Jane and I are both off sick just now. The cold I was suffering this past week has slipped down into my chest, and I’ve spent most of this beautifully sunny Saturday wrapped up in bed asleep.
I woke late this afternoon to a telephone call from a child.
“Hello, is Mr Walls there?” said the young boy’s voice.
“No,” I replied honestly.
“Is Mrs Walls there?”
Hang on a minute, I’ve heard this before! If I say no, then the next question will be “Are there any Walls there?” to which I again reply no, and the killer punchline is delivered. So I decided to get in there early:
“Then how does the roof stay up?” I asked.
There was a stunned pause … and then a third, perfectly reasonable, question, “What?!”
“It’s a joke, right?” I croaked over the phone.
“No, I’m just looking for my mate!” and then the young voice hung up the phone.
A missed opportunity! I now wonder what would have happened if I’d gone along with the joke up until the penultimate line: “Are there any Walls there?” What would I have said?
- No, we live in a tent.
- We’ve got some ice creams in the freezer.
- We have the Reverend Simon Walls here, hang on a minute, I’ll just go and get him.
But now I’ll never know. Maybe in a parallel universe the conversation went a little differently.