One year. 100 articles. So we're having a Reader's Party. Come along to Upsidecrown.
4 January 2001
I write the headlines: 'Pope backs Ikea - gala opening planned'. Here comes the logic bit (CON-CENT-RATE).
You may have perfect parents, a perfect marriage. Even so, you've probably seen it, been it. You/they want a new set of shelves, or a guest bed (which, god forbid, will no doubt be a futon - stop trying to convince yourselves that they're comfortable). One of you, whom for the sake of ease we shall call Your Dad, wants to do it on his own. He shuts himself in the spare room and admits defeat half an hour later. Asserting that there must be a component missing he duly dismantles the unfinished article. Then the other party, whom we shall call Your Mum, enters the room with any one of a number of utterances, ranging from the reasonably tactful 'Do you mind if I have a quick look?' to the less tolerant 'Are you out of your fucking mind?'. Three hours and several cups of tea later, the assembled product emerges intact and gleaming, chiefly due to the fact that Your Mum has insisted on reading the instructions. What follows is pure sitcom.
YM: So, aren't you going to say something?
YD: What do you want me to say?
YM: Well, how about 'Well done'?
YD: For Christ's sake, it's only a... (you supply)! What do you want, a fucking medal? Anyway, that leg needs tightening.
YM: That is so like you. You couldn't do it, but you can't possibly admit that I could. You never have been able to handle the fact that I'm more patient than you. Am I the only one who actually gets things done around here? Sometimes I don't think you take our relationship at all seriously.
YD: Oh, Jesus, here we go again...
Ring any bells? Now, extricate yourself from this scene of domestic bloodshed and allow me to cast you in the role of Pope (not John Paul II as he is now - he can't go to the toilet on his own), a sharp-witted pope circa 20 years ago with an eye for spin. He sees the disastrous impact on marriage of flat-packed furniture and - ping! - has an idea: the proliferation of self-assembly items in the predominantly Protestant countries of Europe, especially mainland Britain and Scandinavia, leading to a marked increase in the divorce rate. The Catholic Church could then style itself as the wholesome antidote to Protestant collapse:
'EMBRACE TRANSUBSTANTIATION: STAY MARRIED!'
YM: What do you mean, 'Here we go again'? Maybe we have the same argument all the chuffing time because you can't get up off your fat arse to sort out your attitude.
YD: My attitude! Sorry, I may be being mind-blowingly dense here, but which one of us appears to be unable to control themselves? Oh, look, it's you!
YM: We're not talking about me now.
YD: Why the hell not? These double standards are just typical of you.
YM: You know what? Maybe we're just not compatible. I'm beginning to think that we never were.
YD: Right that's it (you know the rest, come sing it with me).
- Pardon me for disturbing you, Holiness, but the prisoners are getting restless.
- Excellent. Fetch syringes and a camera.
'Nuff said. Just watch it.