may remember that I said that we were on the ‘Jungle Tour.’ In all honesty they might as well have called it the Tour De France, such was the amount of actual jungle in the ‘Jungle Tour.’ It was only after about 25 minutes of wave jumping, salt-water-in-the-face, mental driving that we actually reached anything that could be described as ‘jungle.’ A row of trees on either side of a winding strip of water and a single stork bird standing to attention like a guard at the entrance. The stork - approximately 2.7ft tall, slim, thin legs, Capricorn, bipolar - seemed quite happy to stand in the crocodile-infested water and watch us sail on by. I suspect there was a reason why there was only one stork - his friends had been eaten by crocodiles, with their legs used as post-meal cocktail sticks.
Having made our way through the (3.4) trees, we were now approaching half way. There was just time to drive slowly past an area with adults and children swimming (which we nicknamed the crocodile ‘cafeteria’) and a bridge with people on it, all staring down at us wondering what we were doing. I’m pretty sure that some of them had never seen a boat before, such was their reaction. Perhaps the bridge wasn’t connected to any land. They certainly looked miserable, so I stood up and gave them a big two-handed wave to try to cheer them up. Just as I did so, our guide Matthew screeched to a halt, executed a very swift 180 degree turn and began speeding back towards us. It became apparent that, in my over-exuberance to wave at the miserable bastards on the bridge, I had inadvertently given the ‘SOS, emergency, holy shit! Help!!’ signal. Oops!
After apologising for the ‘SOS’ incident, we sped on to the half way point. It was now time to turn around and head home, traveling back past the ‘cafeteria’, underneath the bridge (remembering not to wave), past the pile of stork bones and back across the second section of the lagoon. We did so with no more incidents, mostly thanks to some more sensible piloting by Captain Christine.
Arriving back at the dock we clambered off the boats. It had been a really fun trip - one that would live long in the memory, along with our guide… errr… Bill. No, shit… what was it?
Having finished our Jungle Tour, I felt it timely that I re-assured our guide Margaret that I would remember him for eternity (someone needed to boost his self-esteem, the poor bloke). I took his photo and told him that I would frame it and hang it on my lounge wall. As he stood with his hands out, palms facing the heavens, and staring at me with sad looking eyes, I felt for him. I ran towards him and embraced him with a big squeezy hug - one that would provide him with enough love to last a very long time. As I stood back and stared into his (now rather shocked looking) eyes, I could tell he appreciated the gesture. In fact, he continued standing there in the same position with the same expression for a very long time as we strolled away…
I chanced upon a website a few days ago called I Found Money Today. Owned by George Resch, the website is dedicated to his social experiment in anonymous giving. The premise is simple: he leaves small amounts of money in public places with the idea that someone will find the money. He has no control over who finds it or what they do with it. However, just by initiating this random act of kindness he makes a difference to the lives of other people - changing their mood, giving them a spike of emotion and maybe providing them with a sense that they’re not alone in the world. I think we can be sure that through his social experiments he has affected a number of people in a positive way, and who knows what might have happened as a result of that. It’s not just about George either, through his blog he has inspired other people to try it.
As part of my fabulous life (something I count myself as fortunate for having) I like to engage in random acts of kindness. From simple things like leaving a Creme Egg in a lift at Easter to giving away bunches of flowers to random strangers, these acts always give me a sense of belonging. Having visited George’s website, I decided that I wanted to have a go of my own at anonymously leaving some money. So I did…
I spent last night brainstorming my plan. Rather than leaving a note hanging to a tree or attached to a building, I wanted to try something a little different. So I built a boat. Do you want to see it? Of course you do. Here it is…
Lovely isn’t it? Even though I say so myself. On the side of the boat I wrote ‘soy tuya’ which, for those of you who don’t know Spanish, means “I’m yours.” I considered it a nicer message than “up yours.” Attached to the boat was a 100 Peso note (roughly about £5) and, for artistic effect, I crafted a sail out of a (non-used) cotton bud and some paper. So what was my plan for my little boat of money (HMS Ally)? Well my idea was to take it to the shopping village next door and place it in the water fountain in the middle of the main square. There it could be chanced upon by literally anyone. Although, saying that, the odds were slightly in favour of those people living in Mexico. It was highly unlikely that an eskimo would be finding it, for example.
