Monday 15 February 2010

Overweight and scrofulous

15st 6lb, 7.0 units. I am beset by a growing conviction of my utter uselessness; a viewpoint on which regular readers of these pages will surely have little difficulty in nodding their agreement. The unsurprising discovery that I had gained 2lb as a result of yesterday’s lunch did not get the week off to the best of all possible starts, given that I had stupidly agreed to a further bet with my fellow Journal columnist Tom Gutteridge when we met at our old school on Friday, in the hope of kick-starting the process of losing again the weight I successfully shed during the first three months of 2008. It would be in the worst possible taste to say so (though when did that ever stop me?) but dieting seems to be a bit like fighting the Taliban. You chuck everything into the battle, the enemy melts away, you declare a famous victory … then as soon as your attention fades they simply creep back, and you find yourself once again at square one.

I suppose I might as well write out a cheque for the agreed £500 forfeit to the school’s bursary fund, for failing to lose a stone by April Fools’ Day, and post it to them now.

In so far as I can ever be said to have reached a decision, I made a firm one over the weekend that I would rather be in a Proper Job, paying a proper salary, than in my existing position of taking consultancy fees for doing nothing in particular. Many seem to envy this, but it strikes me as an inherently insecure basis on which to attempt to support a wife and child. The only snag is this: what sort of Proper Job am I actually equipped to fill? After six years of masterly inactivity, I have forgotten pretty much everything I knew about public relations (which was not a lot to start with, if I am honest) while nearly all of my valuable media and City contacts have retired, died or been promoted to such stratospheric levels that they no longer need to be bothered with the likes of overweight and scrofulous PR men. I suppose I could stack shelves in a supermarket, but I would probably make a horlicks of that; which would obviously be fatal to my prospects unless I chanced to be working in the malted drinks section.

In this already gloomy frame of mind, an important client asked a small favour: could I book his wife a table at one of London’s most exclusive restaurants? Once, nothing could have been simpler. But given that I have not set foot in the place for the best part of two years it seemed rather a tall order and I was forced to resort to asking someone else to do it for me.

Then someone sent me a cheery e-mail attaching a press release they had drafted over a month ago, on precisely the same subject that I had wasted half of Thursday researching and drafting a release of my own. Worryingly, theirs was rather better than mine. What use am I to anyone, I wondered grimly as I drove home, listening to the inevitable report on the Six O’Clock News that Ali Dizaei has launched an appeal against his conviction and sentence. Exactly as predicted by Mrs H’s uncle, who was kind enough to say over lunch on Sunday that he had enjoyed and agreed with my previous comment on the case, but felt confident that it would cost us all another £8 million before the appeal process was concluded, and that Ali D would more likely than not emerge triumphant at the end of it.

No comments: