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have read viz for 15 years. Found this place and realised i had outgrown it.

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» Conversation Killers

killed in more ways than one
Some friends and I were taking about motor bikes, silly driving and that nutter that zooms round sweden, weaving in and out of traffic whilst doing over a ton (ghost rider?).

Although the topic was fairly serious we were discussing it in a humerous way.

After a few minutes this guy, Martin, pipes up and says "a guy died in my arms"

Everybody stopped talking.

He took this as his cue to elaborate a bit.

He had been on his way to a rugby match when he and a few other guys saw a motorcycle rip past them dressed head to toe in denim. One of them remarks on the fact that the guy must be freezing when all of a sudden Mr blue jeans and his bike start to cartwheel up the motorway. They slam on the brakes and put the hazards on. Some of them pull the wreckage to the side of the road. In the mean time Martin goes to check on the amazing human cannon ball. He finds him lying face up and convulsing in the middle of the lane just up from their car. His helmet is cracked and there is grey matter on display. The dude is checking out. Martin then goes on to explain that he saw past all the gore and horror and knew he was witnessing the last moments of someone's life. He tells us that he couldn't let this guy die alone, so he held his hand and talked to him.

You could have heard a scale model of a pin drop onto a mattress.

The evening pretty much fizzled out. For some reason.
(Thu 12th May 2011, 18:57, More)

» Dodgy work ethics

Insurance.....again
There have been a few stories about insurers which reminded me of this one.

My dad earned bucketloads when I was growing up so there was always the drive to become a big earner. I used to work for a Multi National insurance company specialising in corporate Ex Pat health insurance. I was fresh out of uni and was ready to climb the corporate ladder and earn the big bucks.

As a fresh young "insurance executive" they put me through some training then sent me off with another fresh face to their offices in Redhill, Surrey.

I got picked up by limo (classy long wheel base Merc, not the tacky black Lincoln efforts you see full of screaming hen and stag parties) and taken to the airport.

I was ushered to the first class lounge where my colleague and I enjoyed a complimentary breakfast and drinks and was eventually seated in a comfy first class seat.

Got to Stanstead and was picked up by an identical Merc and taken to head office. I was surrounded by the richest and friendliest people I had ever mingled with. They were all tanned, happy, friendly and drove porsches with the odd Jag thrown in for variety. Wrists were adorned with Rolex, Cartier, IWC. Suits were sharp, chit chat covered holidays which would cost the national average wage.

This was all just a couple of years over the horizon for me.

A few presentations and some meet and greets and it was time to check in at the hotel and freshen up for dinner. My boss picked us up in her 7 series BMW and we raced away to a disgustingly expensive restaurant. I was fucking loving this shit. I got my usual wage plus a hefty per diem (not that I had to put my hand in my pocket once. Whenever a bill arrived there was a flurry of company credit cards to take care of it.) This went on for 3 days. I lapped it up. I had already chosen the colour of my BMW 3 Series coupe.

Some time was spent talking about the odd tough decision that needs to be taken regarding the funding of a clients health care. I figured that most clients were huge organisations and those covered by the policies were usually company big wigs who, if push came to shove, could probably afford to pay for their own health care if we pulled the rug out from under them. It left me feeling slightly uneasy but hey, that's they capitalist way. No?

Anyhoo, on the final day the boss, Therasa, gave us a lift to the airport. On the way she was talking about how, in the wake (pun not intended) of the 2004 boxing day tsunami the company had set up a special hotline for policy holders affected by said event.

Then she told us how they had only received three calls, all of them trivial.

Instantly I replied "Yeah but it was a fantastic PR move".

That was when it happened. I had related to my boss how an event which snuffed out the lives of quarter of a million people had allowed them a minor Public Relations triumph.

I knew it was all sorts of wrong before I had even finished saying it. My boss and colleague couldn't agree enough. Big fucking grins on their faces. I just felt increasingly uncomfortable. That moment in he summer of 2005 will stay with me forever.

I left a week later.

I am a special needs teacher now.

I dont own a BMW 3 series coupe, my watch is an entry level Seiko and my last holiday was a week long trip to Berwick where I stayed in a wee cottage. I am really happy and I dont have to sell my soul to the devil.

In retrospect they were probably in debt up to their expensive haircuts.

Arseholes.
(Tue 12th Jul 2011, 23:00, More)

» World of Random

one of the kids i teach is 11 and has downs syndrome
At a recent assembly he got called to the front where the head presented him with a medal he had won in a cycling race.

I was really pleased for him and when I saw him in the corridor later that day I stopped to chat with him.

I asked him what kind of bike he used, whether it was a mountain bike, road bike or bmx.

He stopped looking at me, instead staring over my shoulder into the distance. His smile disappeared and a far away wistful look appeared on his face and he replied with a line that convinced me he is the most awesome human being who ever lived.

"I don't know. I just ride."

