I was sitting at work today, opposite Gareth, my new Irish colleague who is also a stand up comedian. He peered over his monitor at me, which I have quickly discovered means that he is about to try out a joke.
‘You know Where’s Wally?’ he asked. I nodded. He grinned. ‘It’s more like – Where’s Wally’s parents?’
I thought about it, but didn’t get the joke straight away. After some consideration I pointed at one of the post-its I have stuck on our dividing wall. One says ‘I get it!’ and the other ‘I don’t get it’. I pointed at the latter – I have found this method saves a lot of time.
Gareth’s grin faded slightly, but he tried again.
‘Why don’t you get it?” he asked, radiating bafflement.
‘Why do you wonder where his parents are?’ I replied.
‘Well… you know, he’s always wandering off in crowds and getting lost. It’s irresponsible parenting. So where are they?’
‘But he’s a grown adult.‘
Gareth looked confused.
‘Is he? Oh. He’s a vulnerable adult then.’
This reminded me of something that happened back in the days where I still worked in email marketing. I’d pottered over to Kathryn’s desk (yes, she of the ‘maned wolf’ episode) but she wasn’t there. I decided to wait, as her PC wasn’t locked, so I assumed she’d be back shortly. I glanced at her desk and noticed a Where’s Wally desk calender. Picking it up absent-mindly I started looking for Wally. He was well hidden, but after a while, I found him. Kathryn still wasn’t back, so I looked for Odlaw, then I looked for his girlfriend and the dog. Just after I found the dog, I suddenly became aware of several pairs of eyes looking at me. I quietly put the calendar back and tried to walk nonchalantly back to my desk, but as I walked away, I suddenly realised that I hadn’t told anyone I was waiting for Kathryn. Instead, to everyone now watching me go quite red, I had got up, walked over to Kathryn’s desk, taken ages looking for Wally, and then returned to my own desk, as though it was some kind of bizarre ritual: ‘Oh, it’s 3.30, better go look for Wally’.
I blame the parents.