This morning I set about constructing my boat. Everything went smoothly and as I finished attaching the sail I sat back to admire my creation. Just a quick photograph and I’d be ready to go… or so I thought…
I took the boat outside to photograph it next to the pool. The first photograph was good. But as I moved in to get another, a gust of wind hit the sail and sent the boat catapulting into the water in a scene slightly reminiscent of The Perfect Storm. It was a disaster. A maritime disaster.
After rescuing the money from the boat, and discarding the wet shipwreck into the bin, I grabbed another sheet of paper and began to build HMS Ally II. Once again I attached a sail and fastened my (now dry) note to the mast. All was good - my boat was in ship shape and ready to go. There was just time to get some photos by the pool, this time holding on to the boat. Here is the masterpiece…
and from the other side…
Boat in hand, I made my way to the shopping village with my friend Christian. Sitting down, we scoped out the location. As we did so, we noticed a security guard keeping a watchful gaze. Timing would be crucial in this attempt. As the security guard moved from his position, it was ‘go for launch.’ I went for it…
The attempt was successful. HMS Ally II was afloat. It was time to retreat and leave my little boat to float on until some unsuspecting passer by saw it and took their opportunity. As I looked back, only the sail was visible…
So who ended up with the money? Well who knows? My only hope is that whoever picked it out of the water ended up with a smile on their face as well as 100 Pesos in their pocket. One thing’s for sure - by George, it was fun.
I receive a lot of emails from offshore web design companies asking if we would like to outsource our work to them. Normally I send the emails straight to the virtual grey, round filing cabinet without reading them. However, for some reason I read this guy’s first email and it irked me a little (always a bad thing). And he then followed it up with two more emails, which irked me a bit more. So I decided to hit him with one of my Pointless Letters. Here’s the thread, with his emails appearing first…
His First Email...
Dear Sir/Madam, I am Peter, Business Development Manager, We are an INDIA based Web Services Company with primary focus on Website Designing & Development.
We have our competency in CMS (Joomla, Modx, Mambo and other quality Content Management System) and e-commerce website. As many as 90% websites do not bring business to their potential because they do not appeal to the target audience. And the reason most visitors leave a website is because of a complex design and navigation. So is your website really customer-ready? Not really, if we go by the analysis of our experts. With an experience of developing more than 2500 websites successfully, we can help you earn more business from your website if you are ready to redesign your website. Most of our clients have benefited from our expertise. Most firms from UK, USA, Canada and Australia overseas have achieved a significant amount of savings by outsourcing either complete or part of their work to us in India. We wish you the best of luck and looking forward to a long and healthy business relationship with you. Getting started is easy. Just mail us and we will definitely help you to achieve your business goals and objectives. I look forward to your reply.
Peter Business Development Manager Disclaimer: The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those, who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers, and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the guidelines, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to control it.
His Second Email...
Hope you are doing well. Haven't heard back from you, just wondering if you are interested in our services. Let me know if you are interested and we can discuss this further. I look forward to your response.
His Third Email...
I am Waiting for your response yet…… Kindly let us know if you are interested in our services, so that we can discuss it further. We will be happy to assist you and looking for your positive response. I look forward to your response.
I hope you don’t mind me calling you Pete. Actually, I’ve changed my mind. Can I call you Greg? Thanks Greg.
Having read your response regarding my non-response to your response to your original email, I feel duty bound to respond. I am the Response Manager and my responsibility lies with responding to responses questioning lack of response. I do hope that makes sense.
