Wearing a moustache, for example, is considered to be "offensive and aggressive" and scores five, which is one point more than leaving a train unattended. Stopping short at a station scores two, a death in the family scores one, as does not sounding the horn properly. Being a "known drinker" will cost you nine points.
Any unbiased observer should immediately see the rationale behind the system. Only a month ago, for example, a bogus conductor was identified as operating on South London commuter trains, pocketing hundreds of pounds in fares he had collected from passengers. And he sometimes disguised himself with a beard and moustache. No wonder drivers are given a five- point penalty for wearing a moustache: they might be mistaken for bogus conductors in disguise!
The new system has come in for a good deal of criticism and ridicule, yet my own research, carried out over a lengthy period, fully confirms its validity. For many years I have been developing an Insanity Inventory - a list of symptoms I have detected among colleagues and acquaintances that alert me to a potential instability in their mental state. I have used this for a long period in selecting my friends and have found that it never fails. Its very potency, however, has caused me to keep it secret until now. Yet the similarity of the new railway industry system to my own Insanity Inventory is so marked that there is no longer any point in keeping the results of my research to myself.
For the first time therefore, here is the official Insanity Inventory. It is only when a score of 15 is reached (by a strange coincidence, exactly the same level as the new railways system) that a person should be considered a class A risk.
Let me stress that no individual item on it need cause any concern. The candidate simply scores one point for each item that corresponds to his or her behaviour. So, for example, a person with full facial growth of hair scores one point for not shaving, but a man with just a moustache is, as the railmen have noticed, a greater villain and scores points under both 3 and 4. Being American also scores two (one for being foreign) but wearing braces on teeth and trousers scores only one.
My only regret is that the rail operators have not extended their system into people's spare time. I have another list of Things People Think They Enjoy Doing But Don't Really, which could also count against train drivers: going to ballet, watching golf or motor-racing on television, Japanese food, parties, Christmas, getting drunk, fairground rides, instant coffee ... and wanting to be a train driver when you grow up.
THE INSANITY INVENTORY
2. Supporting a football club
3. Not being clean shaven
4. Having a beard or moustache
5. Wearing braces (teeth or trousers)
6. Being more than two inches below average height
7. Being foreign
8. Being American
9. Waving hands when talking
10. Frequenting public houses
11. Pot-holing, mountaineering or other dangerous sport
12. Speaking in high-pitched voice
13. Being bald
14. Half-frame spectacles or bifocals
15. Having ever taken a camping or caravanning holiday
16. Having more than two children
17. Owning more than one Jeffrey Archer novel
18. Owning a small dog
19. Owning a rucksack
20. Wearing a polyester tie
21. Collecting stamps
22. Saying "brilliant" more than twice a day
23. Having more than two first names
24. Jogging or taking any other regular exercise
25. Parting hair on the right
26. Having no earlobes
27. Not liking chocolate
28. Having dandruffReuse content