THE SITE FOR SORE EYES GUIDE TO
I sometimes have this disturbing dream. A nightmare really.
I'm in a shopping mall or pub or club - somewhere where there are people, anyway.
See if you are more like me than you care or dare to admit...
Turn up early for work.
When I used to work 9 to 5 (I kept a diary, I remember!) I'd sometimes get in five minutes before I should have started - if the boss was lucky.
Among the populace of the workplace, there'd always be a bustle of activity from one or two people. They'd be tidying their desks, or sorting some filing, or a myriad of other things that were supposed to be done between 9 and 5 - in other words, when we were bloody well paid to do them!
These toadies, when questioned, would say things like, "Oh, I woke up at 5 o'clock this morning and thought I'd get in early and make a start."
Now what I'd say myself would be along the lines of, "Well I woke up at 5 o'clock this morning. So, I slugged half a litre of vodka until this insomnia thing wore off."
"I turned over until it was time to make a frantic dash."
"I watched a programme about toenail topiary until it was time to come in."
RING, RING. RING, RING. "HELLO, LEACH, LEACH AND LEACH. HOW MAY I HELP YOU?"
"Ithz, Prozac, here. I'be dorry, I dan't made id in. I'be all bung dub." And then it'd be pack the rucksack and head for tham thar hills. Yippeeeee.
So, back to the original question - why the hell do people turn up early?
Could it be that they don't have lives of any description and going into work early provides them with something to do with their existence, other than open a vein? OR, could it be that they want to test how far up the back passage of their line manager they can creep without being noticed? OR could it be that they want to piss off their colleagues by toadying to the Nth degree for years and getting an extra roast potato on their plate at the staff Christmas do?
I think all of the above would suit some of the people I've had the utter misfortune to meet in the dim and distant past. But then, that's rich coming from a guy who's sitting in front of his computer, banging stuff like this out at an ungodly hour of the day just to mortally wound the deadline and submit to the great guys who run this site.
I know which side of the bread life is buttered!
by Sheila Boote
Why the hell do people with kids think they are so special. We all know them and, worse, sometimes work with them.
For instance you have had your holidays booked in work for months, then all of a sudden they have an urgent appointment and have to have the very same day off as you. Usually 'cos Junior has to have his nose wiped or some other urgent procedure. Not only that they can come to work late and go home early, because Junior has to go/be picked up from somewhere, and most important of all they always have to have two weeks off at Christmas, "Because Christmas is for the kiddies isn't it?"
They insist on bringing the little brat everywhere with them: pubs, hotels, restaurants, holidays, shopping ( the most annoying one, especially if hubby is sat on his fat backside in the car in the special parking space reserved specially for people with children, reading the paper, while Junior crashes and screams his way round the supermarket.) Also equally annoying is the hubby who goes shopping with mum and Junior and lets the little sod get away with murder while grinning inanely at you as his pride and joy rams your shins with the trolley.
If there is a 5 hour delay at the airport it is always worse for them because, and I quote, "I have a 6 month-old baby and we have had no information / food vouchers / sleep, and there are not enough clowns / jugglers / crèche facilities.." to keep the little sods amused.
Well I'm sorry but I have had enough of the lot of them. Let's hear it for People Without Children, who put with all the crap from selfish, boring, self-important parents. Those who park half a mile away from the supermarket, who also have to put up with a 5 hour delay at the port, and also have very important appointments to keep and who also end up working at Christmas so PARENTS can be off.
I just needed to say this, I could say more but I'm not important enough!
(No Site For Sore Eyes Fan is unimportant - Ed)
by Mark Palmer
Go to FAMILY GATHERINGS
When you think about it in detail, it is amazing to think that all animals have a common relation. Millions of years of evolution has produced such extreme diversity it is difficult to imagine that blue whales could possibly share any common ancestry with, say, hummingbirds or racoons. From dolphins, to chimps, to the seven-spot ladybird, to human beings; the idea that such multiplicity could all crawl out of the same pool of primordial mush leaves you with a sense of wonder.
You do not, however, have to go back to the beginnings of life or witness millions of years of evolution to view such contrast of life. The same effect can be created in microcosm. For example, you can achieve a similar sense of wonder by just attending an extended family gathering. Marriages, funerals, wedding anniversaries, christenings and -most usually- Christmases are the times when large groups of people who have nothing in common with each other, meet up, drink and try to impose a feeling of collective familiarity onto a situation which is, in many ways, akin to running out into the street and pulling the first 50 random passers-by into an upstairs room of the local social club (without forgetting to purchase a plentiful supply of sausage rolls, pork pies, cocktail sausages, etc .).
This is an environment with such startling contrasts and contradictions, witnessing the two polar opposites in the same instant could likely cause you to fall into a paradox-induced coma. Imagine the effect on the brain of standing within earshot of the following two simultaneous conversations:
Yes, our oldest lad has just graduated from Leicester University.
Oh that's fabulous. What did he get?
He left with a first in Bimolecular technology. Should be hearing back from NASA sometime this week.
Our little lad had an accident last week which has left him completely and totally incapable of counting past the number eight.
Oh my God that's awful. What happened, is it some kind of brain damage?
No, he lost two of his fingers.
The frightening fact is that, even though the two 'lads' in question seem to come from different parts of the galaxy from each other, they, in fact, both share the same surname!
