“If you are grouchy, irritable or just plain mean, there will be $10 charge for putting up with you!” ~ unknown
This morning, I came across a book, a book that someone with vengeful humour once purchased for my late husband. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this, but that someone when purchasing the book, simply looked at the title, and that someone just might have been me!
I’m not sure how this particular book, aptly titled ‘Grumpy Old Men’ managed to escape the charity box, because let’s face it, very little else did!
Anyway, just as you do when finding an old newspaper, and completely forgetting the task in hand, I sat down to read a chapter.
Even though sections of the book are somewhat controversial and could even be described as humorously black; today I share a snippet or two, however, my first offering from this book is a little lighter.
Trains – Schrödinger’s Cat
All the seats on trains have a little bit of cardboard on the back and a specially-designed and built slot that says something like: Bristol – John O’Groats One Way. They are, for something bureaucratic, clearly labelled. So it’s not too weird that if you see a seat with a tag that says Bristol- John O’Groats, and the train has just pulled out of Bristol, you might assume that the seat is now not going to be sat in. Don’t!
All reserve seats on trains are Schrödinger’s seats. They get this name from the famously mystifying physics theory known as Schrödinger’s Cat. No one who isn’t a physicist really understands this theory, but it appears to hang onto the notion that if you put a cat in a box with radioactive isotope, if one particular thing happens, the cat will be dead when you open the box. And if another thing happens, it won’t.
Spectacular nonsense obviously, which goes a long way to explaining why physicists are rarely allowed to own cats. But it does work when applied to reserved seats on trains.
Here’s how it goes down. Our traveller, weary from seeing the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the SS Great Britain and Massive Attack and all the other fine sights of Bristol, sees the reserved seat with no one in it. He has two courses of action:
1) Neat he thinks, and plonks himself down into it, arranging his many CDs and paperback books all around himself for the journey. And immediately he does so – a mad-eyed squaddie from the Wirral called Spug appears from the buffet car with fourteen cans of lager and suggests in special short words that our traveller go somewhere, and have sex with himself in several equally special ways.
2) But! If our traveller, experienced in the ways of men, thinks, Nah – a reserved seat, however empty, is still reserved, and spends the rest of the journey to John O’Groats sitting on his luggage in the corridor while people spill coffee on him, then the theory of Schrödinger’s Seat guarantees that no-one will claim the seat, and it will remain empty for the rest of the journey.
This is also, incidentally, the reason why physicists always nab the best seats on trains!
“Hi we can’t be bothered to open the buffet car, owing to either alcoholism among the management or a dropping the key down-a-drain accident earlier in the week. This means that most of the food we normally stock, execrable though it is, is currently not available. And in fact our stock is so small that it can all be fitted onto some sort of shopping trolley.
The buffet cart will go up and down the train in a half-hearted sort of way, blocking the aisles so that people who want to go to the toilet or even to get off at Doncaster will be trapped for hours, until we completely run out of the meagre supply of provisions.
At which point, we will do one more run up and down the train, just to rub it in. And then serve an enormous feast of roasted pig’s face in sherry gravy to all the passengers in First Class. This feast will be broadcast over the tannoy system – That is all!”
Please expect more! © Sue W-nansfarm.net 2017
In response to the Daily word-prompt Black
Extracts taken from ‘Grumpy Old Men’ – A manual for the British malcontent! (David Quantick) 2004
“Lord, please give me patience, because if you give me strength I’m liable to beat someone to death! ~ Grumpy old git quote – author Unknown