I’ve had another run-in with Jools. I’ve talked about Jools a few times in these Dollops. She has been a reader of these Dollops since the very beginning, and she’s commented on almost every one of them. I think she’s probably read them all.
Many of her comments have been suggestions about how I might want to improve the Dollops, and one of these suggestions was that I make the dollops shorter. I addressed this comment in Dollop 46, so I won’t go over it again, for brevity’s sake (you see? I’m learning, Jools).
Last Sunday, I was really tired after coming back from the wedding fair. I’d barely slept the night before and had to get up early to leave Manchester. I got back from the fair at about 4pm and still needed to write that day’s Dollop. But I could barely keep my eyes open. I wrote the dollop while lying in bed, periodically falling asleep, before waking again a few seconds later and continuing typing. As a result, the Dollop was a bit shorter than usual; 782 words fact fans.
Jools left a comment on this Dollop saying: “Well done on the precision of the shorter length dollop. Having to say things in fewer words concentrates the mind and the ideas. And it is easier to read.”
‘Thank you Jools, although, the shortness was more down to a malfunctioning brain and falling asleep during the writing process, as opposed to anything else. Perhaps I should try writing these Dollops while dosed up on sleeping tablets. I might eventually end up killing myself, but at least you’d get a decent run of short Dollops before I died, and on the plus side, when I’m dead my Dollops will be even shorter, to the point of non-existent.
The next day, I was back to my usual ways, writing a blog post that contained 1484 words. I expected Jools to be disappointed that I’d tantalised her with a shorter Dollop and then rubbed her face in an extra big Dollop the next day. But her comment was uncharacteristic.
“Yes. This is funny. I’d like to have heard more about the young girl and her bewilderment at the world of veg. You could have taken this for a longer walk. Or drawn her out more.”
Yes, I know, Jools is now suggesting that I write more. She’s mentioned on several occasions about making the Dollops shorter, and then when I write a lengthy Dollop,she starts intimating that I extend the Dollop even further.
For anyone who didn’t read/listen to Dollop 53, here is a brief extract of the bit Jools is referring to. If you have read or heard this before, you can either skip this bit, or relive the magic another time, and perhaps you’ll find new dimensions that you didn’t appreciate the first time.
“I’ve just come back from Sainsbury’s. Being blind I ask someone working at the shop to help me get the various things. Today’s lady had seemingly never seen a vegetable before, nor most of the food I was buying. She’d never heard of spring onions before, had no idea what a courgette was. Cherry tomatoes seemed to be a concept that completely bewildered her. “I’ve heard of cherries, and I know about tomatoes, but I didn’t know that you could buy them as one. I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.””
There’s a lot more to the story than this; the lady’s lack of veg knowledge was just the scene setter, the tip of the iceberg, the iceberg lettuce maybe – another vegetable that the lady’s probably never heard of. I cited three vegetables that I wanted to buy, and explained that the lady hadn’t heard of any of them. I’m not sure how much more beneficial it would have been to continue naming vegetables and then continue to explain that the shop assistant had never heard of them. I thought three was enough, and ordinarily Jools would be telling me to edit and make the Dollops shorter, but when it comes to vegetables, she’s seemingly hungry for more.
I’m feeling a bit guilty about being too harsh on Jools. I genuinely do appreciate her reading these Dollops and she is one of the few people who actually leaves a comment, whereas the rest of you out there (and I know you’re there because I can see you on my web and podcast stats) you’re just take take take. But Jools gives something back. Granted, what she gives back is at times confusing and contradictory. But at least she’s participating. So, I don’t want to be overly harsh on her. So I thought I’d do something nice just for Jools,to say thanks. So here are a few more examples of vegetables, followed up with some comments about them by the clueless shop assistant. My original three examples from the 53rd Dollop were actually true, whereas these are invented by me as a special treat for you Jools. I hope you like them. The rest of you might find this next section a bit overkill. You might be of the opinion that three vegetables was enough. Feel free to skip ahead to the next bit. After all, this is not designed for you; I am exclusively catering for Jools now, to say thanks and sorry if I’ve been too harsh on her. OK, here you go Jools. I hope you enjoy.
