Please, whatever else you want to call me, stop calling me ‘mate’!
You mustn’t blame me, but I have this beastly habit of rounding on hapless shop assistants who have been brainwashed to within an inch of their sad little lives by some random supermarket training Mormon to ingratiate themselves (and by inference, the Organization) with we shoppers by a) calling all the men ‘mate’ (is it sex-discriminatory language, I wonder?), and b) demanding of a complete stranger to know how they are feeling ‘today’?
What are you, my GP? I frequently snarl. Or look fiercely at them and intone, with hissing menace, ‘I am NOT your mate, okay?’ Well, I’m not, am I? Okay, I may be queuing in the Spar convenience store in a rundown suburb of the crumbling Welsh seaside town where poverty, divorce and indolence have condemned me to eke out my days, but I’m still a posh boy from South Kensington at heart.
And for Christ’s sake, do stop asking if I ‘need any help packing ‘today‘?’ I’m a six-foot, 14-stone, massively depressed man with a degree and two ex-wives, not a fucking dweeb in a hairnet. Or, would I be ‘interested in any savings stamps today?’, with that rising Australian inflection that is rapidly becoming a primafacie defence against a murder rap; as if there is anything ‘interesting’ about savings stamps, what, are they a sure bet for the 3.30 at Doncaster, a handy tip for where I can obtain a brand-new 42-inch plasma TV for a fiver?
And what is this ‘today’ thing? Why ‘today’? Did some cut-rate corporate psychologist come up with this motivational word, like ‘New’ or ‘Free’ or ‘Scientifically proven’? Is it one of those hypnotherapy keywords, ‘when I say the word ‘today’ you will instantly feel relieved of 40 quid’…. Would I be ‘interested’ in help with my packing yesterday? Or tomorrow? Next Christmas, maybe? And yes, I have got Type Two diabetes and a headcold, thanks for asking, mate, I feel so much better now I’ve got that off my chest. Okay?