Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 12/05/08

Boxed In

I was sitting here just a few moments ago, contemplating the imminence of teatime and wondering how the hell I'd managed to forget buying salad cream last week, when there was a confident-sounding knock on the front door.

Opening it, I found a smartly-dressed young man with a neat haircut and a lopsided grin. He showed me his badge. He needn't have done so, since the ribbon it was dangling from was emblazoned with the logo of a well-known brand of ether-borne anaesthetic/emetic (clue: it's up there above us, and - mathematically speaking at least - it isn't negative).

He launched into his script, only for me to tell him that I wasn't interested since I didn't have a television set.

He didn't quite manage to mask his astonishment as he asked, "What? Not at all?"

"Not for nearly eighteen months", I replied. (See here for the truth of it)

"What happened? Did it break?"

"No. My licence was running out, and I decided to see if I could live without it."

He gave me an angular look. "Strange", he murmured. Cheeky sod.

"Do you have any children?", he asked.

I said that I hadn't, that there was just me.

"Ah!", he said, with the air of one who had just decrypted a riddle. I could almost hear the cogs whirring: middle-aged man, no kids, rather long hair (I've been meaning to get it cut), lives alone and doesn't have a television! Must be some kind of weirdo (I am, but not that kind - you're free to dig up my back garden anytime: in fact, I wish somebody would). Better retreat.

And, with his smile still glinting at a slight angle to the rest of him, but now just beginning to be overlaid with a cloud-cover of uncertainty, he made his excuses and left.

I've long ago got used to the idea that people think it odd I don't have a television set, so I'm not bothered by that. However, one interesting speculation did occur to me. The TV Licensing people wrote to me a few months ago to say they were going to send someone around to see if was still telling the truth. Strangely, no-one has called. Unless...was this one of their dastardly plans? It doesn't matter because it didn't work, but if you're in the same situation as me, be wary.