Friday, 24 July 2009

Percy, Porcelain, the Elephants and the Bottom-of-the-barrel Scratchcard

Time has escaped me this week, I think she could be on summer vacation. Or having a long bath. In the meantime, here's an old, old post that only the fabulous Sass (as far as I know) has read. Written last November when I was young and foolish.

20 Minutes

20 Minutes. There's a lot of things I can do in 20 minutes. Burp a baby. Kill a mockingbird. Let the dogs out. Drink a pint. Tie my shoelace 40 times. Count to 1200 (one elephant, two elephant, three elephant...*). On this occasion I had a 20 minute wait at Gatwick Airport for my train. No prizes for guessing what I chose to do.

I had barely got to "ten elephant" when I decided to buy myself a healthy chocolate snack, so I stopped counting and headed off to WHSmith. The store is roughly one minute away from the platform, so that would still give me 18 minutes spare. With a bit of luck I would have time to point Percy at the porcelain on the way back, and maybe even drop off the kids.

To my dismay I was thwarted by the joint efforts of a lotto-junkie and a trainee cashier. A deadly combination. The two were locked in some sort of bitter dispute. The lotto-junkie seemed to be purchasing every scratchcard available. Titles included "Monkey Money" and "Money For Ewe".

The latter must be the lowest form of scratchcard available. "Money For Ewe" has a huge background image of a ewe, and each little scratch item is a ewe. Talk about bottom-of-the-barrel.

I waited patiently as these gibbonoids fought it out. I can't remember what they were fighting about, I was too busy working out how many years of mental gymnastics I would require before I bought a "Money For Ewe" scratchcard. It came to 16 million. The heated shop floor was making me sweat like a badger, and I started to panic as I realised that the chances of making my train were as narrow as a stick insect's waist.

I made my train, but only just, and I arrived perspiring like a mad horse and busting for a wee. 20 minutes. Time flies so fast when you're having fun. Next time I'll stick with the counting.

*In case Americans are not familiar with this, it is a technique taught to children for counting in seconds.

55 comments:

♥ Braja said...

I'm counting the elephants til I go...2 more sleeps yay...

Oh I couldn't resist, I put up another post. Flippin' hilarious. What? No, not me...it's only a photo, and it's flippin' hilarious.

Though I *am* funny.....

Mr London Street said...

The Gatwick branch of WH Smiths specialises in particularly disinterested assistants behind the counter. They are so disinterested that they've won awards, though they can't be bothered to go and collect them.

otherworldlyone said...

We use Mississippi. "1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi..."

But I think I like elephant better.

I abhor scratch cards. I always end up getting behind the old lady that doesn't know which 10 of the 35 available she wants. When it comes to any kind of shopping, I'm an in and out merchant. Kinda like Rubbish with his wife.

lizspin said...

I guess you Brits can't say 1 Mississippi. . .2 Mississippi. . .

Hit 40 said...

Oh... I like scratch off tickets. I will buy $20 worth when I get gas. Then, the next time I get gas I'll take the wining tickets for more tickets. I can usually ride my first $20 for about 6 weeks just trading in the winning tickets for more new ones. Cheaper than Vegas.

Mr. Condescending said...

Loved this story mo as always.

I thought you were going to explain "ewe".

I figured out the elephant thing but what in gods earth is a ewe? It sounds like a little scraggly animal or something.

Not The Rockefellers said...

You would be surprised if I told you how many 20 minute segments of my life are made of moments like these...

the cosmic sitcom writers of my critically acclaimed yet rarely viewed life story have a field day with me....

they also raid my inner liquor cabinet...

Peace - Rene

Eric said...

Point Percy? Drop off the kids?

Ewwwwwe! :)

Organic Meatbag said...

