Dear Mr Kington,
We are always told to be prepared, whether we are Boy Scouts or pension planners, but I am afraid it is possible to be too well prepared for an eventuality. You do not think so?
Listen to my sad tale and you will believe otherwise.
I am sure all of us at one time or another have felt the urge to leave a note behind, expressing regret or disapproval.
The classic case, I suppose, is the story of the man who came back to find his parked car bashed in, and a note tucked behind the windscreen wipers which read: "The people watching me write this note think I am leaving you my name and address, but I'm afraid I am not."
Of course, the time we really want to leave a note is when we find that someone has parked terribly badly, or someone's music is being played too loud. In my case I have a terrible aversion to 4x4s, those people carriers which block up country lanes, or take up two parking spaces or simply won't let you get past in a London street. Every time I encounter one I have a savage desire to vandalise it, or, failing that, to leave a note on the windscreen saying how much I would like to vandalise it. Of course, when it comes to the crunch, you simply can't be bothered to write out a note, but when I was sitting at my computer one day, it occurred to me that it would be quite easy to prepare a printed note in advance, so I promptly ran one off which read:
THIS MONSTER DESERVES TO DIE.
I put a stock of these in my car, and whenever I saw a 4x4 vehicle which really got up my nose, I got out, made sure the coast was clear, and stuck the notice to the windscreen. (Using superglue, to add insult to injury. )
This did not lead to a diminution of 4x4s on the street, of course, but it certainly made me feel better about things, especially when I once saw one of the 4x4 owners having terrible trouble scraping the notice off his windscreen!
After that I got bolder and started composing other notices for other nuisances. For instance, I have always hated shops and cars which play music so loud that it comes crashing on to the pavement, so I prepared a notice which read:
IF YOU DO NOT TURN IT DOWN, YOU WILL BE DEALT WITH.
For really loud music, I wrote:
GIVE US PEACE, OR YOU ARE DOOMED.
For badly parked cars, I wrote:
TAKE THIS AWAY, OR SEE IT DESTROYED.
For people with unruly and untrained dogs, I wrote:
KILL AND BE KILLED
For restaurants with pervasive muzak, I had a card which said:
THE USE OF PRERECORDED MUSIC LOWERS THE TONE OF THIS ESTABLISHMENT. Which was not quite so apocalyptic, I admit, but you can't be in a fury all the time.
Anyway, recently I was stopped in a routine stop-and-search operation looking for terrorists, and as I have never been involved in any such thing, I was not worried. But the policeman looking in the back of the car said, "Hello, hello, what's all this!?" and held up a roll of notices all saying: THIS IS DOOMED TO BE DESTROYED. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
In fact, it was just a little notice I occasionally stick to the bottom of speed cameras, though I hadn't used one for weeks. I was trying to explain my little system of anonymous revenge when he started unrolling the other series of notices and said: "You're a terrorist, mate, You're nicked. Ninety days isn't long enough for you!" I admit that things such as "GIVE US PEACE OR YOU ARE DOOMED" and "KILL AND BE KILLED" do look a bit bad out of context, but the police ( who have now held me for two weeks without charge) cannot see my point of view.
Do any of your readers have any suggestions ?