Monday, July 03, 2006

We Haven’t Turned Around 

Neil, my former team leader, came into our office this morning in full spiv mode, a scruffy old suitcase bursting at the hinges with discounted World Cup merchandise under his arm. He was wearing a pork pie hat - made from real pork pies - and kept looking towards the door nervously, like he was expecting trouble.

There were Wayne Rooney inflatable footrests, a Cristian Ronaldo dartboard, flags of St.George with the words “Cashing In” running through the horizontal stripe, and fake shirts for most of the teams that had taken part, and some that hadn’t, like Blackpool.

I contemplated a Theo Walcott England top.
“An absolute bargain,” said Neil. “Never been worn.”
Mike, appropriately enough for a man with such a low centre of gravity, paid ten quid for an Argentinian shirt, something to wear at the gym, and Stella, my eighties style yuppie witch of a team leader, said she was getting a Brazilian as a surprise for her friend Becky.

Today, for the first time, the World Cup Wall Chart by the cupboard you mustn’t open remains un-updated. Suddenly we can’t be bothered.
“Too bloody hot,” we say, but that’s not the real reason.
It’s hurt pride, obviously, our world suddenly come to a halt, stopped spinning just like that, at some point after Tuesday, just an ordinary day at the end of June. What followed the first knockout round doesn’t matter.

Future archeologists from distant worlds - with aerials for ears and tinfoil skin, hopefully - will one day discover our office, strewn as it always was with abandoned sandwiches, old copies of Computer Weekly and cups of toxic coffee-style drink, and carbon dating will reveal that our very last recorded message, the final testimony of the inhabitants of Company X, was “Brazil 3 - Ghana 0, Ronaldo 4, Adriano 45, Roberto 83, Sent Off: A Gyan 80,” - Sent off where? To try and look for help? - and they could be forgiven for thinking that this was somehow of crucial significance.

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