Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Thanks Richard...

In line with the regimented world of the office, I dutifully took my turn to make tea. The kettle was still being a little odd, but my new 'system' avoided any unnecessary leg drenching. As I dished out the drinks, everything went as usual. My deputy editor made the noise which I assume means 'thank you', the subscriptions manager carried on with her work, saying 'thanks' a minute after I'd left, and I nearly spilled the editorial assistant's drink again because of the mug with the funny handle.

Then I took my editor his tea. I put it down on his desk as usual and started to walk away. But something different happened. "Thanks Richard," he said. I paused at his door as I heard it and turned around. My name isn't Richard. He looked at me quizzically, and then, realising his mistake, laughed. "I don't know why I just called you Richard. I don't even know anyone called Richard."

Why did he call me Richard? At first I ignored it as a slip of the tongue, but then I thought about the possibilities. Did I remind him of someone called Richard? Was this Richard person part of some secret which I wasn't supposed to know about? Did he want me to be more like a Richard?!

I told my deputy editor about it and another twist emerged. "Oh, that's odd. Now that I think about it, we used to have a guy called Richard that worked here. He looked like you actually," he informed me.

Now I was intrigued. "What was he like?" I asked, nervous to discover what I had reminded him of. "Well, he had dark hair." That's not much of a link I thought. "And he was a fundamental Christian. He used to wear a massive wooden cross and bring in copies of The Watchtower. Then he fell for the Jehovah's Witness that worked here and left. Oh, and he used to cry all the time."

"What?!" I protested. "Why does that remind him of me?!". "Dunno," he said, "probably just the hair." I hope he's right.

Ian 'not Richard' Ravenscroft

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