If opposites really do attract, then it would be quite impossible for anybody to leave such a family gathering, as some intangible force would constantly be dragging you back towards the uncle or auntie or second-great-aunt-in-law-thrice-removed who you have got absolutely nothing in common with. When you see people circling the room, they aren't mingling. No. It is more likely, they have succumbed to this attracting force and are currently trapped in orbit around a relation who is as different from them as chalk is to cheese.
There is a golden rule to these occasions, which probably goes some of the way towards answering the question of diversity; and that is, no matter how many gatherings you attend or how many new faces you meet THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY YOU HAVE NEVER MET BEFORE. Suddenly the long-lost son/daughter/twin-brother plotlines in Australian soap operas seem like well researched pieces of social realism in contrast.
Aunts who have not seen you since you were three weeks old, uncles who last met you when you were a foetus, nephews you haven't played with since the big bang; they emerge, slowly, in a long and perpetual line throughout years of family events. This gives rise to a phrase which seems generic in all instances of this type of gathering:
Ooh, haven't you grown!
At this point, it is probably best to agree, smile politely and just nod whilst they regale you with stories about how small you used to be; even if, on the inside, you want to yell: OF COURSE I'VE FUCKING GROWN YOU DOCILE OLD BAG! LAST TIME YOU SAW ME I WAS ONE FOOT TALL, WEARING A NAPPY AND BABBLING INCOHERENTLY! Whatever you do in this situation, the main thing to remember is not to admit that you have not got a fizzing clue who this person talking to you is.
One person you will recognise straight away is the generic family wag. He can be found propping up the bar, drinking mild and smoking a cigar, entertaining a circle of older gentlemen. Numerous family witnesses give testimony claiming that this particular individual is hilarious, but past experience of the guy has taught you otherwise.
He is usually a devout follower of the Gospel According To Maggie and the majority of his 'humour' consists of nothing more than crudely plagiarised gags from his vast collection of Jim Davidson and Bernard Manning videos (none of that 'alternative crap').
Another recognisable character trait of his is his insistence to throw in his own home-made catchphrases and one-liners. Although these phrases are repeated ad nauseam, his circle of friends will laugh at its one-hundredth airing, as though it were its first. Such lines include: God I was sweating like a Scouser in an ID parade;
Music? Sounds like a bloody vacuum cleaner. It's noise that is, noise;
Make sure you kill a Darkie a day, that's my motto (although there are conflicting reports as to whether he means this last one as a joke).
His ability to make certain people laugh seems to stem from his one man mission to purge the British Isles, and his unique sense of humour isn't as much funny as -well- unfunny. Despite numerous reports to the contrary, you can safely guarantee this man is a twat.
It is best to keep him in a humorous mood, however, because if you engage him in serious conversation he will spend the best part of an hour telling you how safe and good the East End of London was when the Krays were in charge, or he will give you a glowing account of what a wonderful sense of prescience Enoch Powell had. Either way, you are best escaping from him before he gets a chance to open his mouth. Suffice to say, he could make a cameo appearance in Walking With Dinosaurs and nobody would notice.
To complicate matters even further, there are a few aberrations in the typical family gathering. One of the main ones to contend with are relatives who aren't really. Anomalous aunts, erroneous uncles, and counterfeit cousins are dotted around the room, like landmines, in order to daze and confuse you even more.
Meet 'uncle' Frederick. Of course, he isn't an uncle in the real sense. Just one of those friends of the family who crawls out of the woodwork whenever he smells a buffet and cheap beer. So, not really a proper uncle then, more of a second-sponger removed or a swarm of locusts dressed in a pringle sweater.
For the price of a few well planned Christmas cards, he manages to wangle an invitation. He consumes most of the sausage rolls, pork pies and cocktail sausages (probably managing to accidentally chow down a few cocktail sticks in the process). His capacity to consume bitter also seems to be beyond the limits of human endurance. In fact, you would be quite within your rights to approach him and comment: "Hello 'uncle' Fred. Ooh, haven't you grown!". Don't invite him to reply though, unless you want half a gallon of beer-soaked semi-chewed pastry products landing in your face whilst he is doing so.
Small world theory dictates that by four degrees of separation, everybody is related to everybody else in some way, shape or form. So it will surely only be a certain number of family gatherings before you spot Richard Gere nibbling quiche on the other side of the function room, or you might even spot your favourite actor dancing with your Auntie Janice. This theory leads to some serious philosophical questions such as: If you attend an infinite number of family gatherings, over an infinite length of time will you eventually go to one attended by a bunch of monkeys with typewriters? Or, more importantly, if a great-uncle sipping mild and putting the world to rights at the bar was to fall over, and there was nobody around to hear him would he still be talking racist, bigoted, homophobic shite? Think on.
PALMER ON PROZAC is a freelance writer from Stockport, England. He is also the main author of this Web Site. You can see more of his observations and Rants on THE SITE FOR SORE EYES soon. His views and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the owners of this Site. When not struggling frantically with the heavy canvas straps on his designer jacket (!!) his hobby is mouthing abuse at nodding dogs on parcel shelves. MARK PALMER is a stand-up comedian and freelance writer from Stockport, England. You can see more of his observations and Rants on THE SITE FOR SORE EYES soon. You can also catch some of his work, many of his stand-up routines, and recordings of some of his live comedy circuit gigs, at The Cyber Sanatorium.
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