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April 2016, vol 12 no 1

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Peter Butler

Time to Get a Life?

I pick up odd snippets of news as a hobby. It helps if you're alone and you want to chat in the pub with strangers:

'Today's Special' –
a repeat of the day

News Item: A London bishop urges clergymen to grow beards to fit in with local Muslims. A serial burglar is spared jail by claiming he is allergic to prison. A hairdresser, who parks a 3ft high toy bus outside his salon to drum up business, gets a $75 parking ticket. Police refuse to patrol a local park after 8.00pm because it is too dark, while armed police, on evidence from a helicopter-mounted camera, discover two guinea pigs, Simon & Kenny.

snug in the pub
one old sailor
dreaming of oceans

News Item: A Vocational Qualification for trainee hairdressers is scrapped because a ruling bans them from using scissors. A former mayor is accused of homophobia for using the word 'faggots', while referring to meatballs in gravy. Job seekers, in an area of high unemployment, queue round the block for a job as a knife-thrower's assistant.

corner of the bar
a man reading Tolstoy
making notes on the menu

I'm pretty word perfect up to the 5th pint, when I'm told I repeat myself. "We've heard about the bishop and the scissors," the barman points out gently. "How about some food?" Someone else suggests the guinea pigs were Ethel and Ronnie when I told it last night. A stranger at the corner of the bar urges me to 'get a life'. But telling stories is my life, especially as all these stories are true. They're in the news!

dumped in a ditch
yesterday's headlines
a dead leaf

As usual, I head for home, a sandwich from Mother and a note. She also urges it's time I start getting a life. I shall go job hunting tomorrow. Nothing too demanding. Meanwhile I note that a woman stuck in a traffic jam has been fined for eating a banana at the wheel.

"The Nags Head"
I cannot forgive
that missing apostrophe

Note: The news items quoted here appeared in the British Press during 2015.