Wouldn't it be ironic, and all that Jazz?

20th March 2009 at 00:00

Jazz had long hair, a passion for music and was as dyslexic as a French Connection UK logo. He tried hard to follow physics, at least in the classroom, and had some success at Standard grade.

It would, however, be fair to say that I will remember him more for his easy nature than his abilities as a scientist. Prone to digression, he would come out with statements such as: "It would be funny if you were walking along the road and got knocked down by an ambulance."

I would gently opine that this would not be funny, and it is a testament to the school English department that by the end of S4 he had modified these statements to: "It would be ironic (the italics were plain to hear) if you were walking along the road and got knocked down by an ambulance."

I heard the voice of Jazz in my head around a month ago, as I drove to Inverness to work with Highland teachers on a road-safety-based practical.

On the far side of Perth, snow began to fall in large, downy flakes. Soon the roads were as deserted as the fruit and veg aisle in a west of Scotland supermarket. "Wouldn't it be funn ... wouldn't it be ironic if you slid off the road on your way to a crash-testing workshop?" said Jazz.

I had a similar experience in a hotel in Sorrento. The two-pin plug on my shaver looked like it would fit into the wall socket in my hotel bathroom, and indeed it did. Unfortunately, it would not come out again. I tugged. Harder. The mounting started to break free from the wall. If I could get my fingers between the pins and ...

It wasn't Jazz's voice but a sudden glimpse of a newspaper report that stopped me. "A spokesman said it was important that tourists exercised proper caution with unfamiliar electrical supplies. Ironically, Mr Steele, 48, worked for an organisation that dispenses health and safety advice to Scottish schools."

Actually, I might have been lucky and got away with a very painful, swear-worthy surface burn to my finger tip. I leave it to the reader to judge whether this would have been ironic, funny, or both.

Gregor Steele arrived safely in Inverness and had a very nice time there.

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