Let’s not beat about the bush. It would make perfect sense for me to have my Tesco Clubcard tattooed on my forehead. I can no more remember the damn thing than I can resist a bottle of red wine.
A quick visit to Wishful Inkin’ and all my troubles would be over. “Thanks. A bottle of gin for the wife as well if you would – and then just scan my head.”
But now I have a bigger problem.
My bag for life. Or rather, the lack of it.
As you know the country is drowning in carrier bags. Her Majesty’s Government has taken decisive action. On balance I think a future Doctor Who will conclude that life on Earth died out for rather more sinister reasons than the carrier bag, but what do I know?
I therefore spent the last week before the Armageddon assiduously collecting ‘bags for life’ while they were free. “Result!” I yelled in triumph. “Two trips to the corner shop. Two bags for life.”
Ben looked up from his dinner. “Two bags for life? Isn’t that a bit optimistic at your age, Dad?”
Anyway, the front hall is now overflowing with bags for life. Yes, it’s tricky getting through the front door but there’s a price to pay for everything. And think of all those 5p’s I won’t be spending. A million trips to the corner shop and I can buy a Ferrari.
And so long as I’m at home it works. My bag and I are inseparable. Joined at the hip. Because Jane yells “Bag” every time I put my shoes on.
Once I’m allowed out on my own it’s a different story.
Here I am at the office. And look, my beloved has sent a filthy sex text to brighten my day.
Dishwasher tablets, dog food, shampoo, Ben’s out of deodorant.
Who says the magic’s gone after 20 years of marriage?
So it was Wilko’s for lunch. And didn’t I need paper for the office? Hadn’t Ben muttered something about lever arch files?
Net result? A shamefaced confession at the checkout. “Two carrier bags, please.”
Bright red. Obviously. So everyone could see them.
I slunk out of the shop like a criminal. The town centre stopped to stare at me.
Not long now and carrier bags will come with a siren. Or you’ll be invited to hang a bell round your neck. Maybe some enterprising borough will re-introduce the stocks. ‘There’s one, sarge. Two carrier bags! Ten minutes being pelted with tomatoes. Only language these people understand.’
The day didn’t improve. Jane was back late. No-one yelled ‘bag.’
Ben shook his head sadly as I came back juggling cartons, tins and tubs. “Forgotten again, Dad? It’s only to be expected at your time of life.”
“Ben, I only went because you haven’t eaten for two hours and you’re apparently at death’s door. Cereal, pudding, ham for your sandwich, bread because you’ve eaten it all. People only need carrier bags because they have teenage children.”
My son didn’t reply. He was too busy eating.
“Anyway,” I said, “I’ve got you a treat. One tub of Ben & Jerry’s new, exciting Cookie Core, £5.24 – far too expensive. But they’re on special offer: two for a fiver. You don’t need to be Stephen Hawking to work that one out.”
Thirty minutes later my son pronounced himself disgusted. “No wonder it was on special offer. There are lumps of yuk in it, Dad.”
Eloquently put. And my wife took the same view.
It’s clearly karma. I’m being punished for those plastic bags. Looks like I have 1½ tubs of Cookie Core to finish. I may be gone some time…
Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and moderately humorous to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here.