Then the smile returned and he waved cheery-o as he trotted off to maths.

Pretty random. Very cool!

Probably doesn't meet the requirements for this weeks answers but I feel justified in not giving a Fuck.
(Thu 21st Apr 2011, 12:22, More)

» Dodgy work ethics

How I fucked up my career in finance.
I once worked for a large organisation which provided publicly funded cheap loans exclusively to students. I had the pleasure of working in the collections department. Whilst still a student myself. The ironing was delicious.

Anyhoo, in exchange for beer/rent tokens I set about those debt stricken (ex) students like a particularly hungry leech would feed on a defenceless baby abandoned in a swamp.

Turned out I had a flair for debt recovery. I had a particular knack for convincing piss poor debtors to sign up to payment plans that would make bill gates wince.

I became numb to it. It was second nature. The point came that I would sometimes even enjoy it.

I excelled and caught the attention of my superiors. I was given additional legal responsibilities. Alongside putting the shits up the poor I would also get IVA and bankruptcy documents through so that I could help carve up the meagre assets of those who were pushed that shade too far.

This went on for 3.5 years. One day I just fucking snapped. I took a call from a woman who lived in chelsea. As soon as I heard the C word I thought I would go in for the kill. She must be rolling in it I thought. Then I read the notes. This woman, in her mid twenties, lost her parents a few years back and found herself looking after her two younger siblings along with a butt load of financial difficulties.

She was all for hanging up on me, explaining that I was pretty low down in the pecking order of creditors.

That's when it hit me. I had to leave. So, before I took steps to end my debt recovery career I explained to this woman that if I could finalize a payment plan for the next 20 years at 10 pence a month I could take the entire amount of £24 by card over the phone then and there. Knowing that the system would kick it straight back out I sent confirmation of the payment plan to her by email and post, then told her to take a note of my full name, department, managers name, date and time of the call and the reference number for the extensive note I put on her account. Then I took the payment, thanked her for her time, ended the call, put my stupid headset on my desk and walked out. It was a gorgeous day and, as I walked down the street, I looked back and saw the building I used to work in bathed in sunshine. I dug my camera out and took a picture. Then I turned on my heels and left the bastards to it, hoping that I had managed to polish a microscopic patch of my dark heart and blackened soul.

I ignored all their calls. They kept paying me for another 6 weeks. Karma?
(Thu 7th Jul 2011, 22:38, More)

» The Police II

the owl and the pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea roast boat
I had three less than favourable encounters with our pork flavoured friends in my late teens.

The first was when I was an officer cadet in the merchant navy at the tender age of 18. We had been at anchor in the bay of Gibraltar for two weeks whilst waiting to offload 2k tons of scrap in Algeciras.

When we finally got alongside everyone needed to let off a little steam. The first mate, the ChEng, two ABs and the engineer cadet all jumped in a taxi to Gibralter. To cut a long story short we came across a squaddies bar serving jack and coke for a pound a throw. The last thing I can remember is sitting on the road, alone. Then I woke up in an unlit room with a door yet no door handle. I looked at my watch to try nd figure out how much time had passed. It was gone. To get from Spain into Gib I needed my passport. That was gone as well. Along with my wallet and most worryingly, my belt. I began to wonder what was happening when I heard some screams and a lot of banging. Luckily this was back in 1999. When I think back to what happened I cant help thinking about movies like Saw and Hostel. Anyhoo, amidst all the screams and banging I decided to find out who had locked me in this room so I took the bull by the horns and started signaling for attention in the only way I felt was appropriate. I firmly rapped the door whilst saying "excuse me!".

Eventually my captor grew tired of the anguished moans of my fellow detainees and came to my door. I heard the key in the lock and then there was a blinding light (courtesy of the strip lighting in the hall outside). As soon as my eyes adjusted I found mysel face to face with a Ron Jeremy look-a-like wearing a uniform. I had been found nearly passed out on the street and had been taken in as "drunk and incapable". I got all my stuff back (including the tenner I still had in my wallet) and was politely told to get the fuck out of dodge.

Luckily I had a working cash card which allowed me to get the £50 I needed for a taxi back to Algeciras. Knowing I was likely to be packed on a flight home as soon as the Captain found out (I was 6 hours late for my watch, there was no avoiding it) I thought I may as well get the taxi driver to take me to McDonalds for a shake and some fries. Happily slurping and munching these as I walk up the quayside I hear the cry "CADET OFFICER OTT, COME STRAIGHT TO THE BRIDGE". The old man had been standing on the flying bridge and had spotted me tucking into a McDonalds as if I didnít have a care in the world. To his credit he listened to my story and told me to fuck off to my cabin for the rest of the day and didnt mention it again. It probably helped that the 1st mate had done something similar but also lost his passport and that the 2 ABs had been arrested for brawling. Happy days.

