I don’t know if you’ve had that moment I’ve had: perhaps you have, perhaps you haven’t. I saw someone I recognised from television. I knew the face but not much more than that. Quiz program presenter I think. The kind of program you catch every now and then: not too good or not all bad, take your pick. Anyway there he is, peaceful like, drinking his coffee and reading the morning paper, probably to see if he’s in it, and I wander over.
Always well-mannered I say, “ I remember you on the BBC. Not been the same since you went to the other channel I bet. You can’t beat the main channel.” He smiled at me politely saying “Everything is not what it seems”. I’m not a sage myself, so when you get this evidence of wisdom in high places it’s a bit cheering isn’t it: we need more of that, and I reply “ Yours to know and mine to guess” which I think sounds slightly profound and give him a bit of a wink to show I’m not being over familiar. And with that I leave. I mean you don’t want to harass a guy who is just drinking coffee do you.
Back home, I do what any civilised person does and Google him. Up springs some pictures of him fondling some young girl outside a nightclub with the headlines “Johnny Famous Caught In Clinch With Trainee Script Editor” and a story follows about how our John, a married man of thirty years standing got a bit carried away following one or two glasses of the nice stuff. Sure enough, a week later, there he is again, minding his own business and drinking his coffee: checking the newspapers for scandal probably. I wander up to him with that unobtrusive manner on which I pride myself and say, “Hi Johnny, got a bit carried away outside that club then. Bet you had to make your own breakfast the next morning ” He looks at me, a little nonplussed, and says “What are you talking about,” his voice is not as friendly as before. His memory may be fading a bit, stress probably, so to refresh it for him I say. “You know, that young script editor you were kissing outside the club. Never helps the Maritals eh?”
His face is darkening a bit now, maybe something got caught in his throat and sure enough, in a voice which sounds slightly strangled he says “Kindly go away”. No problem with that, I’m always kindly. “Don’t worry Johnny” I say to him, “Your secrets safe with me and all the national newspapers” and then I start laughing; I mean really laughing. Let’s face it I can crack one with the best, I should have been on television.
Next thing you know, the owner of the cafe comes up and tells me to ”Get out of here and never come back again.” I mean, that’s gratitude isn’t it? You try and cheer the customers up, show a bit of sympathy, and that’s the treatment you get. Some people just don’t know when you’re trying to help do they?