And now for something completely different, not to say veering on the banal.
When I first went to work at the Daily Mail on the features subs desk, the deputy chief sub was a nice chap called Robin Popham. I had just turned 40, and he was two or three years older. That was 19 years ago, and Robin retired when he turned 60 in 2008. They retire them at 60 on the Mail and furthermore until very recently, the paper operated a final salary pension scheme - or whatever its technical name is and still does for long-term employees - so pensions were always rather generous for anyone, such as Robin, who, crucially, had joined before around 1990, when salaries also got a percentage increase. (Three per cent of £20,000 is a lot less than 3 per cent of £60,000, and by 1990 Robin and several others would already have been on a generous whack after the profligate Eighties. But this has absolutely nothing to do with what I mean tell you.)
A year of two before he retired, I noticed that one of Robin’s front teeth was rather larger than the other. I wondered why, in the nigh on 20 years I had known him and always almost sat next to, I’d never noticed this before. It was quite noticeable that it was bigger than its pal. Then, a few months ago, I noticed that one of my front to teeth was larger and more prominent than the other. What was going on? So at my six-monthly check-up by my dentist, I pointed this out and asked him what was going one. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘that happens a lot when we get older.’ Oh, really. They didn’t tell us that in reform school.
So now be off, all of you, and check the size of your front teeth.