I loathe, absolutely LOATHE the lotto junkies...it never fails they way they drain my time away at a grocery or convenience store... hey lotto nitwits, try saving the money you waste on these ridiculous scratch off tickets...
I literally had one a couple of weeks ago that parked DIAGNOALLY next to the only available gas pump at the station and stood mindlessly at the outside window scratching tickets...I honked vehemently to stun her out of her haze and made her move her car...

Samsmama said...

So if over here we use "Mississippi", which is a 4 syllable word, and you use "elephant", which is a 3 syllable word...hmmm....I'm guessing if you and I raced to count to 20 you'd win every time. Totally not fair!

Ananda girl said...

i love that... counting elephants. ditto for pointing percy!

You have a way with words that make me giggle.

Comedy Goddess said...

Gibbonoids, ewes's and sweating badgers? Oh my!

Call Me Cate said...

20 minutes seems like such a perfect amount of time for accomplishing so much. But it doesn't take long for morons to destroy it. My entire life fritters away in 20 minute segments.

Valerie said...

no vending machines?

Harmony said...

Percy? Hmmmm...

Love this post! I really need to finishing working through your archives. Must.make.time.

The Friday Joker said...

In addition to the fabulous Sass (does the term 'fabulous' here imply that she's a mythical creature?), I too have read this post before.

Lola Lakely said...

I have never heard of Point percy as an expression but I am ecstatic that I did. I wish I had the proper equipment in which to use it.

miss. chief said...

we used "one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand" but i like elephant better

Princess Andy said...

when i was in the middle of your post and read about your plan to "point percy at the porcelain" i thought, "hey, weird...mo is telling us his kids name?" but then i got to the end and realized you were speaking of your penis. that is a kick ass name for your member. for realz.

andy

p.s. frig, i haven't heard "stick insect" since reading Adrian Mole. i miss england language...sigh.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

we use "mississippi" instead of "elephant" to count seconds.

it never matches up to a watch being kept eye over

we have the same problem with Lottery addicts here - they can easily spend 5-10 minutes "examining" every kind of scratch board available - and there are MANY.

I pretend to be polite and wait my turn - but it's a disguise

Trinity said...

As an American I appreciate the explanation. I just assumed you enjoyed counting pachyderms. You Brits do things differently.

diane said...

Although I enjoyed all of this, for me "I think she could be on summer vacation. Or having a long bath" is beyond perfection. xo

Soda and Candy said...

Wow, you learn something new every day, I did not know that badgers were notoriously sweaty.

Soda and Candy said...

Also, when I was little we were taught to count "1 one-thousand, 2 one-thousand, 3 one-thousand..."

Maybe that's an Aussie thing?

Nanc Twop said...

thanks for the re-run.

And hey to Soda and candy, I was taught to count by thousands too, and I'm no where near Australia, so maybe its the choice for people who are afraid of elephants and large rivers...

p-huong said...

Cashier trainees are incredibly annoying. They are slow and overly chatty. I know.. I was one.

Simon said...

Perhaps you should explain to your American readers that the one-elephant-two-elephants method of counting seconds is used by the more relaxed, languid type of Englishman: those who are more hasty are encouraged to use the ‘one-one-thousand’ (or indeed the Mississippi) method.

JennyMac said...

We use Mississippi but I can now teach my two year old to count like this:

1 Mad Dog Stoneskin, 2 Mad Dog Stoneskin. It has a much better ring than Mississippi. And my older brother just moved to Mississippi for work, he said our son is never to say that word in his presence again.

ladytruth said...

Healthy chocolate snack? I have come to the right place!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Dude - You cannot kill a mockingbird. Atticus and Scout said so.

Gwen said...

I just lost 20 minutes reading this post.

I kid! I kid! I loved it, as usual. I note, however, that your writing was much racier in the beginning. I don't think I've ever heard about Percy OR the kids since I've been reading you. ROWR!

The Rambler said...

I'm the One One Thousand, Two One Thousand...girl.

Mental Gymnastics? I'm using that term at work...with my pleasant employees that try my sanity. Every.day.

blognut said...

