Keep smiling: at least the beer won't make you drunk

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The Independent Online
OH, WELL, cheer up] It could be worse.

Oh? How could it be worse?

It could be 40 times worse.

How could it?

All right. Here are 40 ways in which it could be worse:

1. At least John Major is not the England football manager.

2. At least Graham Taylor is not the Prime Minister.

3. At least the United States didn't beat us at cricket.

4. At least Australia didn't beat us at football.

5. At least we have made the Australians very happy. And the Americans. And the Norwegians. And the Poles . . .

6. At least Norman Lamont isn't running Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

7. Nor, apparently, is anyone, come to that.

8. Whatever happens at Spurs, at least the winner will probably be English.

9. Even if John Major feels deeply hurt by Norman Lamont's accusations of short-termism, at least he feels he can make it to the weekend without having to think up another new policy.

10. At least John Smith isn't in charge of the Labour Party.

11. At least the England cricket selectors aren't in charge of putting together the Tory cabinet.

12. At least the British prime minister isn't being stripped of his legal immunity, like the Italian president, so that he can be investigated for corruption and incitement to murder.

13. The Eurovision Song Contest won't be upon us for another year.

14. And when it is, the Irish will win it again and they will have to stage it again, until such time as they realise that everyone is letting the Irish win every year so that nobody else has to stage it.

15. At least the British Lions rugby team hasn't lost the first Test against New Zealand.

16. Yet.

17. We have not yet seen the beginning of the constitutional crisis over the Queen's income tax: ie, when the Queen does get her tax form, will it come in an a special envelope marked 'On Your Majesty's Service'?

18. Nothing belonging to the Royal Family has burnt down this week.

19. Nobody in the Royal Family has run away with anyone belonging to anyone else's family this week.

20. Leading brewers in England are following the lead of Gordon's Gin by reducing the strength of their beers, thus courageously promoting greater sobriety and cleaner living among our people.

21. And the brewers are reducing the strength of their beers without being panicked by nit-picking critics into reducing their prices.

22. John Major hasn't issued another Citizen's Charter this week.

23. During National Bat Week, the English cricket side behaved with the utmost consideration towards their bats and did not subject them to cruel over-use at any time.

24. None of us is living or dying in Bosnia.

25. None of us is married to Woody Allen.

26. None of us has received a watch from Michael Mates with an inscription on the back.

27. At least Michael Mates didn't send a watch to Asil Nadir inscribed: 'I should leg it to Cyprus while you've got the chance.'

28. None of us has to sit in the sunshine in the part of Cyprus illegally occupied by Turkish forces, unable to enjoy the wine, weather and good food for desperately worrying that at any moment a man in a dark suit might appear and ask us politely to accept an invitation to go back and turn up at the Old Bailey like a good chap.

29. None of us was fool enough to put up Asil Nadir's bail.

30. None of us, as Poet Laureate, has to write poems about burning castles and tax returns.

31. It's summertime.

32. OK, so even though it's summertime it's raining, but at least that means we aren't having the normal drought scare stories . . .

33. At least Nigel Mansell is winning something, even if nobody has the faintest idea what it is.

34. At least Margaret Thatcher isn't Prime Minister.

35. Norman Lamont isn't Chancellor.

36. Kenneth Clarke isn't Prime Minister.

37. George Bush isn't President.

38. Lord Rees-Mogg isn't Prime Minister.

39. The Mousetrap isn't still running.

40. Good Lord, is it? Well, Salad Days isn't still running, then.

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