The Big Issue : Edition 455
RICKY 12 THEBIGISSUE4–17APR2014 BIN THERE, DONE THAT “Official explanation: Tom the cat died of unknown causes on top of the couch and fell into the Lego box. The truth: Tom was murdered by the other cat, Guy.” OH DEAR, WHAT can the matter be? The usual suspects stuck on a conspiracy. Go on, tell us again, where does it hurt? Great minds might think alike, but what about irrational minds? Do they forge their own path to true enlightenment through rigorous independent research? The presence of aliens, the truth about Elvis, Diana, Kurt, the lunar landing of 1969... if you believe they didn’t put a man on the moon. Evidence to fuel conspiracy theories is all around us; it’s written on the faces of those who bail us up and jabber out the ‘truth’, it’s written in the wind and, most convincingly, it’s written on a wheelie bin. Yes, there it was, scrawled by an unsteady hand, guided by an unsteady mind: ‘911speakout.org’. The scrawl reminded me of a cringe-worthy radio talkback call I heard a couple of years ago: the caller insisted 9/11 was a fabrication. As did a guy I know, who told me the planes never existed, never hit the buildings. “So what happened to the people who went to the airport that day and never came home?” I asked. “Exactly!” He shouted. “What did happen to them?” Sagely implanting this ultimate moment of clarity upon my primitive brain. But maybe I’m being harsh. Maybe these people are onto something. It wouldn’t hurt to be a little more open-minded, would it? Accordingly, I have revisited what I previously, gullibly, believed were closed cases. Finally, the truth will come out. Case 1 – Toy Helicopter Crash Official explanation: The remote-controlled helicopter smashed into the side of the TV due to pilot error, and possible pilot intoxication. The truth: Great Grandma Elwyn adjusted the frequency of her pacemaker so that it would interfere with the transmission from the remote control. The motive was clear: the helicopter was annoying as all hell, and it was too noisy for conversation. While the sabotage was occurring, Rita the dog would provide a timely distraction by piddling in the corner. Case 2 – Dead Cat Official explanation: Tom the cat died of unknown causes on top of the couch and fell into the Lego box. The truth: Tom was murdered by the other cat, Guy. Frustrated and jealous at being second in line to the food bowl, and bullied off the fleecy blanket, Guy attacked Tom from behind as he sunned himself at the windowsill. Using a complex series of hoists constructed from knitting wool, Guy then manoeuvred Tom’s body to the top of the couch, where he pushed the body off before scampering outside to pat down a cat-shaped patch in the grass cuttings next to the compost bin: a cunning and thoroughly believable alibi. Case 3 – Unhung Washing Official explanation: Ricky slept in and forgot to hang out the washing, despite being home all day. The truth: Ricky hung out the washing, diligently, as instructed, within minutes of getting out of bed. Then, while Ricky was distracted by his Twitter feed, members of the Saint Albans Saints Football Club, in conjunction with members of GetUp!, sneaked into his backyard and conspired to make it look as if Ricky did not in fact hang out the washing by unpegging the clothes and shoving them back into the washing basket and returning it to the laundry floor. The Saints, therefore, could claim to their loving partners that they had performed their domestic duties for the day with a guilt-free conscience while at the same time making Ricky look bad and racking up page-views for GetUp!, who are secretly one of the largest anonymous funders of their end-of-season trip. And if that seems hard to follow, and wholly unlikely, it’s because you’re not open-minded. Ah, that’s better. It feels good to join the realm of the rational. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to enrol in a homeopathy class, fight the scourge of childhood immunisation and get fluoride out of our water. My Texta is ready to go, and it’s bin night. I may be gone for some time. » Ricky French is a) not from France and b) not a heroic (and tragic) British Antarctic explorer. Despite what he’d like you to believe...