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These foolish things
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These foolish things

When it happens in a film, you think 'What on earth does that bloke think he's doing?' When it happens to you in real life you think, 'I know, I'll do what that bloke did in that film', writes Peter Edgerton

Friday, 5 April 2024, 17:25

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When it happens in a film, you think 'What on earth does that bloke think he's doing?' When it happens to you in real life you think, 'I know, I'll do what that bloke did in that film.'

I'm talking about the patently insane endeavour of chasing after an accelerating vehicle on foot. It's the most ludicrous of activities because, let's be honest with ourselves, a middle-aged dude running in a comedy fashion is never going to catch up with a motorised vehicle speeding away from him at a high rate of knots.

My own futile on-foot car chase debacle occurred the other day when, having got off the bus in Malaga and having taken a leisurely stroll for about a minute, I realised I'd left a suitcase in the undercarriage luggage storage space. I hurtled back to the bus stop, limbs flailing in the breeze, only to see the vehicle in question disappearing unapologetically into the sunset. Absurdly, I continued my risible pursuit for at least thirty seconds, presumably in the hope that some kind of divine mechanical intervention would occur. It didn't - the bus disappeared over the horizon and I was left cursing my own stupidity. The only silver lining was that the suitcase was empty, rather like my head, some might say.

You'd think a chap would be more than satisfied with one idiotic episode in a week but, oh my word, you'd be so wrong. I managed an even better effort just a few days later. Actually, this example has, I think, special merit because it's a straightforward case of wanton and sustained dim-wittedness over a period of quite some time. Nine years, in fact.

The new card machine we received at the pub is, in many ways, not as good as the old one but it does have some advantages, one of which I pointed out to the technician who came to set it up for us.

"Oh look - it adds up the total of all the transactions at the end of the day. Great."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you know, with the other one, we had to add all the tickets up one by one, manually."

He raised his eyebrows in a manner which managed to express both pity and ridicule at the same time.

"No, you didn't. That one does an end-of-day total too."

I've a feeling my eyes were spinning on their own axes at this point as I tried to compute the gravity of what he was telling me.

"But..no..but..surely...nine years..no..but..nine...every night...for nine years..."

He didn't look very sympathetic to be honest and who could blame him? I was an idiot - he knew it and I knew it - there wasn't much more to say.

A few days later, when I'd just about managed to stop rocking and dribbling in the corner of the bar, I made a quick calculation and I reckon I've lost somewhere in the region of twenty-four days of my life in total, adding up numbers in the stygian gloom, at three o'clock in the morning. Twenty four days! Heaven knows, I could have spent that time doing something pleasurable like going on holiday.

Oh wait, I haven't got a suitcase.

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