Friday, 18 November 2011

Children in Need

This year's BBC 'Children in Need' charity appeal is subtitled "Show your Spots". Given the high incidence of teenage acne I find this to be in very poor taste (unless they're collecting Clearasil in those buckets).

We had a young boy at the door wanting sponsored 'per spot' for Children in Need. My master took one look at him and said, "They're not spots, they're blisters," and closed the door. The boy rang the bell again, determined to get a donation. From behind the door, my master shouted, "It's chickenpox, go away! You're contagious." When the boy's sobs began to drown out the fundraiser on the telly, my master took pity on him and reopened the door. The boy's smug grin faded as he was handed a secondhand bottle of calamine lotion. He deserved some credit though. I'd never thought of varicella as a fundraising virus before and at least now he wouldn't be so itchy. 

On our walk tonight a kid ran up to us and demanded money. I never saw where he came from. He was about eight years old and was wearing slippers, pyjamas and a dressing gown. At first I wondered if I had misunderstood the whole concept of 'Children in Need'. Was this a night where children were allowed to beg on the street? I thought, no, that's Halloween! He explained he needed the cash to buy sweets from the ice cream van, which was strumming towards us along the road, playing the Magic Roundabout theme music. My master couldn't hear either the van or the boy's demands over the sounds from his Ipod and walked on, knotted poo bag swaying. This was the only donation being made on our walk tonight and I'd made it. 

Just as well my master was oblivious to the boy's request. He's a sucker for beggars and charity collectors. He'd probably have been too embarrassed to refuse and ended up being blackmailed by the boy's parents, who were videoing the encounter from a first floor window. How would he explain to the police giving cash to a boy in pyjamas on a street corner? Maybe next time, the boy's parents won't over think their plan and just mug him for his Ipod. I'm sure Cash Converters will give them more than ice cream money for it. And he'll never hear them coming.