I’m going to apply for the job as the head of the new Brexit Unit. That’s right, I want to be Lord Frost’s Brexit Svengali. I have no idea what Brexit is about but then neither does Boris Johnson, and Lord Frost, who we all thought was meant to be the expert, seems to have run out of ideas. Which is where I come in.
Although I know nothing about trade, economics, politics, negotiations, public policy or pretty much anything else except how to make a damn fine aubergine parmigiana, I do have a vivid imagination and when it comes to finding the benefits of Brexit, a vivid imagination is the most important skill of all.
This job is my chance to help my country
‘This is my chance to help my country. I’m going to get the Brexit bison across the road. I’ve got a really strong feeling in my bones about this,’ I tell the family.
‘Early onset arthritis?’ asks my son.
‘No. Destiny. Destiny is knocking and I plan to open the door wide.’
‘Get dressed first!’ says my daughter. ‘We don’t want another open kimono incident like with the Deliveroo guy last week.’
‘Aren’t you a bit light on relevant experience?’ asks my wife.
She wants to sound supportive. But she can’t disguise her incredulity. Or is that despair I hear? I wouldn’t be surprised if it were. After all, she still puts on her cricket pads, picks up her bat and heads out to the middle every day to grind out an income in the timeless Test Match called ‘Life’ while I’m jackassing around running up personal bests on the family pinball machine.
‘Technically, you’re right. But they wouldn’t be advertising this job if they hadn’t already rejected the obvious: civil servants, central office courtiers and aspiring sinecurists etc. They’re desperate and looking for game changers, weirdos and misfits.’
‘You’re in with a chance in that case,’ says my son.
‘I admire you for trying something new at your age,’ says my daughter. ‘Frankly, we thought you had given up the ghost years ago.’
I’m still trying…
‘British Bull dog spirit. It’s what keeps me going,’ I say.
I’m pleased I’m still capable of inspiring respect in the children.
‘If you get the job could I be your translator on your overseas trips,’ says my bi-lingual daughter.
‘Yes. The Government likes to help its friends and family get work. I’d certainly put in a bon mot for you.’
‘Is there a VIP Lane for the wives of Government officials which would get me access to the John Lewis sale before everyone else?’ asks my wife.
‘Would that make you a Government WAG?’ asks my son.
‘Probably,’ says my wife, pleased at the idea.
‘Getting this job has got to be better than blowing our inheritance down the pub every lunchtime.’
I look at my daughter.
‘I can’t help it if I have a wide circle of friends who need to be cultivated on a regular basis.’
‘Boomer Club. New members welcome. Only the living dead need apply,’ says my son.
Parents are like bison, hunted to extinction by the young
Sometimes I think that children are like cattle ranchers and parents are like bison. Before the cowboys came along with their guns and lassoes and insatiable appetite for T-Bone steaks and BBQs, the life of a bison was peaceful and pleasant. Loafing, hanging with the herd, chewing a bit of cud and generally chilling (except for the occasional stampede, the bison version of Park Run) was the way things were. But then the children turned up and suddenly the poor old bison was rounded up, branded, chivvied and generally penned in by the demands of others. This feels like one of those bison moments.
‘Would you like to read my covering letter?’ I suggest to change the direction of the conversation back to me.
‘Not really,’ says my wife. ‘I’ve got to get off to work.’
‘Me, too,’ says my daughter.
I look at my son, but he just shakes his head.
‘You haven’t mentioned any of your stupid business ideas in it, have you?’ asks my wife.
We could export the smell of sausage rolls, of course
She’s referring to the fact that I recently wrote to the chief executive of Greggs, the high street food retailer, to suggest he launch a range of perfumes called ‘Eau De Greggs’. The idea was to launch perfumes which smell like their best-selling food products. For example, Eau de Roll (smells like sausage); Eau de Cornwell (smells like a pasty) and Bacon Village (which smells like a bacon butty and is pronounced like the French wine Macon Villages).
If Greggs went into perfumes, it could put the whiff of sausage meat into every bathroom and onto the cheeks of every commuter before they’ve even left home. Which millions would start the day thinking of Greggs before they were even downwind of the nearest outlet. Imagine the impact on sales! Imagine the impact on brand loyalty!
‘Don’t tell me you’ve put the Gregg’s idea into your covering letter as an example of your ability to think out of the box?’ asks my wife.
‘I thought it might be the sort of trade boosting idea they’d want.’
‘It didn’t help with Greggs, though, did it?’
They never answered.
‘No,’ I admit.
‘Government is a serious business. You can’t expect them to hire a clown.’
‘Are you sure?’ I ask.