My brother isn't in the Witness Protection Programme, of course. At least I think he's not - if he has I've really gone and blown his cover.
Anyway, given that he can't rely on the Programme, he's asked me to help. Which is fine - there's nothing I like better than wrangling a wardrobe down some stairs. But it also gives me the opportunity to be a bloke for a day, as I'm responsible for hiring and driving the van.
Don't get me wrong. I am an unreconstituted male. But I'm also in touch with the side of me that knows the difference between coriander and oregano. As a desk-jockey for most of my waking hours, the most strenuous thing I've done in the last week involved some nested IF functions in Excel. As a result, I always feel a little..inadequate when it comes to certain manly things. And there's something very blokey about piloting a Ford Transit around.
First of all, there's the hiring to be done. By the time I'd called the third company, I'd got it down to a tee: "Have you got any hi-top long wheelbase transits in for the weekend?"
There are words in that sentence. Like "have" and "weekend." The bits in between could be Esperanto for all I know. But I'd even got the laid-back low pitched rumble into my voice. God only knows where that had come from. If I'd called the person on the other end "mate" that might have helped with the pretence, I suppose.
Anyway I'm looking forward to Saturday morning. Perhaps I need to get a copy of The Sun and 20 B&H to display proudly on the dashboard. I aim to have my right arm dangling out of the driver's window within ten minutes, if I can manage it.
All this has got me thinking. What other things do us office-monkeys have to do to regain our manliness?
- Having anything delivered by the ton. There's something particularly gratifying about ordering one and a half tons of flint gravel. Admitting it's for your faux Japanese ornamental border isn't quite so manly, but you have to start somewhere.
- Going to the bookies at the racetrack. In fact, just going to the racetrack. Just don't admit you're putting money on a particular horse just because it has a pretty name.
- Owning a power tool. Stop sniggering at the back, there.
- Carrying around large quantities of cash to pay for something. For one moment, you're Don Corleone. It's for some really nice bathroom fittings, but who's going to know?