EDitorial ± 23-Feb-2006

Smile Like You Mean It

Thursday lunchtime -- ping-pong tonight -- and something's missing. I've got the (ITTF approved 40mm) balls, inc. a new batch of three orange RITC Friendship fellas in the post from ebayland, but nowt to put 'em in. I need a secure container. I pine for one of those Christmas sweety tubes, the ones full of Smarties or Jelly Tots. It is, however, February.

Hour or so later, taxi-ing Middler to her modern dance lesson -- big exam is next week -- and we're practicing smiling, this being a vital weapon in the dancer's armoury. They call it "bright eyes", says Middler, and you must show your teeth at all times.

My first attempt didn't impress: no Dad, she said, has to be more natural. Next go was better, if painful, but quickly evaporated once we hit a queue of crosstown traffic.

The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much they failed to take a breath
— The Housemartins, The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death
Once she was safely ensconced at the Dance Studio, I did my usual parental supportive thing and zoomed off to Sainsbury's for misc sundries. Juice for the dancer: check. Doughnuts, both jammy and ring, for the kids (and their dad): check. Dishwasher tabs: mental maths told me that two 15-packs for a fiver beat one 32-pack for six quid.

Back home, fed kids, got my ping-pong gear on, and decanted the bargain tabs into the box that lives under the sink. Now, I love an empty box -- who doesn't? -- and those Finish containers are mighty manly. Thinks: maybe it would make a fine receptacle for my TT balls? Out with my fragile packet o' balls and into their purpose-built home. Works a treat.

Remained only to apply lots of white labels in a Blue Peter stylee to cover up the branding, leaving only the word "Powerball" exposed -- did you see what I did there?

Note: we were thrashed 9-1 that evening.