Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Great and the Good

It was the summer of 1984, and as the TVs covered (rather Orwellianly) the miners’ strike I was leaving Oxford (having arrived there 3 years earlier on a scholarship to read Physics), and during an interview for a job (that I didn’t get) in the civil service, a civil servant had asked me where I thought I’d be in 10 years time. I discovered, in the summer of 1994 (see previous post), that it was Nottingham.
......One of the few memorable things that had happened to me in the intervening 10 years was that I’d shaken the hand of the prime minister, who at the time had been John Major; which is my second pseudorandom fact: I recall that fact now because I’m looking at a page of words like ‘impale,’ having just been looking at a page of words like ‘jugular’ (and thinking of George Bush), perhaps because that made me think of Spitting Image (via vampires, and today being, as usual, rather rainy and grey).
......This is not a typical fact about me, because I generally avoid shaking hands (not to mention hugs and kisses), and nor do I tend to associate with the great and the good, but at the time I was a Postman in a fairly new sorting office in Cambridge, which is near to (what was) Major’s constituency, which may be why he was visiting; and my typing speed (converting postcodes into rows of blue dots) was relatively high, as I had only just finished my training (prior to which I used to deliver to such as Stephen Hawking, which is my third not-so-random fact), and so had not yet succumbed to the general disgruntlement (into which I was soon to settle), which may be why one of the line managers pointed me out to the PM as he toured the office.
......Of those two facts, having once been Hawking’s postman seems to me to be the most impressive. Perhaps that’s because, whilst I disagree with his physics no less than I disagree with Major’s politics, the former subject is the more philosophical. Whatever—I’ve managed to drop two names into my pseudorandom facts, which is the main thing (why blog if not to show off?)... and so to the tagging (within this game), of Albert and Anne.

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