“I need to get a cauliflower.”
“A Cauliflower? Never heard of it. I’ve heard of a collie, as in the dog. And I’ve heard of a flower, as in the thing that grows, but I didn’t know you could buy them as one. I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice. A flower that tastes like a dog? No thank you.”
“I also need to buy a jacket potato.”
“A what? A jacket potato? I’ve never heard of that before. I’ve heard of a jacket, as in the item of clothing. And I’ve heard of a potato. But I didn’t know you could buy them as one. I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice. A potato that tastes like leather? Rather you than me.”
“I also need some parsnips.”
“Some what? Pa’s nips? As in dad’s nipples? That sounds disgusting! Do they cut them off the dad’s when they die? Or do they do it when they’re alive? It sounds very cruel. Plus, I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.”
That’s kind of the clueless shop assistant’s catchphrase Jools: “I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.” I could do more, and I happily will if you pay me. But for the sake of everyone else and myself, let’s move on.
Jools’ comment from Dollop 53 continued:
“‘curiosity’ is piqued not peaked.”
Fair enough, she corrected my misuse of the word peaked over piqued, which is fine. I’ve never seen it written down before. I tend to have a screen reader reading things to me, so there are certain words that I’ve never actually read before. So fine, I don’t mind having my spelling corrected, although, let me tell you Jools that my spellchecker constantly gets irritated with me when I type your name, because it’s apparently not a correct spelling. So, get your own name spelt right first before you start pointing fingers. That’s my message to you, and you can’t argue with logic like that.
I replied to Jools’ comment in what I intended to be a jocular manner.
“My goodness, well, thank you, I feel as if I’m being marked by the teacher now. Whatever you do please don’t give me lines; I have enough writing to be getting on with as it is. Glad you enjoyed it. I like the fact that you’ve been suggesting that I expurgate the blogs, and yet you then request more detail about her lack of vegetable knowledge. Just imagine a vegetable, and then imagine that she’s never heard of it, and do that until you get bored. That should give you a similar result. Unfortunately, I only asked her for courgette, peas, spring onions and cherry tomatoes. Perhaps next time I will record my shopping trip, and deliberately ask for more vegetables, and capture her reaction. Feel free to suggest vegetables if there are any particular types you’d like me to insert, by which I mean mention – it’s not that kind of blog, not yet anyway, but you never know, if the money’s right. Have I piqued your interest perchance?”
Now, I wrote this, assuming that it would be taken as a lighthearted response to Jools’ critique. She’s correcting my spelling (which I really don’t mind) and she’s making suggestions about how I can improve what I’ve written, which is a little different to how anyone else interacts with these blogs, but fair enough, why not? I mean, it’s just her opinion, and I’m probably not going to change what I do on the basis of it, but still, it’s fine. So I made a little joke about her being like a teacher, marking my work. I assumed it would be taken as a joke, especially given that she’s not fallen shy of offering frank comment herself. Jools has probably read every single one of my Dollops, meaning that she’s had an insight into the way I think for seven weeks, so I’d assume that she’d know that I was merely joking when I made that comment to her. But, I think I’ve given Jools the impression that I am annoyed with her.
I received a reply from Jools saying: “Ah, that’s where I’m going wrong then. I thought it was any reaction you wanted, and that, sadly, was mine.”
So I think that Jools has taken um bridge with my reply. Fortunately, I’ve written this lovely blog post to help placate her and smooth things over between us, so we should be fine now. Are we cool Jools? How about one more vegetable scenario to help make things good between us once again?
“I also want to buy a pumpkin.”
“What?! A what?! Pump? As in, fart? Kin? What, like … a family member? A family member’s farts? I’m sorry, you’re just being stupid now. I’m sick of hearing about these ridiculous made-up vegetables. I’m not prepared to help you any more. Good day sir, I’m leaving. But not before I’ve said: I wouldn’t imagine that it would taste very nice.”
Got to get her catchphrase in, eh Jools? Oh, and I made this Dollop extra long for you, just to say thanks.