Oxford MailI really just can’t help putting my foot into it... (From Oxford Mail)

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I really just can’t help putting my foot into it...

Oxford Mail: Man About Town Jeremy Smith Man About Town Jeremy Smith

IT'S not something I normally like to talk about... But at 52, I guess it’s time to be honest, both with you and myself. Since maybe the age of 12, I have suffered from ‘Jerettes’ – a self-serving, self-inflicted behavioural tic that in no way mirrors the pain and anguish of those suffering from the genuine condition of Tourettes.

Because most importantly, I can help myself. It’s purely a ‘cosmetic’ disorder I’m both too lazy and too stupid to stop.

Yet it manifests itself every week.

There I’ll be chatting away to someone perfectly nice when, for no reason whatsoever, I’ll suddenly open my big mouth and say something like...: “Do you know who I really hate? That stuck-up Barbie Doll and Ken of a prime time low-life who glides ‘round Didcot like he owns it”.

To which, invariably, the perfectly nice person to whom I’ve been talking replies (rather curtly I might add): “That’s my husband.”

Well, the passing of the years have clearly taught me nothing since, as is my way, I carefully dug and cultivated my own grave once again this week when, in conversation with one of my colleagues, I suddenly went off on a tangent.

“I tell who is a certifiable cockroach,” I said, apropos absolutely nothing, “**** ******”. And continued...

“I’ve met her husband several times and I haven’t got a bad word to say about him. A true gentleman. But I can understand why he sleeps around. Last time I met her, my body fell beneath the core temperature of 28C and I had to be revived. You know, I’d rather cozy up next to a Black Mamba than that soul-sucking icicle of a Medusa.”

My colleague however didn’t smile. She simply looked at me and said, with devastating ordinariness: “I lived with her for six months at college, we still swap Christmas cards, and our families meet up twice a year.”

Where do you go? Or rather, where did I go?

Well, sheepish probably best sums up my first response. Followed closely by obsequiousness and clammy palms.

So why do I do it?

Because when I’m in the ‘zone’ – and that usually means when I’m feeling rather pleased with myself – it seems too irresistible to resist. Like a shining new gew-gaw that just needs to be hung.

Clearly that’s no excuse and it’s not meant to be.

Suffice to say, said colleague has a tectonic plate more style and grace than I do and answered: “We’re all entitled to our opinions,” before exiting Oxford Mail left with great dignity and before calling the Mafia.

And truth is, I do deserve to be shot, though that’s not some grand, pathetic gesture to have my soul hung out to dry. Just a statement of fact.

If there’s a hole, I’ll put my foot in it...

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