Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Rum Coves

There's no denying it, there are some rum old coves about.

Whether whiling away the day in the turf accountants, furtively smoking roll-ups and dreaming of illusory placepots, or standing outside electronics emporia, gazing vacantly as the plasma screens, or simply mumbling away to themselves on public transport, there always seems to be one of these peculiar chaps about.

The majority of them are, of course, dole-wallahs ekeing out a tenuous existence on meatballs, cider and the occasional social club pint of mild (plus all the black pudding they can cram into one fist) on a Sunday lunchtime.

Unbelievably though, some of them are in gainful employment. The modern, cutting edge commercial world, with its Human Resources department and its psychometric testing, still finds a place for these distressing examples of humanity.

They may be strangers to carbolic and hot baths, they may have irregular facial features of the kind beloved of Pablo Picasso, they may even attend Science Fiction conferences but we need them, by God.

For these are the men who put away our supermarket trolleys, supply us with change in seaside amusement arcades, sell us late night snacks when we have what the young folk refer to as "the munchies". Who guards our deserted industrial units from night-time marauders?

Who valets our Bentley when we embarass ourselves after too much champagne at regimental reunions? Who delivers takeaway food to our door in the middle of the night?

It is, of course, the strange chaps. This old soldier salutes you. Good work, odd fellers!