Posted in Family, Personal life

I Could Have Been That Gangster’s Moll

My ex-boyfriend is wanted by Interpol.  The FBI would also like to catch up with him.  And there are a few thousand investors who would like to do more than shake him by the hand.

I find this extremely gratifying.  Not so long ago, I was sorting out some newspapers with which to line my cat’s litter tray.  A broadsheet fluttered open to reveal a face and a name that I knew.  Under the banner “Business Big Shot” was the name and photo of this old high school boyfriend.

I’d dated him briefly, never seen him once since leaving school, and suddenly, here he was, a Business Big Shot, large as life (which was pretty large, at 6’6”) and with a fortune to match.

His parents had been pretty wealthy too.  My father jokes that one night when he came to pick me up from their house, he made the mistake of parking at the wrong end: it  was a long walk to the front door.

Big Shot’s father was self-made, a plumber by trade, and expected his sons to be successful too.

“It doesn’t matter that he doesn’t write well, he’ll have a secretary to do that for him,” he remarked to a teacher who had criticized his son’s homework.

And sadly, he was right.  Big Shot had gone on to set up and run a successful investment company, gaining the trust of many clients.  He had married, bought himself a smart island home in the Med, and was now, according to the newspaper report, being sued for a sumptuous divorce settlement.

“I could have been that ex-wife!” I thought with a sudden pang of regret.

And Big Shot he was in more ways than one.  He  had recently been gunned down in South America, supposedly for refusing to part with his Rolex.  Well, at his size, he’d be an easy target.

But since the newspaper report appeared, I’ve had an update from a mutual friend, the teacher who has never forgiven Big Shot’s father’s misogyny.  It seems Big Shot is a target once more, this time for the police.  He pulled the rug from his company overnight, fled with his clients’ millions in his pocket and has never been seen again.   He has left many lives and many fortunes in ruins.

So I’m now very pleased that I gave my cat the opportunity to express its own opinion on the newspaper article about him.


Posted in Family, Personal life

Virtual Giving

Sorting through my daughter’s toys to find things for her school’s Haiti benefit sale, I make a mental note to invite fewer children to her next birthday party. The last one was in May, but there is still a shelf full of presents that she hasn’t yet played with.  I surreptitiously drop a few items into an opaque carrier bag, hoping she won’t notice.

Not that I mind the parties.  I will happily host a couple of dozen children, organise races in the garden, and serve up  a hearty tea, but I dislike the obligatory present that serves  as an uofficial entry fee to every child’s party. It would be  unthinkable to turn up without one.  And I would have to be a heartless mother indeed to put on the invitations “no presents please”.
It would be so much tidier, easier and cheaper if we could persuade our children to exchange cyber-presents instead of the real thing, as is currently the vogue on Facebook. I haven’t yet got the hang of it myself, but it seems that if you play certain online games, you can win gifts to forward to your friends.  A kitten, some freshly baked cookies, a bunch of forget-me-nots, a share of some buried treasure, a heart – I have received all of these things lately.  They are touching gifts and are particularly welcome because they bring with them no responsibiity.  I can enjoy my kitten without having to clean out cat litter.  The cookies won’t trouble my conscience or my  waistline.  And I don’t need to find a transplant surgeon to make sure the heart doesn’t go to waste.

If only we could apply the same technology to the tradition of children’s party gifts.  It would save an awful lot of time, trouble and wrapping paper.  And children would come up with much more imaginative gifts than on Facebook.  My daughter would give things like a unicorn, a flying carpet and a pink kitten.  I’d like to add the Wishing Chair from the Enid Byton books – how cool a present would that be?

If everyone adapted this virtual giving, the whole birthday thing would be so much less fraught.

But then, the Haiti sale would not have done anywhere near as well.
Posted in Personal life

Orderly Conduct

This evening I decide to go public and announce my new employment status on Facebook. Spend some time  responding to jolly birthday messages sent to me yesterday. I wallow in the surprised comments of those who thought that if my birthday ended in a 0 (as announced the day before), it must have started with a 4. Share the news with them that one colleague assumed I was leaving work to have a baby. Only later do I realise that this particular colleague does not wear glasses. Yet.  Resolve to keep a wide berth if I spot her at the wheel of a car.

Also notice properly for the first time that as all my Facebook friends are listed in alphabetical order by Christian name, my best friend from my last school, Aaren, will always be ranked at the top, unless I suddenly befriend an aardvark (and one that has a Facebook account, at that). So glad I decided not to name my daughter Zoe.