Having devoted his life to astonishing levels of skulduggery, King Sisyphus came to believe he was more clever than even Zeus, the greatest of all Greek gods. Sadly for him, he most certainly wasn't and his punishment for indulging in such hubris, was to spend the whole of eternity pushing a massive boulder up a hill, only to see it roll back down to the bottom again each time he thought he'd accomplished the task.
I had a brief taste of Sisyphus's fate last week. The main door at The Shakespeare had had, for the last three and a half years, one of those automatic closing hinge mechanisms attached to its top right hand corner. Needless to say, what with all the comings and goings over such a long period, said mechanism simply gave up the ghost after a particularly busy night. Not to worry, the following morning I popped into the only ironmongers in town which hasn't been turned into a boutique design-your-own salad bar. Yet.
'Hi - have you got one of those springy hingey thingies, please?
'Yes, sir. We have this really rubbish cheapo version which only a fool completely off his cake on illegal substances would buy or, alternatively, the marginally more expensive model which is guaranteed to work in any circumstance whatsoever.'
'Lovely - I'll take the cheapo one then, please and spend what little I've saved on beer and crisps.'
'Er, well, ok. There you go then, buddy, you total idiot cheapskate.'
Off I tootled, whistling a merry tune, in order to fit my most frugal of purchases to the unsuspecting door.
The first evening it was in use was a resounding success as the springy hingey thingy fulfilled all of its duties with considerable aplomb and not a little style. The next night however, it became clear that the old Spanish adage 'Lo barato sale caro' (what's cheap works out expensive) is right on the, er, money as the springy hingey thingy slackened to the point of disaster. Consequently, for the next two evenings, in the style of King Sisyphus, I was involved in a closing-the-door-only-for-it-to-be-immediately-left-open-again routine which, admittedly, wasn't for the whole of eternity but did rather feel like it by two in the morning, let me tell you.
Today, I bought and fitted the more expensive springy hingey thingy. My word, never has the gentle thud of a door closing of its own volition sounded so sweet. I rather fear Zeus himself couldn't have done a better job. Aaagh! No wait, Zeus, I didn't mean it like that..