EDitorial ± 15-Jan-2007

Best Policy

It was murder at Broom Acres yesterday. You invite your family round and that's always likely, it goes without saying. All lights, bar one downstairs room where we gathered, were extinguished, and we gingerly chose a folded scrap of paper: D for detective, M for murderer, or blank for potential victim.

I accompanied The Boy into the darkness of the hallway, urging him to duck by the side of a bed or squeeze behind a door, then wait for the scream. Apart, that is, from the time he bravely chose to go solo, returning with the look of a job well done. So, quizzed The Detective, where were you when you heard your sister cry out? Standing next to her, answered Li'l Abe.

When those little ears learn that (a) the game is called Murder, and (b) if you're the Murderer, it's OK to lie, what kind of inferences are being formed within that stegosaurus brain?

I've got a wife and three kids you know
They'll tell you I'm straight
At least I think so
— Madness, Shut Up

Me, I'm as honest as they come. So picture me in Sainbury's the grocers last Thursday when, having asked for £50 cashback, the young fella hands over a tenner and three twenties. My first thought was to scan the check-out area for hidden cameras. Then, not missing a beat, I pointed out the overpayment and handed back Sir Edward Elgar. As I'm sure you'd have done yourself.

Step forward 24 hours to find father and son at the end of a windy bike ride visiting the home of Ronald McDonald. Halfway through assembling his Smiley Repast, I handed the Tropicana OJ on the tray to The Boy, who promptly took it to his seat. When the McEmployee returned with fries and nuggets, he placed another OJ alongside, obviously thinking he'd missed the drink from the order. This time I did miss more than a beat, kept schtum, and took the juice. Bad me: no biscuit with my vitamin C.