I was standing on the bridge the other evening, admiring the view, and the way the current played against the boats moored along the river bank when a man thrashing around desperately in the water appeared from underneath the bridge. He was clearly in serious difficulty so I shouted down to him, “Do you have some means of identification on you?” His voice was not clear, and he kept screaming “Help me. Heelp meee” which didn’t answer my question one way or the other. Finally he said “Yes” and I responded, ” Good, they will be able to identify your body when you are retrieved from the water.”
He looked alarmed and kept shrieking, “Help me. Help me” but when I informed him I was wearing a new and freshly ironed pair of trousers I think he understood I could not risk the damage to my wardrobe helping no one but a stranger. I sought to comfort him by saying, “The world’s population is exploding, giving rise to a multitude of problems: your sacrifice, intentional or otherwise, will be applauded, in in your obituary if you merit one”
I have to say, salient as these points were, I fear he either missed them or was too absorbed in his own circumstances to pay attention. All things end well, however and I read the following article in the local paper.
“Humphrey Collins 45, of Lower Bridlington Street drowned in the Thames on Friday evening. He was carrying a driving licence and wearing clothes purchased from a mid-level high street shop. His wife said she would collect his belongings as soon as she got back from her holiday with a male friend . The weather in Florida, she informs us, “Is simply glorious.”
He may be missed, but that was not apparent from our initial investigations which is all we will be making. A local man who seeks no personal credit or publicity, reported having a brief meaningless conversation with him shortly before he fell in the river, although he added that his shirt did not appear to be ironed! Viewing figures on his Facebook page recorded a measurable, if short-lived increase, after his death.