Fandango’s Splish-Splash (22 July 2020)

Wednesday. Fandango’s Provocative Question once again. I’m going to do things a little differently today, but when the One Word challenge is also cynical…. well, most every single one of my posts would fit, so I’m going to combine the two.

Time to address this week’s FPQ, which is:

Have you missed profession and/or college sports since the seasons were either cancelled or suspended in March? How do you feel about the timing of the return of sports, especially given the surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, at least in the United States?

Okay, first of all, let me explain the situation in the UK, then I’ll try to apply the questions as best I can. Most of our professional sports are back, probably over the last six weeks. The first to go back was horse racing, I think, but the biggie, soccer, went back maybe a month ago.

They are doing these sports behind closed doors – public not admitted.

Straight away, that tells you something. What’s the use of playing a sport if you don’t allow spectators? It is for the gambling, no other purpose. So let’s be clear that money is the driver here.

Honing in on soccer in particular (because I have no knowledge of anything else), from a health perspective, the games themselves are zero-risk, because the players are known to be uninfected before the start. As known as can be, anyhow. They are tested twice a week. So they can tackle each other, and kiss each other when someone scores a goal, doesn’t matter. None of them is infected, anyhow.

That’s about where we are in the UK. I guess all professional sport is similar, I have no clue about amateur sport. Amateur sport usually gets left way behind when anything happens.

There’s a slight aside here, in that all the soccer (the highest league, anyhow) is televised. The TV company adds canned crowd noise to what is basically a silent stadium. If you haven’t heard it, you have no idea how fake it all sounds. But, you know, small potatoes.

On to the questions.

Have you missed profession and/or college sports since the seasons were either cancelled or suspended in March?

Not much. I don’t abhor sport, but I can take it or leave it. As you probably surmised, I am not a gambler, and I am pretty anti-gambling.

Probably the two things I missed the most were the Giro (Italy) and the Tour (France), two of the three main cycling races. But even that is dampened down, now that I don’t cycle myself any more.

How do you feel about the timing of the return of sports, especially given the surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, at least in the United States?

I am relaxed about it. In the UK at least, even playing sport (as a player) is as small a risk as possible, so why should I, an armchair spectator, care?


Here’s the rub, though. Thought I was finished? Sorry.

I am a diabetic and a stroke survivor. Just in terms of statistics, I am probably at a higher risk than an ordinary member of the public. I have never even been offered a single test. Not one, since February.

But I don’t want to make this about me. I’m fortunate in that I speak to a cross-section of about 20 people regularly, each week, through my charity work. None of them has been tested, either. Despite the fact that each and every one of them is over seventy years old. I know maybe a half dozen Brits on here. It might be fallible reasoning, but none of them has ever mentioned being tested. Same with my contacts on Facebook.

Premier League soccer players are tested twice a week.

I’m not gonna rant here, but the end of this I have a couplew of simple questions.

  • How come?
  • Why does a soccer player get preferential treatment over any one of my contacts?

Hot in the City (1:5)

Since asking Anna out, Paul had cooled somewhat. There was no way she could be interested, and in any case, his life was already complicated enough. After the divorce, he’d vowed “never again”, so why was he tempting fate? The only way to play this was to put any thoughts of romance out of his mind.

She arrived almost fifteen minutes late. He thought she’d stood him up. When she finally arrived, she explained that the Northern Line had been suspended – a suspect package – but had started again after five long minutes.

And so they bowled. It might have been one of the works nights out. The chatting was quite effortless, the alcohol greased the wheels. He told her about Jake, about Beth, about how his mum lived not far away, aged 79 now, and how he often helped out with odds and ends. Anna was still in the house in Camden, not far from the canal, that she had shared as a student – besides, renting in London was so expensive. One of Anna’s favourite days out was to go clothes shopping at the market there. She told him about her family, that she was already an auntie, almost twice! She hadn’t intended to, but decided to tell him about the job offer. Even her best friend Asha, who’d studied alongside Anna, and who still shared a house with her, got a mention.

The first game was a whitewash, Anna winning by more than forty points. The second was closer – seventeen points. Paul had insisted on a “decider”, he wasn’t particularly competitive, but he was enjoying himself. The second frame, however, was to be their last, Not seeing the spilled drink on the floor, Paul slipped. He almost – not quite – regained his balance and grabbed onto the seating to stop himself from falling completely, bending his thumb backwards.

Nursing a very red thumb, Paul conceded defeat. He was not sure if he’d broken anything, so wanted to get himself checked out at the hospital – the Princess Victoria was only a mile away, and they catered for emergencies. It was already late, so Paul prepared to say his goodbyes, but Anna would not hear of it, she was coming with him. They found a minicab very quickly, checked in at the hospital, and settled in for a long wait.

As it happened, the NHS was having a good night. Only a four-hour wait to be seen. Then another 45 minutes while the X-Ray team was paged. Neither of them would be much use at work tomorrow!

The final verdict? Badly bruised, but not broken. Take paracetamol until the pain became bearable. They had, at least, put the thumb into a bandage for him. The tired junior doctor probably thought of this as success, another satisfied customer, if he thought anything at all behind those eyes, blanked from working twenty hours straight. Paul couldn’t help wondering whether he’d have been better off just going home and wrapping his thumb in some frozen peas.

It was approaching dawn when they got out into the open air. Deflated, Paul felt he had wasted not only his time, but hers too. They shared a minicab, which would drop Paul off first, then continue on to Anna’s. What a night! Outside Paul’s bedsit, Paul could only apologise one last time for the mess. To his surprise, she pecked him on the cheek and said “don’t worry, we’ll have to be more careful next time”.

“Next time” – those two little words that made Paul’s evening.


Share Your World (week beginning 20 July 2020)

I’ve been trying to keep myself busy (man’s work) and I didn’t think I was going to have time to answer Melanie’s Share Your World questions this week.

But you guys have really upset me. I’ve seen some really disappointing answers this week, so I thought I’d have to make the effort to redress the balance, even if I just answered one of the questions.

Your penalty for upsetting me? I want you to go outside, take all your clothes off, and then you need to stand there until a squirrel comes along and nibbles on your acorns.

Why am I upset? Well, I saw this question and you all got the answer so, so wrong:

Would You Rather Be Trapped In An Elevator Full Of Men With BO Or Three Soaked Dogs? 

Look, Ladies[1], it is high time you realised – BO is the Essence de la vie (literally – if you set fire to it, it will explode). That mix of stale sweat and testosterone[2] – what could be better than being in an elevator with ten, nay, fifty[3] , other men? You might think that we smell, but we do it all for you. You might think that our jobs keep us out unreasonable hours – but it is all for you. Our breath might smell of booze when we finally get home, but it is all for you, to make ourselves more interesting for you.

We go hunting, trap bears in nets, we shoot fish, all for you. We boldly go, where no man has gone before, all for you.

Give me some men, any day of the week. The sweatier, the drippier, the better.

Let’s throw those mutts down the shaft!

[1] I assume you’re ladies, even though your name might be Harold

[2] most definitely not bottled and sold here as Links Deodorant

[3] subject to elevator safe loading limits