It's been exciting, the Olympics - it really has. All those amazing human bodies everywhere you look, doing all those amazing things. But it's important to remember that not all competition is good for us. Let me tell you a story ...
Here’s how it is. I have an older sister. This is not unusual. Many people do. And many people find their older sisters irritating. But no one has an older sister who is as irritating as mine.
Because mine has done everything.
Let me give you an example of how irritating this can be.
When I was about to go to university, my sister came into my room and handed me a nice, leather-bound notebook.
“This is for you,” she said.
“Oh, thanks! Is it a journal, for me to write my experiences with boys and men in?”
“No. It’s a journal in which I’ve written my experiences with boys and men. Read it carefully, and you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did.”
“Oh. Well, what makes you think I won’t make my own, new mistakes?!”
My sister just smiled. “I think you’ll find I’ve already made them all.”
Well, I wasn’t having that. I went off to university and set out to make all the mistakes my sister hadn’t.
I thought, I’ll date my professors – I’ll date my room-mate’s brother – I’ll date the entire football team – I’ll date the janitor … but when I checked, I found that every bad idea I came up with had an entry in my sister’s journal already.
It was when I saw the sign called for recruits for the newly-formed Scottish Historical Re-enactment Group that I realised I’d cracked it!
This she hadn’t done, I was sure!
It turned out the Group consisted of two boys – Trevor (the president) and Greg (the co-president). They were wearing Braveheart wigs and cardboard swords.
“We don’t get a lot of girls,” said Trevor.
“You don’t get any girls,” said Greg.
“Yuckedy yuck. Look who’s talking.”
“At least I’ve had a date!”
“Snogging my cousin when she was unconscious doesn’t count as a date!”
Wow! I thought. This has got to be the best mistake EVER – my sister won’t be able to hold a candle to this!
“Anywho,” said Trevor. “We’d better get started. As you know, Historical Re-enactment Groups strive for absolute accuracy. To that end, we will be performing the Battle of Bannockbuns wearing nothing but our tattoos.”
“What?!” I said.
“In the historical nuddy. You, too, of course, Miss. But don’t worry, it’s not as if we’ll be really naked. Greg and I have painted ourselves with blue runic letters, just to make it decent, and we’d be more than happy to do the same for you, wouldn’t we, Greg? Greg?”
The co-president’s eyes had glazed over in a worrying fashion.
“Never mind him,” said Trevor. “Here, let me show you mine …”
As the president of the Scottish Historical Re-enactment Group began to strip off, I beat a hasty retreat …
I phoned my older sister as soon as I got in, and told her about my experience. I waited for her to say, “Well! Now that’s something that never happened to me!” but I waited in vain.
“Oh yeah. I did that,” came her voice, as smug and superior as ever. “I think you’ll find some pretty clear advice on the whole re-enactment thing, round about page 87. Look it up. Bye!”
No way, I thought to myself. No bloody way. She’s bluffing. She has to be! But she wasn’t. When I turned to page 87, there it was, my older sister’s warning, staring up at me in big, black, undeniable words:
BEWARE GEEKS BARING GLYPHS ...
There are some competitions you are never going to win, and sometimes even taking part is a bad idea. Choose your battles, my friends. Choose your battles.
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