Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Off the Cuff

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Off the Cuff

Article excerpt

Byline: By Richard Ord

It was like a scene from a bad sci-fi movie. The phone rang and a voice on the other end said: "What's the date?"

"September 24."

"No, no. The year, what's the year?"

At this point, as is the tradition of bad sci-fi movies, I'm supposed to look stunned and exclaim "Whaaa""

This half-formed question (the camera zooms in on my widening eyes) leaves the audience in no doubt that something weird is happening (cue dramatic music: da, da, daaa).

A good example of this can be found in The Terminator movie when the character Kyle Reese travels from the future back to 1984 to save Sarah Connor from a murderous cyborg and thus saving mankind from a bunch of meddling robots. A half-naked Reese, desperate to find out the date, grabs a copper by the lapels and demands: "What year is it?"

Copper: "Whaaa "?"

You should watch that scene again. It's one of the least convincing looks of incredulity in cinema history.

In my particular case this was a far more fearsome caller than a robot with an Uzi 9mm, it was 'er indoors: a four-month pregnant mum of a demanding two-year-old with a head stuffed full of wedding preparations. Give me Arnie with a machine gun any day.

"What do you mean what year is it?" I asked.

"Look just answer the question, I've got a form to fill in."

"It's 2003."

"Thank you."

I half expected her to give the ominous Arnie warning: "I'll be back" before putting the phone down.

Wedding stress can do strange things to people and coupled with the fact that pregnancy turns the female brain to jelly, I worry for my better half. Michelle confirmed my fears by trying to defend inability to work out what year it was.

"I don't get out much," was one of her reasons. If I was her I'd have let it drop but apparently this pre-marriage madness is only the beginning. …

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