Cushy Number

As cushy numbers go, one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever witnessed was the one done by the bloke who used to look after the car park at work.

His name was Ivor and he was a cantankerous old sod whose role in life was to stamp across the tarmac every now and then and swear at anyone who dared to park in the wrong spot.

In between stamping, he had a glass booth where he could keep an eye on proceedings while pouring tea from his thermos and studying the Racing Post, all the while warming himself on his three bar electric fire.

He was eventually replaced by remote controlled barriers and we named our new zappers Ivors in his honour. This wasn’t a callous forced retirement, by the way. He was 75 years old and he was happy to spend his time in his caravan, keeping his hand in by shouting at anyone who couldn’t reverse-park their mobile home properly.

However, I think I’ve found a contender for Ivor’s cushy number title — the bloke from the BBC reporting on the trapped Chilean miners.

He’s been there for five weeks and doesn’t seem to have had very much to report in all that time. His contribution usually goes something like this:

Studio presenter: “Hello John, can you tell us how the rescue is going?”

John: “I can tell you, Peter, that the miners are still trapped below ground.”

Studio presenter: “Thanks John. And now over to Katie for the weather.”

I’m not even sure if his name is John because he’s on and off air so quickly. I’m not trying to belittle the situation, but there just isn’t much to see at the scene and it certainly doesn’t work well on radio. He can’t even seem to get an interview with anyone in charge to add some local colour.

Of course, John, or whatever he’s called, isn’t on his own. A whole industry has sprung up around the hole in the ground that has “miners trapped until Christmas.”

As well as the people drilling the holes through which the miners might actually escape, there is a host of others.

The miners have never eaten so healthily in their lives thanks to the nutritionists making sure they get their precise daily calorie allowance and no fattening cholesterol that might get them stick in an escape tunnel. And definitely no alcohol.

There is a fitness adviser overseeing their exercise regime so that the miners will have the strength to scramble out once the drill bit breaks through.

And we mustn’t forget the psychiatrist assessing their state of mind and on hand on hand to feed antidepressants down a tube to the stir crazy miners. Picking over lettuce and doing pointless press-ups can do that to a man.

Not that the miners appear to be suffering mentally, no doubt buoyed up by the signed shirts and other gifts sent by Real Madrid. A white shirt with Ronaldo scrawled on it in marker pen is just what you need to keep your spirits up when you’re trapped 2,200 feet under the Atacama Desert.

I’m not sure of the psychiatrist’s motives though. I suspect he or she hopes to get an academic paper out of this at the very least, and maybe a bestselling book about their patients’ ordeal.

But the most bizarre group of emergency aiders are the media trainers. They actually have a crack team of International Rescue trained media advisers to teach the miners how to react when a mic is pushed in their faces when they finally emerge bleary-eyed from their entombment.

And all to give John Whatisname from the BBC and his mates something to do. The miners might be healthy and sane now, but whether they will survive the coming media trauma is another matter.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

8 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 7th October 2010

    If I had a Mick shoved in my face I would be none too pleased! I wouldn’t need media training to punch his lights out! Regarding the Chilean miners, instead of bringing them up they should be taking people like you and me down to escape “The X Fctor”, “Strictly Come Dancing”, THE TORY CUTS, nagging wives, Nicky “Boy” Clegg, Lord Sugar and Alan Hansen. I could go on…but I won’t!

  • Yorkshire Pudding 7th October 2010

    Okay I know FACTOR has an A in it!

  • Polly 7th October 2010

    Er… I think I said mic, not Mick. Or are you taking the Michael YP?

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