Anyway, I reviewed your initial email and you’re absolutely right. Award yourself a big gold star and stick it to your handsome forehead, Crazy Chops. Our website is not ‘customer ready’. However, I’m sure that when I make you aware of our very niche target market, you’ll sink to your knees in amazement and realise the genius behind our work. We are actually the leading website in the world for meerkats with drink problems. That’s right - LEADING!
Now Betty, I know what you’re thinking (I hope you don’t mind the name change. I hate the name Greg - every Greg I’ve ever met in my life has been a crazy, deluded psychopath!). You’re wondering how you might be able to help us become EVEN BETTER. Well, let me lay it out for you big boy…
I believe that we could utilise your skills in Wordpress, Joomia, Modx, Jamiroquai, Scrabble and Deal Or No Deal to help us reach out to other possible target audiences. For example, elephants with halitosis or chipmunks with a gambling addiction. I’m sure you’ll appreciate that these are big markets with the potential to earn us millions of jelly babies every month.
As you can imagine, I look forward to seeing what proposals you might have for us. Not marriage ones though - we’re not in to that, unless you’re prepared line our hands with gold (or our stomachs with Gummy Berry Juice)
Anyway, I await your email with bated breath. However, with that said, I won’t be holding my breath for a response.
Yours truly, forever and ever, ‘til death do us part.
Disclaimer: The Can Of Spam Act of 2003 requires me to recommend to you a pre-cooked meat product after every email. I would like to assure you that spam can be delicious, especially when served in between two slices of pre-toasted bread, perhaps with the addition of an optional slice of cheese (note that cheese is not automatically included). If you wish to opt out of eating said pork product, you can do so by choosing not to open your mouth.
This afternoon, I had an online chat with a customer service representative from a well-known software company. Often chats like this can be dull, so I was determined to make it a little more interesting. However, he partially managed to do that himself with his incompetence at clicking wrong buttons for set phrases. Here’s the script of the chat…
You are now chatting with William from Customer Services.
William: Is there anything else I can help you with? William: Hello! Welcome to Customer Services. William: Sorry for the first statement.
Robert: No worries, you must have clicked the wrong button. These things happen.
William: Hi Robert.
William: May I please have your email address registered with your account while I review your request?
Robert: Yes, it’s …@…. (but only on weekends)
William: Thank you. William: I understand that you have ordered the software and did not receive the download link to your account. Am I right?
Robert: I’ve received the link to the login page but, I don’t know what to log in with…
William: I am sorry to hear that.
Robert: Thank you, that means a lot.
William: Welcome, Let me see how best I can help you with this issue. May I place you on hold for 2-3 minutes while I check for the information.
Robert: Sure, please go ahead. Am I allowed to hum the theme to Two And A Half Men whilst I wait? Robert: “men men men, menmen menmen men, men men men…”
William: Thank you for waiting. One moment please.
Robert: You’re welcome. I hope you don’t mind, but whilst I have been waiting I’ve been vacuuming and dusting (this office needs a damn good clean, I tell you! Are any of your friends cleaners, by any chance?)
William: Thank you for the patience.
Robert: That’s what my Doctor said yesterday when I took some of my ill friends in for their flu inoculations…
William: Sorry for the wait. Please do stay online.
Robert: I’m quite happy to do that, so long as I don’t have an urgent need to pee, bake a cake or polish my wok…
William: Not to worry, I will send you the reset password link to your email address. please login to this email and click on the password link to reset the password. Is that fine with you?
Robert: Yes, please do. Thank you. How long is the email likely to take? Is it going to be instant or should I get a sleeping bag?
William: Thank you for the patience.
Robert: That’s what my Doctor said this morning when I took some of my ill family members in for their flu inoculations…
William: I have sent you the password link. Please login to this email and click on the password link to reset the password.
Robert: Ok. I’m waiting for the email - do you know how long it might take? (I’m just wondering if I have time to hang the washing out?)
William: Let me check information for you.
