I hope the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the IMF and World Bank, and all you other financial institutions around the planet are keeping a sneaky eye on this blog. Because this could be the way out of recession. I should warn you that it involves front fastening magnetic bras. And jugs. But don’t go jumping to conclusions too quickly…
I got the idea from one of my favourite bloggy reads, Well Done Fillet – a waiter in Belfast. He was moaning about something other than rude stupid customers the other day. What got his goat was the vote in the Northern Ireland’s devolved parliament in favour of making it compulsory for cyclists to wear helmets. The idea is that after a three year lead-in period, cyclists caught without a helmet would be fined £50 – a penalty they could avoid if they reported to a police station with a proof of purchase of a helmet.
It’s a safety measure, but cycling groups fear it’ll deter people from using bikes because of the extra expense or helmetish uncoolness – so they’re opposing it. I don’t wear a helmet on my sedate cycle trips, though my kids do. But then it’s a wonder I’m alive at all considering that as a child I was bottle-fed, didn’t wear a seatbelt in the back, travelled in the boot, was allowed out unsupervised for days on end and never ate an olive till yesterday.
So my reaction to this Northern Ireland Assembly cycling helmet diktat was – well, at least cycling shops will be happy. And that’s when it hit me. An idea I know you’ll agree is pure genius.
This is it: The passing of arbitrary laws to stimulate spending and manufacturing.
Let’s think… What about these?
1. To make it illegal for men to leave the house between the hours or nine and five unless wearing a tie. (We’ll call that the Mad Men clause. A boost for clothing manufacturers, fashionistas and Tie Rack.)
2. All men must wear a hat outside the home. (Yeah, that one’s inspired by Mad Men also. Milliners will be made up.*)
3. All homes to have a musical doorbell. I recommend the opening bars of Sally McLennane. (Suppliers, hardware shops, fitters and ring tone download website will be coining it in.)
4. Against the law to be out after dark without a torch. (Burning or battery powered. Up to you. This isn’t about micro-managing the minutiae.)
5. All homes to possess a small jug, in case a vicar or other religious figure should visit. Ah now – don’t tell me you just pour milk into the vicar’s cup of tea straight from the bottle? Have you no sense of decorum? No, I hadn’t either. But my mother-in-law supplied one. A jug that is.
6. All bras to be replaced by new front-fastening magnetically joined versions. These already exist. A French (naturellement) company makes them, but they haven’t really taken off (geddit?) yet. Just think of the time you could save? Fewer minutes wasted by women fiddling around behind their backs. An end to those endless fruitless fumblings by embarrassed blokes round those same backs. It could also provide a way for women to instantly know whether a friendship with another woman was doomed or blessed. Depending on the magnetic polarities in their bra fasteners, they’d feel either repelled by, or strangely drawn to each other.
7. All homes to have a copy of Lucky Jim. (Boost book sales and reduce depression. Would also mean I could read the hilarious passages about being drunk and then having a hangover without having to carry around my own copy.)
8. Any home with a garage to have a beer fridge installed within the garage. (Sure, exemptions for genuine teetotallers and on religious grounds available – and perhaps it should be a cool box rather than an electric fridge for environmental reasons.)
9. All homes to have available both the home strip of their local sporting team AND the nearest bitter rival – in small, medium and large – to ensure visitors feel welcome. (Unless it’s Man Utd or Chelsea – too rich and too smug already. In those cases a Derry City strip is to serve as a replacement.)
10. We could extend the same principles to religious iconography – which would boost… er… well those dusty little holy statue shops with yellow plastic over the window to stop colours bleaching in the sun. Not that the sun ever penetrates the narrow streets they collect on. (Actually, this one may not pass the economic stimulus test.)
So, before we get to the asterisk, can you supply an appropriately arbitrary replacement pump-priming piece of legislation in place of my weak effort at number 10?
(Next time I’ll get on to the bit about where all the money will come from that we’ll be spending to observe these new arbitrary laws. Did I say next time? I meant to say some time. Perhaps.)
OK, here’s the asterisk: *Definition of “made up” – just in case it’s new one on you, like it was me, when I first heard it. A mate told me a long involved gossipy personal story, to which I listened attentively, only to finish the tale with the sentence: “He was made up.” What? Whaddaya mean? So all that long long story you’ve just told was made up? Not true? Quite odd behaviour I thought, taking so long to tell a fake story that wasn’t even that funny. Now I know it can also mean – happy. He was made up = he was very happy. And now you know too.
Anyway – your ideas for new laws please.