When Reason Fails

I turned up at the High Court for the second day of the Irving appeal; I had to go there anyway on my own account. After the morning session I went outside to make a phone call, belonging to that rapidly diminishing bunch of technophobes who doesn't yet own a mobile phone.

The phone swallowed my money, wouldn't allow me to make a call, and wouldn't give it back. I banged on it a few times but nothing happened, so rather than allow it to rob me and walk off in search of another phone, I dialled 100 and told the operator what had happened. She was most unsympathetic, and told me should could put me through only if the person on the other end of the line agreed to pay for the call.

They've always had that attitude, even before the company was saddled with 30 billion of debt. Thanks for nothing, I thought, put the phone down, and started banging on it. Nothing happened, so I banged some more, and some more, and lo! the infernal device disgorged a fifty pence piece, then after some similar persuasion, the twenty pence piece I had inserted.

The moral of the story is that sometimes brute force succeeds where reason fails, in fact sometimes it brings unexpected bonus results. The trick of course is to know when to apply the former and when to rely on the latter. Now if I had the answer to that, I'd be a wealthy man indeed.

June 2001


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