Lest you were worrying, this will be nothing to do with insurance – I believe Jasper Carrott covered that subject matter some years back and I’d hate to be seen as treading over old ground. No, this relates to a triumvirate of curious claims I saw back in the soi-disant summer – yes, I know this is rather slow coming to “print” and as you will see, this certainly can’t be justified on the basis of improved quality.
The first claim was on a poster I saw whilst awaiting a tube train and advertised a 5km tree walk. I initially found myself wondering if Ents were involved, or perhaps I should start to worry about my invincibility in battle – well, there have been a lot of C-sections over recent years and a chap can’t be too careful. My second thought was that this was a seriously tall tree and I’m not at all sure lignin could support such a massive structure – and certainly not in ambulatory motion. My final thought is what a wonderful language English is, allowing so many erroneous interpretations of a an apparently simple four word phrase.
The second incident was also from an advertisement, but one I saw emblazoned on a cab door in Edinburgh. This was extolling the virtues of a male comedian (name long since forgotten) with the claim that he provided “effortless delivery”. It struck me that this was a slogan more appropriate for Royal Mail or DHL than stand-up comedy. Let’s face it, delivery for a stand-up involves speaking aloud – something which most of us can manage with a relatively low level of effort and don’t feel the need to brag about, at vast expense, on taxi doors. I can only recall seeing one comic with somewhat effortful delivery – and in his case, he had the excellent excuse that he suffers from cerebral palsy. Perhaps this forgotten comic had overcome a stammer or Tourettes to perform at the Fringe? If so, I am doing him a terrible dis-service – though I still feel he could do with some more work on his advertising copy.
I was also introduced to my final example at Edinburgh. It came in the form of a song that Michael Legge used to make his entrance. I believe the song was by something called Kelis and, if not so entitled, certainly made much play of the phrase “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard”. At a very rough estimate, there are somewhat more than three billion boys currently in existence – so, if the claim is true, this yard is going to be exceeding cramped (and the pressure on local roads and public transport doesn’t bear thinking about). I also found myself wondering whether the singer(s) had considered the boys who were either lactose intolerant or vegan. Perhaps this “Kelis” was singing of a soya milkshake and had established this in an earlier verse to which I paid insufficient attention.
I think the moral of this post is that people should think before going public with their outlandish or poorly thought-out claims. Though, if they did, much innocent amusement would be lost – so perhaps we should just stay a moral-free zone.