And that is how I learned to stay away from spirits........


for a while. I left the Merch after breaking my leg and then found suitable college course and a nice wee job. Things were good and I went to Germany on holiday. The people I went with turned out to be incompatible and ran home to their respective mummies. I bravely forged on and had a wonderful time. After about a month bumming around the Fatherland I returned to Frankfurt the day before my flight home. As I was now alone the youth hostel advised I would need to share an 8 bed dorm as opposed to the 4 bed room I had shared with my former companions when we arrived. It was there I met Gus. An affable yank who shared my wariness of our fellow roomies. We decided to hit he town for a few drinks. My last memory was of drinking Jack and Coke whilst playing electronic darts with Gus and a suspiciously tall South American "woman" in a Brazil themed bar. Then my memory cuts to a taxi, then a field, then darkness.

I had gone from the centre of Frankfurt to a field on the beer scooter???!!!

It didnít help that I had been reading Len Deighton and Robert Harris novels throughout my holiday. One moment I was fine, the next I was taken over by a paranoia so strong that I ran for what seemed like miles, certain as I was that the Stasi was chasing me. I stumbled through the field until I came to a road. A narrow country road in the middle of a wood/forest.

It must have been about 2am but I decided to flag down a car. In most slurred, drunken and broken German imaginable I asked the driver for a lift whilst opening the door. I had one foot in the car when he/she? hit the peddle and accelerated away from the mad drunken potential car jacker. I was left rolling down the road, mercifully uninjured. I saw some more headlights in the distance and felt it was worth another shot. I stuck my thumb out and the van stopped. I peered in and was greeted by two mustachioed German coppers looking at me with bemused expressions. I got bundled in and taken to the local cop shop. I had sobered up somewhat and remember the desk sergeant looking me up and down and then telling my two new friends to cut m loose. And there I was. Safe and a bit more sober, back on the streets of Frankfurt city centre. That should have been the end of it. However, the Stasis re-appeared (in my mind) and I made a break for it. Running full pelt up the street as fast as I could. Sure enough, the security forces caught up with me. Not the Stasi but my two friends from local law enforcement. Luckily they took pity on me and after a lot of slurred attempts, I managed to correctly pronounce the name of the street the youth hostel was on. They took me there and I knocked on the glass door. They guy at the desk shook his head whilst motioning to the curfew sign. Again my new friends helped me out and gestured to him that I should be allowed in.

Somehow I found my room and tried to enter as quietly as possible. I failed miserably by tripping over the unconscious form of Gus the Yank where he had fallen on the floor after returning from our memorable night.

About four months after this I joined my very good friend Mark at the Local Wetherspoons. It was his leaving do and there was much to be celebrated. He and I decided to do this by consuming a few pints. Unfortunately these were in the form of pitchersÖ..each filled with six shots of Jack Daniels and then topped up with coke. I remember finishing my second one, then I remember standing at the main entrance to Central Station. Then things get really blurry. I was in a field. Again! Then I fell down an embankment landing up to my ankles in muddy water. I was drunk, uncoordinated and trying to get up a 45 degree incline. The only thing I had to hold on to were the stinging nettles growing up the face of the embankment. The scariest bit of all (in retrospect) was that I can vaguely remember walking down the middle of a train track. I have told a few people about this and some have said that it was fine because no services run at that time anyway. I dread to think that a freight train or a placement run could have been scheduled that night. Anyhoo, I found myself in a grass clearing in front of a giant fence. SoÖÖI climbed over it. There I was, resplendent in my baggy jeans, white long sleeve t-shirt and skate shoes, standing inside the perimeter of a naval Defence Munitions centre, 20 miles away from Central Station

I was quickly spotted, huckled to a guard post and shouted at. Things went quiet and a few minutes later the cops arrived. I was handed over to them and bundled into their van for the short journey to the local town. They took my mobile, called my dad to make sure he had some cash to pay for a taxi and then bundled me in the first cab they could find. It was at worst a £30 fare. The driver relieved my dad of £80 that night. My hands were numb for about a week afterwards. When I woke up the next morning my first thoughts were for Mark. So, I called his home number to make sure he was OK. His mum answered and laughingly told me he had spent the night on a bench in the city centre. I then, in my still drunken state told her all about what had happened to me. I like to think she took a shine to me for my honesty and candor.

I didnít drink a drop for 10 months after that and now drink cider with PLENTY of ice (half and half). I also have a bottle of Jack Daniels at home. It has 3 shots out of it at the moment, all of which were for people other than myself. Come Christmas time it will be six years old.

Narrow escapes, Iíve had a few. Luckily the boys in blue in Gibraltar, Frankfurt and Scotland took pity on my happy, grinning, drunken, beaming features. Thanks to their charitable approach I am now a teacher.

PS: At over 1600 words everyone has my sincerest apologies for the length.
(Thu 5th May 2011, 19:11, More)
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