‘Hi Andy. I was wondering if you could give the new urine pics a once-over?’
It is the freelancer’s habit to take every phone call in a positive frame of mind. ‘Never say no too soon’ is our mantra. Along with ‘payment within 30 days please’. And ‘should have trained as an accountant’.
I’ve only once been in a position to turn down a job instantly, and that was when I was asked to write election poster copy for UKIP. And even then there was a pause because I could barely put the phone down for laughing.
But I have to confess that my mind went into a dizzy dance trying to work out what was actually wanted, so I could give a reasonable reply.
All this while every fibre of my being wanted to reply ‘are you taking the piss?’
Was I expected, for example, to comment on the quality of the photography? ‘Nice use of focal length, great how you managed to avoid the flash flaring on the porcelain, liking your toilet brush.’
Was I about to be asked to caption them, to create a kind of diuretic Dulux chart? ‘Like the jaded lemon of a three-day-old custard cream blended with the malevolent ochre eyeball of a jaundiced tramp. Brightens up any room.’
Or, heaven forfend, was some kind of medical diagnosis being called for? ‘Poor aim requires eyesight test. Colour indicates off-licence revenues soaring. Presence of maraschino cherry suggests surgical intervention.’
My reverie was interrupted.
‘Hello? Andy? I said I was just wondering if you could give the New Year In Pics a once-over?’
There’s a lesson there for us all.
But mostly for me.by