THE Vin Man's had a haircut. More to the point he's had MY haircut. Poor dab, don't know what's got into him. The Fat Kid isn't impressed, she would rather he resisted the skinhead look until he is... oh... 47? I imagine, then, that it was his Dad who finally relented.
See the Vin Man, with the same powers of persuasion that enables his mother to acquire a new car, looks at The Fat Kid with those pleading eyes, brushes his hand over his head in a sweeping movement, and pleads: "All off like Grandad... all off like Grandad."
Never thought of myself as a trendsetter but I must admit I felt a little bit proud.
Mind you, I think this is the first step on Vinny's career path to becoming Southend-on-Sea nightclub bouncer.
It's been my first week back in work and I'm just writing this before going home to crash. It's not been too bad, but I had forgotten the lure of the pub after a hard day in the office. Normally the "new men" and attached members of staff are straight off home after a busy shift, which is why I was amazed that so many people insisted on accompanying me to The Yard on Thursday for a welcome back drinkie session. Then the moaning started...
"You've got to do something about this?"
"Do you know what happened when... It's a disgrace."
At the start of the week I saw my Doctor. She plugged me in and pumped up my arm, then screamed in shock when she read the result. "My God!"
Here I go, I thought, my life's hanging by a threat.
Not a bit of it. My blood pressure, which before the trip to Oz had been touching 200/98 - pretty damn high, apparently - has dropped to 116/72, a magnificent result and well below the danger threshold, so much so that I was taken off one of my meds. Excellent.
Then came the return to work, a first day grappling with the insane technology which regularly provokes you into acts of wonton violence on inanimate electrical objects, and the pub outpourings about the nightmare three months during my absence. It was like I hadn't been away.
I'm sure I could feel my blood pressure rising, my slender figure (now 3/4 stone lighter, believe it or not) bloating up and a scream rising in my throat.
Welcome back to the wacky world of newspapers.
Friday night ended up in the City Arms. No surprise there. The plan was to go home early as the 14-hour late shift was beckoning on WoS the next day.
Early? Yeah, right.
Hours later, sinking beers with Coggsy, Smashy, Nicey and Withers, and I have a tie wrapped around my head, trying desperately to remember how to count to five so that I can join in that wonderful XTC song "Senses working overtime?"
Senses working overtime? Senses not working at all from where I was standing or, rather, leaning.
To top it all, I only had the energy to open some Sweet Chilli pretzels and munched my way through about six of them before crashing to the bed. Thank God Scooby has banned me from cooking after sessions in the boozer.