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Adventures in Pedantry

I ordered something called a Hero Burger. The nice lady asked if I would you like to supersize?
‘Isn’t it already heroic?’ I inquired.
‘It is, but you get more of everything on the next one up.’
‘What’s that one called?’
‘We don’t have a name for that one yet sir.’
‘Shouldn’t that one be called the Hero Burger?’
The nice lady gave me the special look she reserves for vermin. ‘I guess so!’
With shades of my father I added ‘Might I suggest The Super-Fluous?’
Where on earth did that mustard fart of indignation come from? On ninety-nine days out of a hundred I would have let something so inconsequential go by the by, but today my Hero (now demoted to Side-kick) Burger was presumably going to arrive laced with various bodily fluids and interfered with beyond words. Such is the price of perfection.
Back at Castle Cororan (still surprising peckish) I found a package waiting for me. I opened it. It contained three bottles of peroxide. I am a bald man. As such I was perplexed. The invoice revealed that I share my address (different postcode) with a hairdresser across town. Ah, irony abounds. When I contacted them to arrange a pick up their manager was so impressed with my honesty that he left a gift on the doorstep – two bottles of luxury exfoliant. How delightful. I used one and the skin proceeded to melt from my face. Picture the bald man running around in just his pants, howling like a child who has touched a nettle. By Jove I demanded satisfaction.
But what’s the protocol for complaining about free stuff? There isn’t one is there? I’ve found a gaping hole in British (and possibly world) etiquette. I must write to someone. This is marvellous / unacceptable (delete as appropriate).
Scarred for life, but ebullient with my newfound revelation I set off for a corporate shindig. There an old colleague reminded me of an incident that completes the triumvirate of pedantry.
We both worked with a young man for whom English was not his first language (For the sake of anonymity we’ll call him Tim). Tim would’ve spoken perfectly good English had he paid attention in the lessons that had been paid for by the company (i.e. he’s fair game).
As well a possessing poor grammar Tim was also a prolific skiver – both in the amount of days took as sick-leave and in the amount of time he spent asleep in the toilets. Every two weeks or so his line manager and I would get an email explaining why he was absent. Because his English was terrible he would make attempts to describe the symptoms rather than succinctly state the ailment – the most memorable of which was: ‘I not be work now – big stomach – much pooh – also puke.’
A few days after his various misdemeanours had been tackled in a performance review he took me aside and asked for my help. ‘You tell me how to say this?’ he asked, and then proceeded to graphically described diarrhoea. Even in the midst of a bollocking you could see the cogs turning; setting up the next bout of absence. I told him he was giving too much information and provided a shorter syntax for the condition. He thanked me.
Sure enough – a few weeks later the glorious email arrived: ‘I cannot come to work today as I have Ass Mayhem.’


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It sees us…we become snacks!

The scene of the travesty was a run-down, ramshackle gym on the outskirts of town. Little did the slightly overweight, balding man know, but on that day, on that street, cruel fate had no intention of allowing his fitness regime to continue.

The session began as normal, a light run. He got into his stride and quickly zoned out all around him, but then into his peripheral vision came a ghastly apparition with foreboding trailing in its wakes. Beneath the thick cake of foundation and lipstick he suspected that it was female in origin…yes…the presence of hazardously unrestrained breasts confirmed his conjecture. An overly elaborate hairstyle was held in place by an ocean of product, and her form was bedecked head to toe in designer gear.

‘You don’t belong here,’ the other patrons seemed to whisper; bonding in their joint disapproval. ‘Ours is a simple place of exercise. Take your posing ways elsewhere.’

Arrogantly she ignored my / his / their demands, stepped onto a running machine adjacent to the balding man and set off at a vigorous sprint. It quickly became apparent that she was not going to be able to sustain such a pace. Her already rosy cheeks glowed bright red, and within a minute or so thick sweaty black mascara began running into her eyes.

‘This is odd,’ the balding man thought, ‘Surely she will stop, clean herself up and regain her sight?’

No, it appeared as though she was going to brazen it out.

Moments later she had morphed from fashionista into a clown with panda-esque tendencies. A quick swipe and smudge across the face gave her the mask of Zorro which then, with the inclusion of lipstick stained teeth, warped and distended into the voracious snarling sneer of a cold-blooded killer.

Without the industry-standard parachute harness brassiere demanded under such circumstances the clown-thing’s breasts now became weapons. The balding man ducked and dived. Through floor to ceiling mirrors he saw that all eyes were fixed upon the hideous transformation.

Into the mix came a rasping, hocking gargle. Every few strides brought forth a ‘Hoekgrr…Hoekgrr’ sound.

Our hilarity turned to panic. What if she collapses? The paramedics are going to think we did this to her. There’s no other rationale explanation.

By now the balding man was surging at full pelt. In his heightened state of fear he couldn’t understand how the heaving, lolloping, semi-blind monster was managing to keep up with him.


When the ordeal finally came to an end it squinted at a pedometer and grimaced in satisfaction. The balding man returned home and discovered that he had lost more weight than usual.

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