Casual Conversations

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Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on

You see, I have worked with the same person for thirty years now. We still speak to one another (which is amazing enough) but we don’t, perhaps, listen as much as we used to, and our conversations do tend to meander along the same old path every day…
“What was the name of that bloke who always used to come in on a Saturday?”
“What bloke?”
“Tall bloke, always came in on a Saturday.”
“I don’t know who you mean. What did he look like?”
“He used to come in with that other bloke. Bald. Looked like Yul Brynner.”
“Yul Brynner?”
“Mm… Actually, I might have got it wrong. He’s bald. Might be Telly Savalas.”
“No, I still don’t know who you mean… Wasn’t he in ‘The King and I’?”
“Telly Savalas.”
“No, that was Yul Brynner.”
“Oh, what was Telly Savalas in then?”
“Kojak. You said.”
“No, I mean films.”
“Oh… He was in ‘The Dirty Dozen’.”
“Was that with Clint Eastwood?”
“No, that was ‘Kelly’s Heroes’.”
“Who was in ‘The Dirty Dozen’ then?”
“Ernest Borgnine.”
“‘Bad Day at Black Rock’.”
“Oh yes, I know him. Still don’t know ‘The Dirty Dozen’ though.”
“Right… so, it’s about a group of convicts who are trained up to go on a commando raid in the Second World War.”
“Are you sure that’s not ‘Kelly’s Heroes’?”
“Right… so, is it Yul Brynner or Telly Savalas?”
“‘The Dirty Dozen’?”
“Telly Savalas.”
“And he looked like the bloke that used to come in here on a Saturday?”
“No, he looked like the bloke that sometimes used to come in with the bloke who used to come in here on a Saturday.”
“I can’t picture who you mean.”
“Well, he looked like that bloke out of ‘On The Buses’.”
“Telly Savalas?”
“No, the bloke who used to come in here on a Saturday.”
“Reg Varney… What did he come in for?”
“Just to chat, mostly. I can’t remember his name.”
“He was the first man ever to use a cash machine in this country, you know.”
“Who was?”
“Reg Varney.”
“How do you know that?”
“It was some kind of anniversary. It was on the news a while back.”
“… He had a dog!”
“Who did?”
“The man who used to come in with the man who used to come in on a Saturday. Yappy bloody thing. Jack Russell or something”
“I really don’t know who you mean.”
“You must.”
“I don’t.”
“You do.”
“I don’t.”
“You do.”
“O.K., I do.”
“Good. Who is it then?”
“I don’t know…”
“… What you got for lunch?”
“Was Ernest Borgnine in ‘The Poseidon Adventure’?”
“I think so.”
“Great film.”
“Wasn’t him out of ‘Planet of the Apes’ in it?”
“Charlton Heston?”
“No… He was in ‘Fright Night’ too. He had some sort of Roman name in ‘Planet of the Apes’ I think.”
“No, not bloody Nero.”
“Well I don’t know, do I? Nero’s the only Roman name I know.”
“What about Julius?”
“Was it Julius?”
“No! I was just giving you an example of a Roman name.”
“Oh… Why?”
“Because I’m sure that the ape played by the bloke out of ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ had a Roman name.”
“… I didn’t know there was an ape in ‘The Poseidon Adventure’.
“No, he wasn’t an ape in ‘The Poseidon Adventure’, he was… Cornelius! He was Cornelius!”
“Oh, you mean Roddy McDowall.”
“Brilliant! That’s it! Roddy McDowall. Was he in ‘The Poseidon Adventure’?”
“No idea… Ernest Borgnine was.”
“Oh for f…”
“… Was his name George?”
“The bloke that used to come in on a Saturday. Was his name George?”
“I really don’t know. The only George I know is the ex-R.A.F man who goes next door for a coffee.”
“Ah, I might be getting him mixed up then. Does he have a mate that looks like Yul Brynner?”
“I’ve never seen him with one.”
“Does he look like Reg Varney?”
“… Jarvis!”
“What is?”
“The bloke that used to come in here on a Saturday.”
“Of course. That’s it!… So what was his mate called…?”

3 thoughts on “Casual Conversations

  1. Haha… Every conversation I ever have with my old mum! I always start the conversation with “Just tell me the story, Mum, because I won’t know who you are on about”. Which proves no obstacle to her attempt to make me remember the name of someone I’ve never met…. Or am ever likely to meet!

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