Here we go again. I always knew it would end in tiers. We are back on the Corona-coaster and I have a terrible suspicion that Dido Harding has asked Chris Grayling to oversee track maintenance. This is life in the time of the Cronyvirus.
As the country lurches back into confusion and despair, I have decided to buck the trend and follow government advice. Rishi Sunak, or “Brutus” as the Prime Minister calls him, suggested that creative people needed to “retrain and find other jobs.” A lot of people in The Arts were up in arms. Their talents were a calling, something they had invested their whole lives, in they said. This was not some sort of hobby that they could set aside like some used lump of modelling clay (commonly known as a “Michael Gove” in animating circles).
I respectfully disagreed with my luvvie comrades. I’d had a good run at dressing up as a squirrel and writing stuff. Maybe it was time to retrain as something else? But what? Growing up I’d always wanted to be a diplomat, a foreign correspondent or a spy. I’d already done two of those. Actually, I might very well have done all three but if I admitted that, then I’d have to kill you and that would be unfortunate.
A ballerina called Fatima seemed to be unwittingly spearheading Mr Sunak’s exciting new idea. Posters showing Fatima (basically, an uncredited photograph of a ballerina) started appearing online suggesting that Fatima might move to “cyber” (whatever the fuck that might be) but that she just “didn’t know it yet.” Given the preponderance of this poster over the last couple of days, I rather suspect that Fatima must definitely “know it” by now and it’s probably rather putting her off her Arabesque.
Although the government appeared to have already decided that Fatima was doing “Cyber,” most of us still appeared to be permitted to have at least a modicum of choice in what our shiny new careers might be. To help, there is a retraining website where, having answered fifty or so questions about your qualifications, background, likes and dislikes, you are provided with the computer’s thoughts on what you might be suitable for.
I spent half an hour inputting the, admittedly, unusual details of my unusual career path. I decided beforehand that I would refuse any offer of merchant banker, professional footballer or hand model. A man has to draw a line in the sand somewhere.
When everything was in, I pressed return and waited to see what my future held.
After a brief period thinking, the computer offered up three possibilities.
The first suggestion was a sniper. Now, I actually quite fancied this. I play quite a lot of a video game called Sniper Elite on my son’s X-Box. But, as a man of a certain age with increasingly dodgy eyesight, I realised that this might not be entirely practical, so I opted to put it in the “maybe” box.
The second option came as a real surprise. Ballet dancer. It seemed that the plan was for me to step into Fatima’s pumps when she left for cyber. Flattered as I was, I was worried about what Fatima might think if she found out? So, I decided to put this in the “no” box.
The third and final suggestion was the clear winner. I should become a Covid Marshall said the computer. I thought this over. It made total sense. After all, I had previous experience in law enforcement as a traffic warden in Trigger Happy TV. I like a uniform and, as my family will attest, I love nothing better than to wander around telling people what to do.
And so, it came to pass. I had a ceremonial bonfire in the square upon which I threw my old animal costumes, disguises and the big mobile. It was therapeutic. I felt bad when it got out of control and set light to number thirty-two…but not that bad. I’d spotted the husband getting a bit too close to the postman last Monday, way under two metres…so, in a way, they deserved it. I felt excited. It was as though I was born to this role.
The following day I got the uniform in the post. A yellow high-visibility vest, a peaked cap and a silver Marshall’s star to pin proudly on my chest. I’d joined an elite unit and, for the first time in my life, I felt an incredible feeling of self-worth and usefulness.
I put it on and strode out into the community, ready to do my bit. It was not as easy as I’d thought. The first guy I reprimanded for not wearing a mask went crazy. He accused me of working for Bill Gates and wanting to make him wear a mask in order to take control of his mind by forcing him to breathe in his own co2. He also told me about the tunnels running under Cheltenham that are filled with kidnapped children. He sounded really smart and not in the slightest bit crazy. It made me think.
I’m sure it’ll all get easier in time. If you spot me out and about, come and say hello…just. make sure you stay more than two metres away and don’t make eye contact or it’s a £1,000 fine. Stay safe.