Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Fred goes for a duck

It was Monday morning and I wasn't really feeling it. I was cold and tired and I had a subbing exercise to complete on an article about an 84-year-old war hero widower with Parkinson's called Fred who had vanished from his nursing home three days previously.

The exercise: correct the bad English (of which there was much), get the article down to within the word count, then come up with a heading and sub heading for the article.

Our lecturers are big fans of catchy aliteration, so I went with "Parkinson's pensioner ducks out of care home" as my sub heading, scoring additional points for a punning reference to the fugitive's apparent obsession with feeding ducks.

At least, I thought I'd scored points - the morning's lecturer, a doleful walrus of a man, declared that some of us were still suffering from weekend silliness.

"You'd get a letter of complaint from the family at the very least," he said.

"I mean, this gentleman could be dead for all we know."

My eyes slid sideways to Glyn's headline on the adjacent computer: "Fred Could Be Dead."

"I think Glyn might get a firebomb," I ventured.

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This Glyn, whoever he is, is obviously a comedy genius. I imagine that his response was prompted by the 'doleful walrus' insisting that the old man had disappeared for prosaic or tragic reasons. I think there is equal chance that a man who could survive WWII could easily escape a few bored nurses and is probably living a life of luxury in the Cayman Islands on his share of the stolen Nazi gold. I see him sipping a pina colada and carefully plotting his revenge on his turn-coat children for imprisoning him there in the first place.
Uh-oh... RP, is that you?...
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