Wednesday 20 February 2008

The energy shortage

14st 6lb; zero alcohol; 1,444; Sage (next to Baltic, sharp right from Fisher).

I’ve been doing something most unusual for the last couple of days. What’s it called again? Oh, yes: work. The curse of the drinking classes. As I sat at my desk yesterday, churning out someone’s annual report, a man with a chainsaw, a sort of bulldozer and a box of matches converted the remains of the tree in the field opposite into a small pile of smouldering ash. Which is ironic, considering that it was an ash when it was alive. With all traces obliterated, apart from a few sections of trunk piled by the roadside to await collection, I considered how I would react if a genie suddenly appeared and offered me the chance to put the tree back. I concluded that I would decline politely, which made me feel both guilty and insincere. After all, when have I ever been known to do anything politely in the normal course of events?

Thinking of the genie reminded me of the big laugh a client of mine got at a dinner some years ago, when he told the one about the genie emerging from the battered old lamp and offering to fulfil his dearest wish. Naturally he asked for his company to become a market leading member of the FTSE-100, with a peerage for himself. The genie pondered and said that it seemed a bit of a tall order. Was there anything else? Well, he said, you could stop my PR adviser moaning by finding him a girlfriend. “Hmmm,” replied the genie. “Run that FTSE-100 thing past me again, would you?”

Today I finished the annual report, completing the unenviable task of translating its Corporate Social Responsibility section into something resembling English. I’ve always felt the urge to make this sort of task more interesting by burying some jokes in the text, for example by making the first letters of every sentence spell out some horrifically obscene message. But luckily, perhaps, I’ve never had the energy to follow it through.

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