Robert: Thank you.
William: Here’s the link: please click on the link to reset the password.
Robert: Perfect - that’s worked.
William: That’s great! Is there anything else I can help you with?
Robert: No, that’s all. Thanks William. If only everyone in the world was as helpful and efficient as you. May you be blessed with happiness, good fortune and a large tub of cottage cheese…
William: You may receive an email survey in reference to this interaction. Your feedback is very much appreciated.
Robert: Sure. I’ll suggest they give you a big, gold star and promote you to management. I think I’ve asked this before, but are any of your friends cleaners?
William: It’s my pleasure serving you. William: Since we have not heard from you for some time, we will now end this chat. Please click to chat with us again if we can be of further assistance. William: Sorry for the last statement. William: Thank you for contacting us. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Goodbye!
Robert: The pleasure has been all mine. Robert: What have you done with my cat!? Robert: Sorry for the last statement (clicked the wrong button!).
With the Internet businesses I run, I receive a lot of feedback emails. The majority are really pleasant and useful, and I reply in-kind. But, just occasionally, I receive one that gets my goat. I mean, it’s not difficult to be pleasant, is it? So, today, because I was in a funny mood, I decided to reply with one of my pointless letters. His email was about the search engine on one of my websites.
Here is the email I received…
I entered the sought after abbreviation with a few leading and trailing spaces. Your search engine failed to find any expansion. This is a very poor show on your part. It's the programmers' duty to remove leading and trailing spaces, Not the users'. Please let me know when this has been fixed.
Thank you for your email. Your suggestion to remove spaces is one of the best we have received this week, second only to the idea of strapping flapjacks to pigs, which we are currently looking into (you should see the prototype, it really is something to behold).
Far from being a company who simply jump in and adopt every suggestion that comes our way, we like to take time to assess the positives and negatives of every suggestion. Yours is no exception. I’m excited to be able to tell you that we only found one negative, and it is this. As I’m sure you’re aware, several spaces in a row can make an abbreviation in itself. It is commonly used for giving a person time to think and breathe. Without these spaces, people may be forced to not take pauses between words or sentences, whichwouldbeterribleandmakeitverydifficulttounderstandwhattheyaresaying.
Despite coming up with that particular negative, we can see no others. So, I’m delighted to be able to tell you that we have taken your feedback onboard and have updated our search system to include this fantastic new feature. Now, although I’d like to take the development of our search engine a step further in assisting you and make it prepare you a mug of Bovril, massage your feet at the end of a long day and wipe your bottom for you, i regret that I won’t be able to do that. Still, don’t let that stop you from doing those things yourself, eh?
Please don’t let what I’ve said detract from the fact that your suggestion was a very good one. I have no doubt that it will improve the lives of tens of people throughout the world, all of whom might have been unable to fathom the idea of removing a space from before or after their search term before carrying out their search. May they be eternally grateful and send you Christmas cards year after year… assuming they can lick their own stamp for the envelope…
The morning of my hot stone massage arrived. Having awoken late, and with the massage due to start at 11am, I thought it best not to go overboard with breakfast. One full English breakfast, a mound of toast and fifteen pastries later, I was questioning whether I’d overdone it, as the waiter wheeled me out of the restaurant in a wheelbarrow. I was soon to find out - my massage was due to begin in 30 minutes.
Arriving in the massage suite, I was greeted by a cheerful lady receptionist - a change from the man that was managing the place two days earlier. The lady handed me a disclaimer form - exactly the same one as I had filled out two days previous. I was able to re-assure her that my name was exactly as it was then and that my gender was also the same - I hadn’t had a sex change during those two days in between. Perhaps she had though - maybe this lady had been a man two days ago. I didn’t feel it was fitting to ask. I signed the form and placed it back into her hands - her big, hairy hands…
After completing the paperwork, I was led into the massage room and was, as last time, instructed to remove my outer layers and lay on the couch, covering myself over with the large brown towel. I did so, placing my suit of armour, sword and helmet on the appropriate wall hooks, and waiting for my masseuse to re-enter. She crept back into the room quietly, as if she was the tooth fairy coming in to remove a small pearly white from under my pillow and replace it with a large, silver coin.
