Sam Allardyce and the Labradors

Sam Allardyce and the Labradors

Normally, I work quite a bit from home.  This is because I have a tolerant employer and I’m quite grumpy.  These two facts mean that my absence from the office for prolonged periods usually slips by without too much fuss or notice.  Indeed, I suspect that the place is all the happier and more pleasant for it.  No-one to sneer at the unnecessary verbalisation of nouns or roll their eyes when the words transformation, enablement, digital and outcome are squeezed like a tattooed, muffin top into every black-legginged utterance.

And I’m not exactly a widget-maker anyway.  I don’t really do much doing.  My job is thinking about stuff.  And writing it down.  So it’s not like the world of public sector IT is going to splutter to an ungainly halt just because I’m lolling about at home in my batman pyjamas, grappling with European data protection legislation.

On The Road

But recently a short run of unforeseen commitment has seen me venturing outside of my pittoresque Bedford Falls hamlet to meet with the doers.  Consequently, the hound has been left to her own devices and that usually signals pain.  For me at least.  Not physical pain such as you might experience if you were to walk into the bathroom door because you thought you had opened it and then suddenly forgot you hadn’t so smacked yourself right in the coupon.  No, no.  More of a mental anguish.  The kind you get when you consider the futility of being trapped in a human metro-boulot-dodo sub-existence and how much better life would be if you were a dog with simple choices such as which things to pee on today.

I usually leave the TV on for her in both the bedroom and the living room.  This offers her a modicum of choice although you might remember that it is a choice of the Hobson’s variety, if you believe her postulation that the less than 60KHz refresh rate on the set in the bedroom renders any programme, even Cats vs Dogs, unwatchable to the canine eye.  I do not believe this.  I suspect it is merely a canard born of boredom and her self-imposed embargo on talking to anyone, except me of course.

TV for Dogs

If I’m feeling particularly truculent both sets will be on BBC1, although to be fair I always leave the remotes within easy reach.  This means Dominic Littlewood, a bunch of old dears who used to read the news and a panoply of other serial complainers all moaning on about some poor old chap from Bury St Edmunds who’s been diddled out of his pension by falling for a scam that all seven of the Blind Boys of Alabama could see coming.  This is quickly followed by Dionne Dublin pretending that a pokey two bedroom flat in Springburn is deceptively spacious and topped off with a whole majolica of wannabe Wonnacotts, all trying vainly to fill the great man’s brogues as deluded members of the public fail yet again to spot the big-sell items that have been so carefully placed there by the Bargain Hunt production team.  The irascible Tim would have cast knowing glances at the camera.  This effete lot just minces and prances and giggles uncontrollably on finding out that one of the blue team used to run a Punch and Judy stall on the pier at Cromer.

So after about a week of waking the hound up earlier than usual, making her walk round Burnside Wood to wee and defecate when she wasn’t really in the mood and then abandoning her to daytime TV with only a couple of dog salamis and a bowl of tepid water for solace, I feared the storm-clouds of vengeance were starting to gather.

A Dog’s Revenge

Back in the good old days, before the hound and I came to our current quid pro quo arrangement, she would usually get her own back for some unknown misdemeanour on my part by chewing something precious to me, something like my Spock socks or the cape off the little batman figure on my batman alarm clock.  I could usually tell something was up as soon as I opened the door on return from work.  No roo-roo-rooing or mad running about. Just a knowing glance.  Or even worse, she would mouth the word ‘gangsta’ at me.  Discreetly, of course, so that only I could see it.  That was where the talking stuff started.

But things are more sophisticated these days.  We are like some old married couple.  The rowing and the squabbling and the fisticuffs and the plate-throwing are all in the past.  These days, we have only one usable weapon left.

Mutt: I don’t understand humans
Me: What do you mean?
Mutt: Humans are a closed book to me
Mutt: I just can’t fathom the human race at all
Mutt: They are just so incomprehensible
Me: Are you just going to repeat synonyms until we both get bored?
Me: Finished?
Mutt: Yup.
Me: Ok. So what’s the problem? What’s behind your discomfiture?
Mutt: It’s Sam Allardyce. I mean he’s a bit portly but I’m struggling to see how that makes his position untenable
Me: You’ve been watching TV
Mutt: Victoria Staffordshire. She’s on the BBC. I accidentally trod on the remote when Noel Edmonds was complaining about something. I think people from Alabama were stealing stuff from him.
Me: Derbyshire
Mutt: ?
Me: Victoria Derbyshire. She’s a journalist. She used to be on the radio and is now on TV. I find her quite annoying.
Mutt: I’m from Derbyshire. From Leek.
Me: No. You’re from Staffordshire. Leek is in Staffordshire.
Mutt: Hmm. Let’s just call her Victoria. That will save a LOT of confusion
Me: OK. So what was she saying?
Mutt: Victoria was saying that Sam Allardyce’s position was untenable because he was greedier than a Labrador.
Me: What?
Mutt: She said he was greedier than a Labrador. Apparently he had already had his snout in one trough but that wasn’t enough. He wanted more. Like a Labrador.
Me: What have Labradors got to do with anything?
Mutt: They have missing DNA.
Me: ?
Mutt: Well, they have a shortened form of the PMOC gene actually. That means they have no sense of being satiated once they’ve eaten. So they don’t know when to stop. Like Sam Allardyce. Clearly Fat Sam has a shortened PMOC gene. Like Labradors. And that’s what I don’t understand. You don’t hear of Labradors’ positions being untenable just because they can’t stop eating.
Me: I’ve never heard of any dog’s position being untenable
Mutt: What about Rin Tin Tin when he got old.
Mutt: Or Blaze who played Rebel in Champion the Wonder Horse. When he got old.
Mutt: Or all of the Lassies. When they got old.
Mutt: Or all of those Greyfriars bobbies. When they got old. And died. And apparently nobody spotted that a different dog had taken the place of the previous one and…
Me: Okay, okay. I get the point. But Big Sam wasn’t being given a hard time for eating too much.
Mutt: Yes he was.
Me: No he wasn’t. He was guilty of a different kind of greed. He liked money.
Mutt: What? He eats money?
Me: No. He doesn’t eat money. And you know fine what money is. It’s the stuff that pays for your minibones. The stuff I get for mining dilithium on Rura Penthe every day.

There was a bit of a pause while the numskulls inside the mutt’s head turned a few wheels.

Mutt: So humans are greedy for money then? Were the three men, the two women and the four kids we met this morning in Stirling all millionaires then? If they were, you’d think they could afford better clothes.
Me: No. They were just obese
Mutt: Like Labradors?
Me: No, not really.
Mutt: Neither do I. But hey, remember what Half Man Half Biscuit said. Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch.
Me: You like Half Man Half Biscuit?
Mutt: Hell yeah!

I really do need to switch the TV off in the morning.

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