I'm really confused about Percy. I thought it was Little Mo.

I can't keep track, and I don't know that I need to, but you keep mentioning it. :)

Captain Dumbass said...

Damned lotto junkies. They're the ones who always win the big ones once they hit their 80's.

Tennyson ee Hemingway said...

My dad always taught me 1001, 1002 etc. I'm not sure I like it as much as 1 elephant.

Sass said...

I am most definitely fabulous.

Most definitely NOT a mythical creature.

And I love the way you write, mo.

Love it.

jadedj said...

I was going to mention the Mississippi thing, but...

Oh yes indeed, the lottery slugs, I have been stuck behind these cretins too many times. I always get behind the one who is playing his entire paycheck, and is also buying for the other 15 employees where he works. Completely relate to this post.

Good one.

rubbish said...

Twenty minutes to drink a pint, lightweight.

Madame DeFarge said...

You could have spent the time in meaningful learning, reading the self-help books in WH Smith, the ones the inspiring titles. One should never waste good learning time.

Girl Interrupted said...

It's an oldie but a goodie ;)

I like badgers. Even if they do have fat bums and sweat a lot.

Anil P said...

Disinterested assistants behind the counter, well, it is a whole new world all by itself :-)

the girl with the pink teacup said...

I think the real lesson of the story here is that you should try counting aloud to the lotto junkies/trainee cashiers using the 'elephant' technique while waiting in line. That should ensure the line moves forward in a more timely fashion, allowing you to accommodate Percy and the kids' needs whilst also leaving time to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

Nikki-ann said...

I must admit I never learned to count using elephants! :D

Snarky A. said...

Gibbonoids might be the best new word I've heard all month! You deserve a feaking price for that alone, not to even mention your highly entertaining writing.

bernthis said...

did you actually tie and untie your shoes for 20 minutes to find out that particular statistic?

bernthis said...

did you actually tie and untie your shoes for 20 minutes to find out that particular statistic?

Amy said...

Perspiring like a badger and busting for a wee are two of the thing I most despise. Also, hiccups.

Minka said...

So now I'll have to google that percy thing plus the ewe thing... and will I find anything?

I liked the post though!

Minka said...

Oh yes - and how do badgers perspire?

SweetPeaSurry said...

Ah ... I do love a good regurgitated post! I was familiar with the 'counting out seconds' idea ... however, I'm completely flummoxed over what a 'gibbonoid' is.

In anycase, I think this happens often to people, you think something will just take five minutes ... and it ends up taking ... he he ... 20 minutes. YAY!

Glad ye made ya train though.

blessings!

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

I'm very impressed with the things you can accomplish in 20 minutes...

I'm going to teach the Princess Nagger to count seconds with elephants...bet she'll have way more fun than counting Mississippi's - though it might take her longer to get through them because she'll be giggling the entire time.

Scratch ticket buyers hogging the cashier are one of my pet peeves.

'Point Percy at the porcelain'...I love it!

Vodka Mom said...

20 minutes is an ETERNITY in kindergarten time.

Nej said...

1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi......

I just returned from my lunch break and read this post. My lunch break consisted of me standing in line for what seemed like 7 years, for one small sub sandwich.

The TWO people ahead of me each ordered numerous sandwiches. Each, required every single topping available to mankind.

And....the person doing the toppings was new. Today was her first day.

3 Mississippi, 4 Mississippi, 5 Mississippi

:-)

Sassy Britches said...

Yeah, the "Mississippi" thing didn't catch on across the pond. It's nice to see that "dropping the kids off at the pool" is universal, though.

Tooj said...

Until you so harshly criticized the "money for ewe" ticket, I was admiring the pun. I shamelessly love puns. On another note, my technique for teaching TO how to count in seconds? "You already know how to count to sixty, kid. Watch the clock and count along. Eventually you'll figure out the timing."

As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!