As I was laying face down on the couch, with my head looking through the headrest at the floor, I could hear the sound of my masseuse heating up water in the background. I wondered whether she was making herself a Pot Noodle.
Now, thinking about food was probably not the best idea at that particular moment, laying on my full stomach. My regret for consuming that extra piece of toast (the one with the face resembling Lady Gaga) was growing by the minute. I checked out the masseuse’s shoes to decide whether they were expensive and would be ruined if I lost control and covered them in a full English breakfast (and fifteen pastries). I felt relieved - they looked cheap. Cheap and tacky, in fact. She clearly hadn’t made an effort…
And, then, suddenly, my back was on fire…
Wow, that’s hot. No wonder it’s called the ‘hot stone massage.'
My masseuse rubbed the oily, hot stones up and down my back in sweeping motions, before placing a stone near the bottom of my back. In the back of my mind, I feared that the stone might actually burn its way through my stomach. I had visions that I might be walking back to my room resembling a Polo mint.
The massage was relaxing - very relaxing - and I began to drift off, listening to the sound of Enya’s voice. Then, abruptly, the music stopped - mid-song. Enya had been cut off in her prime. She wouldn’t be too happy about that, I’m sure. The sound of silence remained for a few seconds, only to be broken by the noise of a frustrated man giving the music machine a good kicking out in the reception area. The guy clearly needed to chill and relax - perhaps a hot stone massage might help him? A minute or so later, the music resumed.
After my masseuse had finished on my back, I turned over. We were half way through and I was feeling very relaxed. So relaxed that even the sound of someone dragging a vacuum cleaner around in reception (perhaps vacuuming up pieces of music machine) hardly affected me much at all.
As she worked on my stiff legs, I could feel my leg muscles loosen. I can wholeheartedly recommend that if you’ve had a hard day playing sport, you place a couple of rocks into the microwave and massage them over your legs with some oil. Obviously, I’m joking about that - it’s dangerous to put rocks in the microwave. Put them in the toaster instead…
With the leg work over, my masseuse glided smoothly around the massage table and began working on my fingers; pulling each one. My mischievous side thought about letting out an enormous fart as she pulled my index finger. But, I just didn’t have it in me. Well, I did have it in me - eggs and sausages saw to that - I just didn’t want to spoil the atmosphere, so to speak.
After finishing with my arms and hands, my masseuse began prodding my stomach. Now, I don’t quite know what the point of it was, but I think she managed to find two sausages and two rashes of bacon. She was clearly a keen breakfast detective and was sniffing the scent of a major food crime. After the stomach prod, she moved on to my face. She added two small, warm stones onto my eyes. As she did this, a feeling of contentment washed over me. I was half way to achieving my life-long ambition to be a snowman. All I needed now was the carrot nose…
Fifteen minutes passed and we were in the latter stages of the massage. Throughout, she had been placing strategic pebbles on various points of my body (no, not on that one, before you ask. Cheeky!), By the end of my 80 minutes, I was beginning to resemble a pebbly beach. An oily, pebbly beach. I didn’t get the chance to dwell on how it felt to be a beach for too long before she began removing the stones. It was obviously time to start wrapping things up. Quite literally, in fact, as she wrapped a towel around my head.
After removing all of the pebbles from the various parts of my anatomy, my masseuse whispered to me that my massage was over and that I should take my time in getting up and getting dressed. I did just that - slowly sitting up and putting my suit of armour back on. I then checked under the pillow to find no large shiny coin. She wasn’t the tooth fairy after all. Damn her for lulling me into a false sense of security on that one. Still, I felt slightly contented that it could have been worse - whilst I was laying with the towel around my head, she could have stolen the money from my wallet and replaced it with a load of teeth…
With my clothes back on, and feeling suitably relaxed, I took one final glance around the room and spotted the equipment she had been using to heat the rocks. Silly me, she hadn’t been using a microwave at all, or a toaster… it was a Tefal Steamer!
