Misfortune, it appears, comes with many different faces.
Quite literally in the case of our poor paper boy, who presented
himself on our doorstep with a bruised face and a torn and soggy copy of our daily newspaper. He was extremely sorry, he said, for the state of our paper but he had come a cropper while scooting from one house to another with a heavy news bag on his shoulder.
Bless him, I was far more worried about his face than about being unable to read the news on the front page.
I really wanted to gather him up, treat his
bruises with arnica, and make him take a seat while I rang his mum - but we can’t do that kind of thing these days can we, more’s the pity. Besides the lad said he had to get going on this, his second newspaper round of the day - the youngster
who usually delivers our paper having suffered a broken ankle. Misfortune upon misfortune, I couldn’t help thinking.
The chap behind the counter at
the butchers was wearing a brightly coloured face mask which belied his gloomy mood. What he wanted to know, he complained, was why he couldn’t sit at home on furlough receiving 80% of his wages like others of his acquaintance? I was a bit foggy on the
exact nature of furlough and I’m pretty sure it’s not as comfortable a situation as he imagined so I couldn’t really comment one way or the other - but I did ask him what would I do, if he weren’t there, hard at work in the shop, to
help me on a daily basis with my Meaty Business. He appeared singularly unconvinced by this argument. This might possibly have had something to do with the fact that I’d only spent £6.52 on a portion of home-cooked chicken madras, a slice of pork
belly and three chipolata sausages. Was it worth it? his expression (what I could see of it above the flowery mask) seemed to say.
Outside the Special Care Dentist
Surgery, Mr B and I were waiting to be collected by the nurse when we were joined by another patient who had, he informed us, suffered a misfortune of quite epic proportions. It was rather a long story but we had time on our hands so it was worth listening
in. Apparently our fellow patient had been engaged in some serious DIY at home, involving plastering, wallpapering, painting and woodwork. Having completed the work, all that remained to be done was to gather up all the old building materials and transport
them to the local amenity tip - which he proceeded to do, with (I imagined) his customary efficiency. Rather too efficiently, as it turned out - he discovered on his return home that he had somehow managed accidentally to sweep up his dentures with all the
rubbish and to dump them at the tip. One must never laugh at another’s misfortune - but it took a great deal to keep a straight face. Obviously, the poor fella might not have been able to see us silently chortling beneath our face masks but that was
no reason to give way to our baser instincts.
You may be wanting an update? Well, the chap behind the counter in the butcher’s must have watched the latest
Gloom and Doom briefing from Downing Street because he seems to have thought better of his earlier claims and realised that he is in a far, far better place than he might be, especially if he can coax me into contemplating my Christmas order. It’s never
too early, he tells me.
The paper boy’s face is nowhere near as swollen as it was, while the grazed leg which he neglected to tell me about is apparently
healing well. We have bonded (at a social distance) over our shared view that the weekend newspapers, with added supplements, are far too heavy for a paper boy to shoulder.
I am afraid I can’t update you on the Man with the Missing Dentures but I am sure the Special Care Dentist will have afforded him, well, special care.
Hamlet once memorably (or not) put it, is it better to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles and, in opposing, end them?
I do like it when the Daily Blog comes over all educational every so often...