I was taking a bath the other evening, relaxing after a hard day and before an expected harder evening of marking homework. Snuggling down into my hot bubbly relaxant, I heard the almost inevitable ring from the front door bell. This, though, did not perturb my tub since my wife was about and was well known to be given to the answering of such interuptions. But what was this; I could hear muffled watery voices from, as they say in the acting profession, off.
My wife rushed in! (I must do something to curb her occasionally peremptory behaviour). As I say, she rushed in and uttered the least efficient sentence in the English Language. She actually burst in on me, in the bath, and uttered the the five or six words in English which are least likely to achieve their communicational goal.
She said “Now - your parents are all right.”
Why shouldn’t they be! They were when they left. What do you mean my parents are all right - that can only mean that they’re not all right!
“No, really they’re fine” (She is doing rather well at the moment she’s managed to get the second least efficient sentence in the language into our short conversation, right on the heels of the first.)
You know it has always struck me as odd that we so often say exactly the opposite of what we say, for example on visiting someone’s home I might say “What a nice room,” while actually saying “I wouldn't have used that shade of shocking pink, especially with the nausiating orange trim”
…Anyway to get back to my anxiety “Your mother’s purse was snatched but the lady who came to tell us says that they are all right and the police are there” (if this continues I may be forced to change those rankings for inefficiency, because there’s a newcomer with potential if ever I saw one. Just look at its style. You might think - that’s OK they are safe the police are there - till you think THE POLICE ARE THERE! Why do they need the police, and the only reason is because it is serious, very serious).
Do you know how soon you can be out of your bath and half-way down the street, and have your clothes on too? Well it surprised me!
By the time I arrived it was all over (actually it was all over before I had even heard about it, but clichés can be fun), and my parents were in fact fine, not to mention all right, largely due to half the neighbourhood having raced about for half an hour on foot and in cars (half of them apparently half dressed). My mother even got her purse back, and as for the criminals: In their vain attempt to escape they had made the foolish mistake of trying to drive up a lamp post.
I am left full of admiration. I admire the neighbours because of their concern. I admire the police because of their alacrity. But most of all I admire the guy who designed that lamp post because, having stoped the getaway, and lying there at a crazy angle with a bend in the middle and its top hanging off the bloody thing was still working!
Now I’ve really got to go and have a bath so…
Cheerio for now
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First broadcast on Simon's Scintillating Sunshine Show as 033 Crime in the Wedge on Wednesday 15th October 1985.
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