The Emperor’s Old (but perfectly serviceable) Clothes

We don’t often get actual letters in the Normal/Fixit household these days (do people still  collect stamps,  I wonder? Mail headers don’t have, at least to me, quite the same romantic appeal or gorgeous aesthetics, but, as I am constantly reminded by Mr Fixit, I am a redundant holdover from an altogether more primitive age.)

So it was very exciting the other day to discover, among the BT Business Select Special Offers and catalogues for  magnetic therapy , an actual creamy envelope, addressed to me in quite a convincing digital simulacrum of  posh art school handwriting, and faintly watermarked, ‘Smythsons  Basics.’

Needless to say I rushed to open it over my home-frothed almond milk cappuccino, and this is what it said:

Dear Mrs Normal,

Excuse me for writing to you out of the blue (as it were, ha ha!). I believe that, when you’ve had time to consider the contents of this letter,  you will welcome it as the voice of reason and fair-mindedness, and a refreshing dose of realism after the pipe-dreams of the  Welfare State. 

You may remember, back before I – sorry, we – came to power, the ‘government’ of the day telling us that various public expenditures were justified and necessary, and ‘not going to cost us  an arm and a leg .’

Well, I am sorry to have to inform you today that,  as so often before, they were not exactly telling the truth.

And with the terrible mess they have left as their legacy, it has become my unfortunate duty to invite you personally to donate a limb of your choosing, to make your local community a better place.

We all have  body parts  that are under-used: feet that spend the day idling beneath a desk, two hands when we only need one, to hold a coffee cup or tap at a keyboard. And who really needs two ears, or two kidneys? The very idea is almost obscene, as my friends at the Treasury remind me daily.

Your very helpful neighbours, who have been assisting us with our Stamp out Systematic Indolence campaign (or STASI, as they quip down at the  Borders Agency ) also inform us that your daughter has exceptionally long and thick hair. I’m sure you have already thought of cutting it off to repurpose as roofing insulation. Short hair is much easier to look after, and will produce real energy savings in the hot water she uses to wash it.

Your son is also apparently very  tall  for his age; perhaps you would consider reducing his calorific intake, to allow him to feel more at one with his peers? Alternatively, he might choose to donate both feet, which would achieve the same result much more productively.

As you know (we’ve said it so many times, it must be true) we are all in this together. I myself have reduced the fuel consumption on my weekly trips to my rather charming little house in  Oxfordshire  by driving at 78 mph instead of the much more convenient 80, and Samantha is seriously considering making do with last month’s boots.

And she is doing this out of pure love of her country;  Smythsons  are actually weathering the recession rather nicely. (Of course I couldn’t hammer the bankers and  non-doms  in the recent belt-tightening; they supply most of her business. What sort of message would that have sent about the sanctity of matrimonial partnership?)

As for poor George, he can barely recall what  Chateau Lafite  tastes like. Specially since we’ve had to keep him away from Nat.

Yes, we’re all in this together (did I mention this already?), but ‘together’ is one of those words that can be remarkably hard to define. And it’s a well known fact of human nature that the less we earn, the more we  give away. 

Even less reason to bother the bankers – there’s no point!

You and your charming family, however, turn out to be so perfectly eligible that you have an excellent chance of being the very first to demonstrate your civic responsibility.

Just indicate on the attached form which surplus organs or body parts you could make available, and how soon (the service operates round the clock, so you needn’t lose even a minute at work). Your local Primary Care Trust, shortly to relocate to a GP’s living room conveniently nearby, will be able to arrange for a barrow of the appropriate size, with a  NEET  to push it, should you be in any doubts at all about the return journey post-op.

I note (thanks once again to those super neighbours) that your shoulders are also quite broad; but you may be needing them in the not too distant future, so for the moment, consider them safe.

I’m sure you’re as excited about the  Big Society  as I am. We’re finally making it happen!

Yours in it, really totally, together –

(pp)  Dave