During a chat yesterday with my son Jonny, where we exchanged felicitations for the new year, my eldest offspring asked if I’d set myself any resolutions for 2021. Aware that his pater generally looks for a quip as a default response, it was a question he suffixed by adding “Incidentally, I mean the year 2021, not if you’ve anything planned for 60 seconds at 8.21 pm this evening…. Or, indeed, any other evening.

An inquiry I responded to by informing my boy that, in my humble opinion, under prevailing circumstances here on Planet Covid I’m reticent to make many firm plans for the future. Well, apart from being resolved to seek new employment, along with purchasing a flock of sheep for the back garden.

The latter procurement, I continued to lie, was to allow counting of ovines overnight on days my oft seen insomnia kicks in. He chuckled, called me a buffoon, prior to asking which type of job I was seeking. A catechism to which I retorted “Anything other than employment within IT (which I undertook in a former life), lion taming or a cheesecloth salesman.”

Footnote – To clarify, when alluding to working within the IT sector in a previous life, I’m referring to the fact previous employment roles have lain within an IT Operations and Service Management…… Not that I’m a re-incarnation of Charles Babbage……. The ‘father of the computer’ not to be mistaken for Charlie Babbitt from the movie Rain Man.

“What have you got against selling cheesecloth, dad?” Jonny inquired, I assume already taking it as read my opposition to a lion taming role.

“Well, would you wanna sell cheesecloth as a career?” GJ Strachan pointed out to JA Strachan.

“Well no, but then again I’d not want to be the salesman of any product….. Well, with the possible exception of peddling those quirky fake reindeer antlers people wear at Christmas….. That’d be brilliant.” Jonny proffered; seemingly thawing slightly towards career prospects within sales.

“I don’t rule out a career in sales per sa….. In fact, recently I was told that with my patter I’d be able to sell coal to the Arabs; I just don’t want cheesecloth samples making up my briefcase wares.” I sought to clarify.

“Dad, the saying doesn’t refer to proving excellent salesmanship qualities by selling coal to the Arabs….. The correct adage is ‘Selling sand to the Arabs.” JA Strachan sought to educate his idiosyncratic father.

“Which idiot would take a job as a salesman of sand to Arabs….. They’ve got shed loads of the stuff….. Regardless of your markup margins, you’d not shift enough sand to fill an egg timer.” I chuntered dismissively.

“It’s just a saying, dad!…. Not for one moment does the deliverer of the comment suggest selling sand to the Arabs is a viable why to make a living…… It’s an expression/compliment to highlight to the recipient they’ve a gift of the gab.” Jonny attempted to clarify; appearing ever more disenchanted with my mischief.

“Do you really want a career selling those quirky reindeer antlers people adorn at Christmas, Jonny?” GJ Strachan questioned my progeny.

Of course not, you idiot……. I’m far more ambitious than that!” My son dismissed.

“That’s a shame, One of the jobseeker’s websites I’m a member of is advertising for a salesman in that very role.” I highlighted to JA Strachan.

“Erm….. which websites that, Dad?” Jonny sheepishly inquired.

“The Indeed site…… The role’s based near you in York as well.” yours truly enlightened my eldest progeny.

“Errrrrr……. Right dad. I’m off…… Erm, I need to shampoo the dog.” Jonny hurriedly attempted to conclude the call.

You’ve not got a dog!” I pointed out; somewhat baffled.

“Errrr….. I mean the cat…… Speak soon!” my son blurted hastily.

Before I’d a chance to re-affirm my wish of a happy new year, I was greeted with a dial tone indicating he’d closed the call.

I best conclude this piece at this juncture, I’ve a job to find….. Incidentally, does anyone wanna buy any coal?…. Errrrr, or sand?