It’s all a question of self-importance

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

It seems the old obnoxious greeting, for want of better words, has resurfaced in the media recently. If nothing else, it shows that the music hall is still going as a form of entertainment for the masses, via the internet for a bigger audience to appreciate it more.

I refer to the sentence “Don’t you know who I am?!”, as used by those who feel they are above everybody else, with a gross misconception of their own importance or standing, and that we should somehow bow to them while in their presence. To be honest, I thought all this arrogant silliness had all but gone – but it would appear not, as one exponent of the art has recently made themselves world-class via the internet.

Over the years I have come across such wonderful, bland legends-in-their-own-minds. Some really shine out and make your day when it all goes badly wrong, and if we didn’t know before who they were, we certainly do now.

Events still linger in the memory, like the following that have happened over the years.

Do feel free to use any of the responses below, should you, too, encounter a lesser-spotted egomaniac spouting the aforementioned “Don’t you know who I am?!” when away from its natural habitat.

One example was when a sad soul chanted it to somebody else while I was waiting for a lift – the car sort, not the up-and-down variety found in tall buildings – and the response was: “Well, as your face is not on the stamps we use or the money we spend, to be honest, no idea, mate – but can you give me a clue?”.

This was followed by the sudden about-turn and departure of Mr Self Important, with a wonderfully red face. He didn’t seem to like a challenge.

Another instance came when an electrician working in a shopping centre replied to another poor, deluded soul. The electrician replied thus: “Sorry, missus, I don’t do quizzes during working hours as it upsets my work cycle and the job gets behind.”

This went down rather well, as he carried on working at the job in hand, and Mrs Self Important, with clipboard, wandered away to find another prey to impress.

A joyous occasion was when I was involved with a fund-raising event, along with others who had donated time and effort to perform in our own way.

While I was having a break and watching drummer friend Dave and his band rehearsing on stage, a badge-heavy bod approached him and asked him and the lads to stop a moment, followed by said bod saying the line “Don’t you know who I am?!”.

Silence reigned as they all looked at one another, mystified, then Dave looked around and asked the band: “Okay lads – does anybody have the band parts [sheet music] for ‘Who I Am’?” Nobody had, it seemed. Mr Self Important, fit to burst, stared with gobstopper eyes, and then Dave spoke again.

“Now if you could hum a bar or two, we can perhaps pick it up and busk it for you...” and by this time Mr Self Important was doing an about-turn and vanishing into the shadows from whence he had come, followed by laughter galore from all in hearing distance.

This encounter was nearly 20 years ago and when we meet up from time to time at events we still laugh about it, and we still await his image appearing on our stamps ... First Class ones, of course, any time now.

n Time marches on, as they say, but no mention of it wearing boots or trainers, also now called leisure shoes, depending on your wallet or purse size, as I would have heard it coming or, then again, going.

As I scribble away it’s coming up to that festive time of the year when you realise that it’s perhaps too late to get your very own trendy, overpriced calendar done and dusted, ready to serve up to an unsuspecting public, out for that elusive item called the “stocking filler”. Other projects have also been left at the back of the mind and perhaps I should have got my act together sooner, and done something about them.

Such as ... I have always, okay, it crossed my mind once, thought that I should launch my very own “Keep In Sooper Shape & Fit – The Ward Way’ DVD, in a presentation pack with matching lunch box – a sandwich and low-fat, ozone-friendly bamboo shoot, with low calorie 27-Island Dressing, type of box, before your mind wanders – with free digital read-out skipping rope and spirit level.

I feel, with the right sort of marketing, it could sell by the pallet-load or perhaps then again, not.

Over many years I have sat in sheer bewilderment (although I prefer a decent chair, to be honest) at the umpteen alleged “keep fit” and “work out” DVDs that are put before your very eyeballs in TV adverts, newspapers, magazines and the unintentional comedy in assorted forms that goes under the banner of Shopping Channels.

You get some wonderful folk who demonstrate how their system works, or how to contort your body into various shapes and patterns, involving anything from bits of rope with assorted loops and knots hung round door knobs you contort on, to creations that seem to shake and wobble your body in directions a tornado would be proud of.

All in the name of keeping you fit and in shape, although a cheaper way would be to sit on top of the washing machine and let it go on a ‘big wash and mega spin’ cycle and see if you can hang on long enough.

These highly desirable baubles are usually sponsored by folk that either you have to rack your brain to think who they are, or in which part of the last century you bought their last record that got to number 97 in the Sri Lanka top ten, or you believed they were no longer with us.

They are usually heavily marketed (surprise, surprise) around Christmas time, or at the start of the New Year as it’s mainly based on the idea of people overindulging in food and drink and folk then wishing to reverse the process.

But it’s a safe bet within weeks they will be available rather cheaper in a charity shop near you or, bottom line, (pun intended) on the car boot sale circuit once the novelty dies.

As I pointed out at the start, I have missed the opportunity for this coming festive time, but I am now going to get cracking on something for next year.

It will be based on using everyday items such as ironing boards, coal bunkers (look up coal on the internet if not too sure of what it is) and if you still have one, a mangle, which is a crude, early form of spin-drier, still in use, I am told, in some parts of the area, and together with all these elements you, too, could have a Keep in Trim session like no other.

Now, where did I put that camcorder? Look out for ‘Wobble Away Wiv Ward’ next Christmas as it will surely be a cracker.