You might remember the weapon of the zombie apocalypse (WotZA): he’s the guy who used to sit next to me (and now sits just behind me) who has, shall we say, a very particular way of looking at life. He’s a developer by trade, and he has very, very firm views on life, whether that be on how steak should be cooked (always well done, never rare), sushi (raw fish is just plain wrong) or housing developments in old church buildings (but how could you do anything in the bedroom? God will be watching….).
He’s been on fine form this week: we had a (terrible) David Beckham lookalike in the office the other day promoting a new fragrance. We were laughing at how poor the likeness was, and how funny it was that people were still queuing up to have their photo taken with him, when WotZA picked up his sample, turned his chair around and made some remark about David Beckham being “a homo”.
What? I wasn’t about to let him get away with that, so I called him.
“What are you talking about?”
“He’s a homo. Look, it says here” At this point, he showed me his sample of “Homme” and pointed, repeatedly at the word. “Homo. Homo”.
“That’s not what it says”
“Well, it’s the French for homo then”
And so on. He also insisted on calling Homer Simpson "Homo Simpson" today, determined to persist in his belief that a program he has never watched is a brainless cartoon aimed at kids.
When he’s like this, the only sensible thing to do is to completely ignore him and not rise to it. He excelled himself this morning though: I was running through some of the questions we had in yesterday’s pub quiz. Whose marriage in 1981 drew more viewers for ITV than the royal wedding on BBC1, in which programme was Winnie Cooper the love interest (I was delighted to pull the answer to that one out of the depths of my brain), how old is Christopher Dean (off of Torville and…), which goddess appears on the back of the 2012 Olympic medals, identifying the theme tune to Inspector Morse played backwards… that kind of thing. WotZA shook his head in mystification at this.
“I don’t watch telly. It doesn’t even have an aerial plugged into it, so there’s no picture. Telly rots the brain and kills intelligent conversation. It’s the scourge of modern society.”
“Well, I don’t watch that much telly either”
“How do you know that stuff then?”
“Because I’m curious”
“But it’s all Jerry Springer and rubbish like that”
“No, it isn’t, and I don’t watch that either.”
“But it kills intelligent conversation”
“well, to be honest I’m not getting much of that from you either”
One of the other questions in the quiz was to name the guy who killed all those people in Norway at the weekend. WotZA shrugged again:
“I didn’t know there had been any shootings….”
Now he was really annoying me: he’s not a stupid man, but he revels in his lack of intellectual curiosity in the world around him and he resolutely refuses to accept that there might be a difference between watching Loose Women and listening to the news on the radio. His idea of a fun night in is to plug his phone into his plasma tv and allow his other half to watch him doing jigsaws on the big screen. I don’t mean to judge, but that’s hardly a lofty position from which to ascend the moral high ground, is it? And the other day he came out with a joke he’d lifted from the movie “Porkies”. What’s that all about? It's not exactly cinema noir, is it?
Aren’t people fascinating?