Yabba dabba doo…
I thought I was being clever when I visited my local supermarket at midnight on Friday. With snowy weather forecast, everyone in the entire country was hitting the supermarket during the daylight hours to pack their house, garage and garden shed full of bread, milk and carpet shampoo. So, to compensate for this, and to ensure that I didn’t go without clean carpets, I decided to make a quick stop to my local Tesco on my way back from a night out on Friday. It was shrewd thinking - the supermarket would be empty and I could get in and out of the store really quickly. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, tiredness and hunger meant my decisions were slightly skewed. I managed to buy Easter eggs for the entire street, enough cereal to feed a small African village, 24 bags of of cat litter (I have no cat) and 15 boxes of tampons thanks to a special offer that I just couldn’t find the energy to turn down. So, ladies, if it’s that time of the month, you’ve got a cat with mild bladder weakness and you like cereal, mine’s the place to be…
Note: Please let me vacate my flat before you arrive, as I can’t bear to argue with you over which Easter egg you want most…
I have been on holiday in Mexico for over a week now, and the rigorous sessions of ping pong have been taking their toll. When you’re representing your country against Americans, Mexicans, Koreans and a short, Spanish kid with big teeth and over-hairy eyebrows, you have to work through the pain barrier. That doesn’t mean to say that you don’t suffer the next day. And, wow, was I suffering. I felt stiffer than a corpse’s pencil. I don’t know why a corpse would have a pencil, but let’s just go with it. Perhaps he was a writer?
Yesterday morning, I decided that some relaxation was in order. I booked myself in for a Swedish massage…
Now, I will be honest. Leading up to the massage, I had my fears - the main one being that my relaxing massage would be given by one of the following:
I’m pleased to say that two of my fears were immediately allayed when I arrived at the massage suite. A quick look around re-assured me that there were no hairy masseuses and no people dressed in blonde wigs and 1970s retro gear.
I paid the receptionist some money and was handed a disclaimer form. I had to confirm that my death as a result of excess pain, suffocation with a towel or drowning in oil was at my choosing. After signing my name on the death sentence, I was taken into a little room by a small Mexican lady with smooth hands and a softly spoken voice. I felt like I would be taken care of - and not in a James Bond evil villain kind-of-way. I didn’t feel the need to check to see if she had a venom-laced blade in her shoe, or a knife-wielding dwarf in the cupboard. I felt safe.
After a short chat about oils, my masseuse advised me that she would leave the room for a minute to give me time to take off my clothes, do a little naked dance around the room (she didn’t actually mention that bit, I added it in for my own pleasure) and settle myself on to the couch, covering myself up with the towel. I hid myself well under that large towel. My inner child was hoping that she would walk back in, look around the room in a confused manner and say “Mr Hazell…? Where have you gone?”
She found me. Drat!
With everything in place, it was time to begin. The relaxing music started playing - it was Enya. I have to say that when it comes to background music, Enya is to massage what smooth jazz is to soft core pornography. It just sets the mood. It helps you drift off into another world; a better world where Abba doesn’t exist and death from towel suffocation is impossible.
The masseuse started on my feet. Now, I feel the need, at this point, to confess that I am slightly ticklish. So, I’m sure you can imagine the problem here. To stop myself from bursting out in fits of giggles, I desperately tried to take my mind off the sensations occurring in my tootsies…
‘Think of something non-ticklish, think of something non-ticklish…. feathers…. Bastard, I really hate my mind sometimes…'
Mercifully, the work on my feet lasted only a minute or so, and she began to work her way up my body. After massaging my back for a while, she whispered softly in my ear to turn over. We were half-way through already. I slowly wiped the dribble off my chin and turned myself over, like a beached whale trying to roll back towards the sea (but with less blubber). She moved some towels around a bit, and then placed one around my head. I reassured myself that although I had moved one step closer to suffocation, it was still fairly unlikely.
