A previously lucrative Sunday night quiz has hit the skids in recent months due to the arrival of a pair of annoyingly clever rivals. Having won almost every week since first appearing they now sit in a diminishing pool of disillusioned competitors like vast toads: bloated from eating all the flies and croaking at the scarcity of food. My irrational bitterness at repeatedly losing has been countered in some small way by a mid-week conversation with one of the barmaids in which it was confirmed that:
1. Management has considered watering down / tampering with their beer in order to drive them away as they are affecting the pub’s revenue stream.
2. They are indeed ‘douche-bags’ (although I may have led the conversation somewhat).
Compounding this middle-class outrage is the fact that the ‘Best Team Name Award’ (tankard full of jellybeans – not to be sniffed at) always goes to some lame, innocuous guff and not talented wordsmiths (i.e. us). For example, the week Whitney Houston died we were called ‘Shaving all my glove for you’ – Nothing, not even an honourable mention or look of disgust (‘Let’s get quizzical’ claimed the goodies) – Week of the Greek bail-out our ‘Papandreou don’t preach’ lost out to ‘Quiz on my face.’ It’s almost as if they don’t see us for the geniuses we are!
And so we come to my abandonment of the moral high ground. For months it has been a little-known fact that a pub on the other side of the village does the exact same quiz a few days later. Well this is splendid (if ethically questionable). Last week I finally succumbed to temptation, sauntered on over, paid a pound and duly received £60 for two hours work (I say work)…
But then came that nagging suspicion that I’d done a bad thing.
The thought followed me around for days – taunting and poking and chastising. I kept the 3 crisp £20 notes in a separate pocket from my wallet. It was as though I subliminally knew the ‘clean’ money would be tainted if it came into contact with the ‘dirty’ money. Eventually, when I could take it no more, I hit upon a scheme to be free of the torment. Spotting a homeless man in town I made a beeline and bet him £60 that I could guess his name. (This way, I reasoned, he would technically be winning the money rather than receiving a hand-out):
‘Go on then.’
‘You could have lied.’
‘That would’ve been dishonest.’
See now I’m really in a bind. On one hand I want to give him the money, but on the other a bet’s a bet…