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Peter Rhodes on obvious answers, hard times for shoplifters and a new game – guess the gizmo

By Peter Rhodes | Peter Rhodes | Published: | Last Updated:

Read the latest column from Peter Rhodes.

To the woods

Glass half-empty? Glass half-full? A consultant fighting the virus in Wales declared: “We were very much on the verge of not coping.” Or to put it another way, they coped.

In much the same way, I was once very much on the verge of passing Maths O-level.

The BBC News website asks: “Will coronavirus mean I have to pay more tax?” Pope, Catholic, bears, woods. And not only will we all have to pay more tax but so will our offspring and our offspring's offspring. This virus is the gift that keeps on taking.

Meanwhile, how fare the shoplifters? Shoplifting is a crime that depends on not being seen. But with supermarket staff monitoring people waiting to enter, and shoppers inside the store being watched by staff and fellow shoppers, it's a hard time for the light-fingered. Various reports from around the country suggest a big drop in thefts from stores. One of my spies in a Black Country supermarket tells me: “Theft is at an all time low. We know who they are. They see the extra security and just go away.”

A reader of faith takes me to task for suggesting religion is superstition. I should have made myself clearer. Your faith is a religion, sir. All other faiths are superstitions.

Strangely enough, my critic ends his letter, written entirely in capital letters, with the Latin quotation: “"Odi Profanum Vulgus Et Arceo." This translates as “I hate the common (or unholy) rabble and keep them away.” Each to his own. I rather like the common or unholy rabble. One learns so much from them.

I suggested in jest last week that I was marking my birthday by self-identifying as 37. But why not? We live in an age of individual rights. And if we are free to self-identify as male, female, trans, gay, bi, mixed-race or anything else without being asked to produce any proof, why not age? It is clearly wrong and discriminatory in these lockdown times to force a fine figure of a man (me, for the sake of argument) into the same bracket as an alcoholic 25-stone chain smoker simply because we entered this world at about the same date. If sexuality and gender can be a matter of opinion, why not age?

How to pass the time? Play guess the gizmo. Go on eBay, find the instructions for any electronic item and then get your friends to guess what item the obscure instructions relate to. For example: “When the power plug into car cigarette lighter DC 12V socket, start vacuum cleaner power switch to start operation to use.”

A hair clipper, since you ask.

Peter Rhodes

By Peter Rhodes

Award-winning columnist and blogger. Keeping an eye on the tribulations and trivia of a fast-changing world

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