From Dave Willerby:
Dear Jules, I am still reeling from the recent results of a poll conducted this month where WHSmith was voted the worst shop. My life has been thrown into turmoil as I was one of those polled and my vote was firmly for WHSmith as the best shop in town. Am a bad person? I feel so confused right now. I am walking around in complete paranoia that I have been making hideous and embarrassing choices all along. I can’t trust myself. I don’t know if my friends are actually my friends anymore – has it all been built on a lie?
I have been trying to find out how my mates down the pub would have voted, but obviously I can’t ask them directly – it would be devastating to find out I am alone, so humiliating. I have been trying to think of ways to ask side questions which might hint how they think like “Did you vote to leave or remain?” or “Do you scrunch or fold?” you know the real eye openers into a persons soul. Is this the right approach or do you think that even this will betray my motives and mark me out as a WHSmith lover? Please help, I am not sure how long I can go on with all this shameful doubt hanging over me.
Dear Dave, The first thing to say is Don’t Panic. Take a deep breath, say a few “Oms” and gather yourself. While it feels like you are deep in the middle of an existential crisis, I want you to really think about what you have said and the absurdity of how it sounds when you say it out loud. The truth of the matter, and here’s the dirty little secret no-one is willing to talk about in public: EVERYONE LOVES WHSmith. There I said it. It’s right up there with Chesney Hawkes, stringy cheese, eating bogeys and barn dancing. If you are asked by a punter in the street “Do you like…[fill in controversial item x]?” then none of us has any choice but to declare a heart felt loathing of said item. But take a look around, we all rush to the dance floor with air guitar in hand when The One and Only comes on; we are all standing face buried in the crisper draw of the fridge teasing sticks of cheese apart with our teeth and slowly drawing it into our mouths with our tongue praying that the kids don’t see; we are all scanning the room while the TV is on, waiting for a moment to have a dig and a lick when no-one is looking; and, just take a look around when you are next in the temple of WHSmith – people are dashing in, grabbing there snacks, stationary and easy read and getting out again without making eye contact. That’s the whole reason for the automatic tills, to facilitate the guilty pleasure.
Take heart, don’t over think it, just live life confident that others are living the life too.