It’s all a matter of giving and taking

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

It started off by Brian, a friend of long standing now as his chairs are away being reupholstered and he is going for a nice beige tapestry weave material, who retired a couple of years ago from engineering, when he pointed out he was thinking about getting another job to tide him over as the ‘retirement thing’ was not as he had expected.

Years ago when he popped in my mum’s to catch up with me as we were going onto an event and it was my car we were going in, mum asked him how he was as she had not seen him for a while and he replied: “I’m okay thanks, Mrs W – I still ‘ride tall in the saddle’ all things considered, ta” and to which mum, she of the people for the people, replied: “You can get tablets these days for most things although perhaps a bigger size in shoes would help…” and he looked at me and I looked at him and we both decided it was time to go and get the others we were picking up and going with.

Back to the current plot.

He asked me if I thought he was ‘acceptable as being normal’ and I warned him my standards are slightly more edgy than he might expect to which he agreed but he liked the challenge by asking, but regardless we soldiered on in conversation and he said that while he could manage reasonably on his pension etc he was finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the demands, pleas and general (in all but name) begging methods that were aimed in his direction.

With the postman bringing him such delights as signing away his chattels or a mention in his will to assorted causes when he passes on and his description of his ultimate demise was this was nature’s way of giving him his ‘Crackerjack’ pen and I thought it was a nice way of putting it.

For those of a certain age who can remember the children’s BBC programme ‘Crackerjack”, which had a general knowledge quiz called ‘Double or Drop’ that if you answered a question wrong, you got a cabbage and if you got three cabbages, you were out the game and you got your inscribed ‘Crackerjack’ pen.

Other mail brought the joys of filling sacks with unwanted clothing, money or anything that could be turned into cash by others it would seem with greater knowledge of the world than us mere mortals know although as he pointed out, without us as ‘targets’ they would be lost of course.

He had also noticed through the medium of television and the cinema, the numerous adverts with mostly downbeat, doleful music on a piano or other single instrument played that was accompanied with photos of people or animals in slow motion in supposedly adverse conditions and the sobering thought that these adverts cost mega bucks to produce plus find the ‘right’ space to be included in assorted television breaks but he thought that they could quite well have a lot of money by just using it for their causes rather than spending it on this form of advertising.

Through this form of advertising, he had worked it out that he was being asked for three pounds each month to keep assorted aardvarks going, ditto five pounds for elephants, another two pounds to keep tigers roaring, ditto donkeys plus assorted other animals that involved in some cases ‘adopting’ them plus getting a ‘free’ photo and a cuddly toy of their ongoing progress and this is mainly aimed at the animal side of life, but a mention of those in the human sense with assorted medical problems do get a nod, that need sorting because without us, we can’t shell out to keep the above going.

In one week he totalled it all up, allowing for any he may have missed out as the doorbell had rung or the ‘call of nature’ had occurred and had dragged him away from the telly screen and radio, so he wanted an extra £173 per month to give each one for their requested/wanted/required donation to keep them all going, so he was looking for another job to take on that would pay him enough, after deductions of course to help keep the country running, so he could ‘donate’ to all these no doubt worthy causes that were hoping he could help.

Then he said he would have to factor in the cost of a part time book-keeper to keep track of this added expenditure plus extra shelves to stack the account books and obviously more bank statements on, so all in all quite a number of people were involved in the ‘giving chain’ that went way beyond just the donating bit.

His wife Pauline was quite mystified in a similar vein as she was unable to work out when there was a natural disaster of some magnitude anywhere in the world, supposed celebrities living the life style of royalty were on the television within hours or days also asking for our money when these ‘clebs’ were rolling in more cash than she could ever imagine. She had worked it out that if all these same minded ‘cleb’ people were to have a whip round among themselves, they could raise the cash required without asking those who have to work really hard for a living.

So he pointed out that he was not sure what to do. Pauline suggested he didn’t watch the television as often so he didn’t get to hear about these ‘deals’ so much but he said he liked those bits between the adverts as some were entertaining if you hang on long enough.

Then there was the postman to consider as do you ignore him or go sort of postal ‘ex-directory’ like you do with the telephone or rather more to the point do they do this as a service and stop begging letters but he pointed out that most of the mail they get in between the bills was begging letters with the occasional greeting cards as in two main batches, birthdays once a year and Christmas that runs from August to December nowadays.

I asked him if he had any ideas of the type of job he was looking for and he thought the opposite to the engineering one he had retired from and one had caught his eye – a company was looking for people to ask people in the street to sign up to donate to assorted causes, plus no experience necessary, clipboard and pens supplied and Pauline added he knew how the process worked as he had massive unlimited experience.

Go for it, Brian.