} That reminds me - I heard this great joke the other day. You'll love
} it! It goes like this - David Beckham gets onto this plane and...
} Oh, you probably don't know who David Beckham is if you're not a Brit.
} That's the problem with these global networks. You log on carrying all
} your cultural baggage and automatically assume everyone else carries
} the same. Baggage, I mean. Well, David Beckham is an English football
} player or, should I say, soccer player. He's with the England squad in
} Belgium in Euro 2000 even as we speak - except we're not speaking,
} obviously, but you know what I mean - and wasn't it great that England
} finally managed to beat Germany for the first time in more than 30
} years? Not that it was much of a match, and I suppose the die-hard
} jingoists will now be even more insufferably xenophobic than ever, and
} all those hooligans rioting rather took the shine off things...
} But I digress. The point about David Beckham is, he's not famous for
} being particularly bright. Kind of a proverbial male Essex girl, except
} you probably don't know about Essex girls either. They're like
} proverbial blondes. So David Beckham jokes are very like blonde jokes,
} only the sex is different. Are you with me?
} So, anyway, David Beckham gets on this plane, and walks straight
} through the curtains into first class, pops his hand luggage into the
} overhead compartment and sits down. The stewardess - sorry, that should
} be flight attendant, shouldn't it? Though I can't see what's wrong with
} the term stewardess, myself - it sounds rather grand. Anyway, the
} flight attendant comes up to him nervously and says, "Excuse me, Sir,
} but you've sat down in first class and you only have an economy class
} ticket." Upon which Beckham stands up and exclaims indignantly, "Don't
} you know who I am?"
} Not that I wish to imply by this that David Beckham is the sort of
} person that would carry on in such an overbearing manner. I don't know
} the man personally, but I'm sure he and Posh are very charming people
} really. Posh, that's his wife. She was one of the Spice Girls,
} remember? There was Posh, and Ginger who left, and Scary, and Sleepy
} and Sneezy, and I can't remember the other one. I can't remember their
} real names either, but most of them were called Mel, weren't they?
} Except Posh - she was Victoria or something. Not that it matters, as
} the tabloid press always refer to her and her husband as Posh 'n Becks.
} Anyway, for the purposes of this joke, Becks gets all huffy and
} indignant when the flight attendant tries to get him to move, and it
} looks like there's going to be an unpleasant scene when the man sitting
} next to him... Oh yes, I should have said there was a man sitting next
} to him. Only he's standing at this point in time of course, but you
} know what I mean. I should also have said that David Beckham got on the
} plane to fly to New York. That's pretty essential to the joke and I
} should really have mentioned it at the start. Kind of ruins it,
} otherwise. Sorry about that. But then, if you knew Posh 'n Becks at
} all, you would have guessed where he was going anyway. They really love
} New York. They called their son Manhattan. Or was it Queens? I forget.
} Not that the son enters into this story. Or Posh, for that matter. What
} happens next is that the man sitting next to him - next to Becks, that
} is - says to the flight attendant, "Perhaps I can help - I'm a
} psychologist." And he leans over to David Beckham and whispers
} something in his ear. I guess Beckham has sat down again at this point,
} or else the psychologist got up. Anyway, David Beckham instantly takes
} his hand luggage out of the overhead compartment and walks back into
} economy class, as good as gold. So the flight attendant is really
} impressed, and asks the man - that's the man who was sitting next to
} Beckham, that is - though not anymore, of course, as Beckham is now in
} economy class and sitting next to somebody else entirely - she asks the
} man, "What did you say to him?"
} [Two men sit gazing silently at a monitor in a dark, sparsely furnished
} room, the flickering light from the screen dancing on their faces. One
} has gaunt, cadaverous features; the other a round face, full lips and
} steel-rimmed spectacles with tiny, pebble-thick lenses. Both have
} closcropped hair and wear baggy, unadorned, dun-coloured uniforms. The
} bespectacled man stands up.]
} Bespectacled Man: I've seen enough.
} Gaunt Man: Will you recommend that the Inner Party increase my funding
} for this development of Room 101?
} Bespectacled Man: Fool! Look at the way he's writing - he's positively
} enjoying himself! I would say your so-called development is a
} complete and utter failure.
} [A slight patronising smile tugs at the edge of the gaunt man's narrow
} Gaunt Man: I do apologise - I thought you'd understood. He's not the
} one that's in Room 101.
} Bespectacled Man: Oh, I see. Ha, ha - yes, that's very good, O'Brien.
} Ha, ha, ha - very good indeed. My word, yes, I think that deserves
} extra funding. Ha, ha, ha!
} [The two shake hands, and the bespectacled man leaves the room, still
} chuckling. The gaunt man resumes his seat at the monitor.]
} So the psychologist says, "I told him first class wasn't going to New
} York!" Geddit? Geddit? So David Beckham - who's not supposed to be very
} clever, remember? - believes economy class is going to New York, but
} first class isn't. But it's all the same plane! Oh dear, oh dear, oh
} dear! That's a good one, isn't it? Cracks me up every time.
} Now, this business about crushing things under the heel of a boot.
} That's a bit depressing, isn't it? You know full well Big Brother would
} never allow anything like that to happen. Big Brother is your friend...