I should, perhaps, explain the whereabouts of Numptyland. You won’t find it on a map, or a globe for that matter. It is a virtual land that has come into being almost magically aided and abetted by the faceless bureaucrats and encouraged by governments. Are they not the same, I hear you thinking. Oh no, says I. Government now espouses openness in all its doings. They cannot be seen to be doing anything wrong because everything is open to public scrutiny [sic]. They can, and do, create other entities to take the flak such as the Passport Office and Student Finance, etc.
So who lives in Numptyland? Well there are, of course, the numbnuts, they are a protected species nowadays, are normally of the male persuasion and have a rather nonplussed expression most of the time. Then there are the muppets, usually female, unable to think for themselves and can only read what is presented to them on computer monitors. Naturally, the actual gender of either muppet or numbnut can change depending on the phases of the moon.
Numptyland is a wonderful place to live with beautiful blue skies featuring the occasional fluffy white cloud. There is never a dark cloud anywhere to be seen because no-one is ever sad or upset they can always pass the buck and get someone else to call you back. Numbnuts use a contracted form of English, because they found that many English words had no meaning in Numptyland. Do not be surprised therefore if, when talking to a numbnut, you fail to hear the word sorry or the phrase I’m responsible. Of course there is always someone who is responsible. They are called line-managers and they are always on holiday, off sick or delayed by bad weather.
Contacting Numptyland organisations is fraught with difficulty. As in medieval times a wall was built around a castle to protect it from marauders so the modern numbnut is protected by a menu system of such complexity that you can only get through by accident. I am sure you will recall the first menu item along the lines of….
“We are currently dealing with a large number of calls…etc…etc.”
Sometimes you are treated to one of the more sophisticated versions. You know the ones that ask you to log in first using your customer number and password. Aren’t they wonderful? You have to remove the phone from your ear, make sure the speakerphone is on so you can hear the instructions and when everything has been entered….you get the answer that your details were not recognised.
These sophisticated ones can go even further with the impression of providing a really smooth entrance into their system…..
“Simply speak you customer reference number…..”
This can really catch you out though because we have a general predisposition to believe what we hear. These people obviously have a lot of money and therefore must know what they are doing to have such a clever menu system, and so you begin with your eleven digit customer reference number.
You wait, and resist the temptation to swear down the phone in case it translates as additional digits. Then the response comes
“Sorry, that number is not recognised. Your customer reference number is eleven digits long, please try again!”
If you find a muppet trying to call a numbnut using this system it will keep them amused for hours and can be quite entertaining, in a mind-numbing way, for the rest of us to watch.
There are of course, mobile muppets and numbnuts. These can be dangerous and should be approached with great care.
I came across one of these the other day during a time of great floods. As usual, and thankfully, I was in a line of traffic comprised of calm sensible drivers. As we approached one rather deep flood we waited patiently for a line of traffic coming the other way, in convoy, to pass down the middle of the road and when it was clear our little convoy moved into line to proceed down the middle of the road. I do wish I had my camera with me as this little red car approached from the other direction with a muppet at the wheel gesticulating widely. I believe she was indicating that we should move back over to our side of the road and into the deep water instead of forcing her to drive through the deep water on her side, poor thing.
Maybe water has a magnetic attraction for muppets. Once upon a time we used to live on a boat. It was quite a big boat with a funnel, made of teak and with a copper bottom. We, my family and I, were on a trip down a moderately large ship canal and had moored at one of the bridges for an overnight stay. When we awoke on the morning we found that we were surrounded by little plastic gin palaces, as we called them. Now this type of boat appears to be owned by a particularly dense form of muppet. They, the boats, are generally white with, possibly, a go faster stripe on the side and the weigh up to about 2 tons. They are owned by what I would call middle-management types who haven’t quite got there but think they are on the way. The position of our mooring meant that we had to have a little ‘sea room’ to manoeuvre and this fact appeared to be lost on the little gin palace nestled in our bows. My wife, being nicer than me, decided to approach the muppets and ask them very kindly to move their vessel forward to avoid any unpleasant spilling of the morning champagne. The response of the female muppet was a little unbelievable as my wife was told to leave them alone whilst they had breakfast!
Well, 35 tons versus 1.5 tons – no contest! Full throttle, 120 horsepower, they didn’t really stand a chance. The three foot bow wave shot them straight into the air, muddy water sprayed into the air and landed all over their nice clean white boat and the tea and champagne went all over them. As we slid gracefully past the smiling bridge keeper we could heard the air becoming a deeper shade of blue behind us. Was this an education for the muppets? We will probably never know, unless they read this.
To be continued