I settled onto my back, started to relax and was gently drifting off and then… ‘Oooooh no, not the feet again. Think of something non-ticklish, think of something non-ticklish…. feather duster… for Christ’s sake!!'
Again, thankfully, the torture was short-lived, as she put my feet down and moved on to my legs.
I must confess that from there onwards, I don’t remember an enormous amount. My mind drifted and my body relaxed, as Enya warbled gently in my ear.
And then that moment came. It was over, and it was time for me to depart. “Mr Hazell,” she said, “it’s time for me to finish now. If you would just like to take some time for yourself before dressing and meeting me outside.”
I wondered to myself, ‘how much time can I legitimately take? Would 7 hours seem excessive?’ I then raised myself from the couch, with a towel still wrapped roughly around my head, and prepared to get myself dressed. Now was definitely not the time to do another silly, naked dance around the room. It would be inappropriate. Oh, sod it…
I strolled out to meet my masseuse - walking a little bit like a spaceman who had just landed on the moon. She offered me some cold tea (it was supposed to be cold, they weren’t just lazy with their tea making) and I accepted. I then turned to her and said… “thank you for the massage… the words I’m singing. Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing. Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty?”
I have to say that I really enjoyed my massage. So much so, that, after looking through the list of other massages available, I’ve been tempted into trying another. My next massage is booked for tomorrow. The 80 minute Hot Stones Massage. Just leave my bloody feet alone!!
The hotel breakfast experience can be an uncomfortable, tense affair - especially if you’re in a foreign country. Does this story ring true with you?
Bleary eyed, wearing your shirt back to front, and with your hair looking like you were assaulted by a troop of wig-stealing monkeys on your way in, you fumble your way through the door of the hotel’s breakfast room. It’s a buffet breakfast; all you can bloat. You chuckle to yourself as you imagine the fat American man you bumped into yesterday (the one with the enormous boobs) jumping up and down with joy at the potential calories on offer. Let’s hope he’s wearing his sports bra…
As the Maitre d' greets you by the door, it becomes obvious that he speaks no English. So, you try to hint that you want a table for one without inadvertently giving him ‘the bird.’
Following a period of mis-communication, during which you seriously considered punching the Maitre d' in the face, as he stood between your hungry stomach and the eggs and bacon, he sits you down at a table of his choice. Frustratingly, he’s chosen the table furthest away from the buffet, meaning that you have to undertake a small marathon to reach the food. The realisation passes through your mind that you will probably burn off more calories getting to and from the buffet area than are actually contained within the food. Oh, why can’t they supply golf carts?
The waiter walks over. He, at least, speaks a little more English…
Waiter: “Tea? Coffeeeee?” You: “What… err, tea… yes, I’ll have tea. Thank you”
Then comes the list…
Waiter: “What tea you like? Engresh breekfast, caamomile, greeen tea, mint tea, eeerl grey…?” You: “Err, I don’t know. Tea. Just tea. I don’t want help sleeping, I don’t have prostate issues… ordinary tea!” Waiter: “Ah, ok………… juice, what juice you like?”
Finally, the waiter leaves… he’s gone to get your strawberry tea and asparagus and wheatgrass juice (you won’t have a problem with constipation today, that’s for sure!). As you sit at your table, staring blankly into the distance, your eyes focus for a brief second on a woman struggling back to her table, supporting an enormous mound of breakfast goodies with both arms. Her head is tilted to the side of her plate to see where she is going. Forget the golf carts, how about a forklift truck?
