I’ve always been quite keen on the idea of winning things.
As previously mentioned, I am dogged by a level of inactivity that makes your average sloth look like a go-getter or a Supermum. This torpid passivity, this chronic lethargy, or, as my Dad would call it, this bone-bloody-idleness, is my cross to bear and perhaps, at some point in the future, may inspire some of you to do sponsored walks or dress-down-Fridays to raise money on my behalf, but that is not why I am speaking to you today (although by all means make a mental note of these suggestions). No, what I want to say to you today is that just because I am ill-equipped to earn a decent living this has never stopped me wanting THINGS.
I think this is almost certainly the main, though not only, reason why myself and the Dalai Lama parted ways and are no longer on speaking terms. He seems to believe that happiness is something that radiates from within, a sort of inner peace that acts as a shield against all the woes that life can throw at you. I, meanwhile, hold the rather more mundane belief that a nice house, electronic gadgets and foreign holidays are a much more guaranteed path to true enlightenment. I also don’t think much of his dress-sense. He’s old enough to realise that a proper pair of trousers and a smart jumper would look better than wrapping a bedsheet around yourself.
People who want THINGS but who, through no fault of their own, are too lazy to work hard in order to buy them, are the unluckiest people in the world, as Nat King Cole once sang. They are practically compelled to choose a life of crime, condemned by their own slackness to break the law. But once I gave some thought to going down this route of illegality I saw clearly that it wasn’t perhaps the easy ride that I’d have wished for – involving strenuous activities like plotting and scheming, actually going out and doing crimes, escaping and then, from what I’ve read in crime novels, constantly looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life.
My alarming levels of listlessness would never be able to cope, let alone my neck muscles from all that over-the-shoulder nonsense. In fact, just thinking about it for five minutes practically exhausted me for three whole days. Crime, it seems, was way beyond the limits of my indolence. There had to be another way to have the latest stuff without having to either work for it or go out and steal it. A less stressful way. It came to me that I should put my fate in the hands of fortune and attempt to win things.
Thinking about winning things has been one of my favourite pastimes for as long as I can remember. It possibly started as a teenager when, along with my friends, we invented our own version of the classic TV gameshow Bullseye. Ignoring the smaller prizes from the show such as carriage clocks and 14-inch colour TVs, as well as the bigger prizes like speedboats and Mini Metros, we invented our own prizes. And, as these prizes were never in reality going to be handed over, we allowed ourselves free-rein in their invention.
We started off still within the bounds of reason, if not wisdom, so a popular early prize was The Tetley Pass, which granted the holder free beer in every Tetley pub in Leeds. But it wasn’t long before we were playing for prizes such as “A Weekend’s Invisibility”, or “One Year’s Immunity From All Laws” until we reached my personal favourite – “A Lifetime’s Immunity From All Laws Including The Laws of Physics and Nature.” We showed-up Jim Bowen’s Sunday evening show for the cheapskate affair it was, with the generosity of our imaginary prizes. If we’d been making that programme it would have been the Bake Off of its day.
At this juncture I should point out that one of those teenage friends proved to be a true inspiration to me in my own inertia when he declared, aged 17 and fully able-bodied, “My legs are for display purposes only.” I wiped away a manly tear of admiration as I typed that – a true hero to the unproductive.
In the days before the lottery, people dreamed of winning the pools. Now the pot-of-gold for today’s dreamers is the lottery or even the Euromillions where it’s possible to win the sort of money where you’d start voting Tory.
I doubt that I am alone in having lottery-winning daydreams and for most of us these will revolve around handing-in our notice at work. My own method of this, obviously dwelt-upon over hundreds of hours, was extremely worked out. Naturally I would be borne aloft on some sort of sedan chair carried by lackeys, but my entrance would be the finale of a procession which began with a charge by scimitar-wielding horsemen – headlong through the office – followed by many a gooseherd driving thousands of geese through, before hundreds of people blowing those long trumpets that are only ever seen in films about Moses, or those Roman dudes, marched through playing “Yakety Sax”. It would end with various lunatics running in front of my sedan chair throwing rose petals from baskets over which I could then be carried.
Only two things are stopping this from happening. Firstly, they sacked me years ago. And secondly, I have scoured the Yellow Pages for “Scimitar wielding horsemen”, “Biblical trumpet blokes” and “Rose-petal scattering lunatics” from begin to end and there are none to be found. Not even for ready cash, as Oscar Wilde would have remarked. Those unemployed but seeking work, take note – these are genuine openings in the world of employment that need filling. And if you don’t believe me about the Yellow Pages, have a look for yourselves.