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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Thursday February 16 2006

If I were ever to be on Room 101, which is the BBC programme where BBC lefty comedians etc. take it in turns to say what they hate, I would put “having to wash every day” on my list.  The point of this programme is not to hate racism or world poverty or politicians who lie.  “Socialism” would be a very hard sell indeed and one would obviously be tempted, but as I say, that really is not the point.  The point is to identify those maddenly annoying little things which you forget about except when they happen (and keep happening) or when someone reminds you of them when you are watching Room 101.  Or, in the case of having to wash, maddenly annoying big things which are so universal and permanent in the misery they inflict that most people just take them for granted as inevitable, and forget to hate them with the force and publicity that would actually be appropriate.

It can be a very enjoyable show when people choose really good things to hate.  Particularly apt objects of hate are greeted with a spontaneous “yes” of recognition and loathing.  Yes I hate that too!  But I’d forgotten about it!

One of the better Room 101 pet hates of recent years was chosen by the former England football manager Terry Venables, who chose the bizarre and dangerous procedures needed to unwrap a new shirt.  You’ll be lucky if the shirt has no bloodstains, was his point.  Plus, whenever you need a new shirt you are likely to be in a hurry.  There must be a better way to wrap shirts than with pins (and not even safety pins) everywhere.  The wrapping for every other damn thing that ever gets made now has been changed out of all recognition.  Why not shirts?

I would also nominate tables in coffee bars that wobble, thereby spilling the damn coffee everywhere.  This happens because the natural shape of a table from the point of view of sitting at it is rectangular, which means that the natural number of legs for it is four.  But, the natural number of legs for a table to have if you do not want it to wobble is only three.  Not four.  Certainly not two.  Three.  But, where do you put these three legs if you don’t want people’s knees bumping up against the legs.  Round tables with three legs and three people sitting at them might be an answer.  As would one big central leg in the middle which sticks out in three directions when it arrives the floor but not before, so you can put your feet on top of all that.  Don’t know.  Meanwhile, I hate wobbly tables in coffee bars.

Another thing I hate is another wobbling thing, namely paving stones which wobble.  When it has been raining, and when you step on it, as you do, in exactly wrong place, the paving stone disappears into a puddle which was hitherto hidden under the paving stone, and your foot with it.  Your shoes are your best ones, and one of them (but only one – very annoyingly) gets filled with muddy water and generally ruined.

I was going to elaborate on the washing thing, by writing about how I have recently started to play music to myself while bathing, but that can wait.