Now slumped over your table, struggling to wake yourself, you glance at your watch. It’s 10.29am. Breakfast finishes at 10.30am, so there’s little time to loose. You’re going to have to act like a contestant on the television gameshow, Supermarket Sweep - without the bright, very gay clothing and without the over-exaggerated enthusiasm. It’s too early for that. You jump up from your table, like a startled deer. Well, ok, more like a wounded wildebeest…
As you reach the food area, panting from your exhaustive journey, you notice several groups of people wandering around with their heads down and arms out, reminiscent of extras from an episode of the Walking Dead. It’s the hangover crowd. You decide it’s best to stay away from them incase they walk into you or, worse, projectile vomit over your shoulder as you inspect the pastries and cakes.
It’s time to make your first big decision: how to begin the breakfast debauchery? Being that it’s the morning, you really don’t want to have a guilt trip for the rest of the day about what you’ve eaten at breakfast. So, the best option is to start with something healthy; fruit. You pick up a piece of melon with your spoon and carefully place it on your plate… that’ll do. It’s amazing how this one piece of fruit, measuring approximately a square centimetre, can change your perspective and make you feel so much better about the mound of unhealthy eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, pastries and cakes that will inevitably follow. Afterall, your breakfast won’t have been all unhealthy, right?
And, let’s be honest, you are “health conscious.” Yesterday, you walked all the way up the hotel stairs to your room on the ninth floor… having taken the lift to the eighth floor first.
After devouring your fruit in three seconds, it’s time to move on to the cooked breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes and a mountain of toast. That brings us to one of the trickiest parts of the buffet breakfast…
Arriving at the toaster section, you’re confronted by a crowd of people with very perplexed faces, clutching pieces of bread. And they have every right to feel perplexed, for hotel toasters are always so incredibly over-complicated, with their vast array of buttons, dials and knobs (where-ever there’s a toaster, there’s always knobs). Moreover, the toasters always resemble torture devices with their mish-mash of metal spokes, prongs and cages. And why is there always one piece of ‘forgotten toast’ sitting on the exit tray; cold, getting in the way, but still optimistic of achieving fulfilment underneath a blanket of warm honey. It’s always perfectly toasted too - a miracle, in toasting terms. You can guarantee that your toast won’t turn out looking that good. ‘Hmm, you could just… no, it’s cold. Urgh.'
Having fought through the crowd, claiming to be the biggest toaster expert in the world, the torture device is finally revealed to you. Now, there’s an inevitability that the toaster will be one of two things:
Arriving back at your table with your mound of food, the waiter kindly presents you with a teapot of strawberry tea and a glass of asparagus and wheatgrass juice. Now, getting the tea from the little teapot into your cup should be easy. But, no, he’s given you the one teapot in the world with the dodgy lid and leaky spout. Consequently, when you go to pour it, the tea goes everywhere… everywhere except the cup, which remains as dry as an Arab’s flip flop. Seeing you in some distress, but clearly not understanding the gravitas of the situation, the waiter brings you a napkin. A single bloody napkin!
Although frustrated, part of you remains grateful that you’re not on board a boat with him. For, if it was to start taking on water he’d probably hand you a thimble to bail with…
At exactly 10.30am, events suddenly liven up. The lights in the buffet area are switched off, one by one. Breakfast is over… but the fight has only just begun. A mad scramble ensues, reminiscent of feeding time at the zoo. It’s a battle of wits between staff (starting to take things away) and people trying to desperately grab extra food for their breakfast. Everywhere you look, there’s chaos. Well, I say ‘everywhere’ - the fruit section remains incredibly peaceful.
You finish your breakfast and leave the restaurant. It’s all over. Behind you is a scene of carnage; bits of half-eaten food everywhere and tea-soaked table cloths as far as the eye can see. Although you arrived late, you feel contented that you aren’t the last to leave. That prize goes to a plump, married couple. There’s something not quite right though… the man has a strange muffin-shaped mound in his t-shirt and his wife is dragging a heavy handbag along the floor behind her. Forget the forklift truck - how about an articulated lorry?