October 23, 2004

Unlucky in pub

I went to the pub last night and sat in the corner with a pint of Guinness and a book. (I'd meant to look for a bloke from the local Green Party who often drinks there, but about twenty seconds before I arrived, I remembered it was their national conference this week and he probably wouldn't be in.) It was just for the half an hour before last orders and I found a quiet corner in the back part of the pub - quiet in the sense of there not being anybody else in that corner, rather than quiet in the sense of there not being a large screen with a loud commentary on a darts match nobody was watching.

At some point when the darts had broken my concentration on my book - or it might have been the other away around - I noticed that somebody had chiselled a word into the surface of the table I was sitting at. It was shallow, but chiselled is still the right word. It had been scraped out, not scratched. The letters were fully and evenly formed.

It might have taken a school pupil many lessons to complete, unnoticed, on the top of a classroom desk, and presumably it had taken several hours and several successive pints for the pub engraver to achieve the same. It was not a trivial act nor one trivially done. They had thought about it: they had had time to think about. They had decided exactly what they needed to say and decided to say exactly what they felt.

It read:



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