Reginald Bland was a man of routine and
habit. He rose at 6.00 AM, breakfasted on two Weetabix with milk,
arrived at work at precisely 8.30 AM, had mackerel sandwiches for
lunch, arrived home at precisely 5.30 PM, dined from a weekly
menu, read his newspaper and finally retired at exactly 10.15 PM.
This Monday was, however, different. He had
overheard a conversation on the previous Friday in which it was
suggested that he was rather boring. He though about this at some
length and consequently decided that he should live a
little. He had purchased a new shirt on Saturday which
incorporated coloured strips in contrast to his usual white. On
his weekly trip to the supermarket on Saturday afternoon, he
placed chicken kievs in his basket for dinner on Monday, in
variance to his habitual fish fingers.
Monday had passed uneventfully with a few
complementary comments on his change of sartorial pace. He had
just swallowed his final mouthful of kiev, however, when the
doorbell rang. Two men from the Ministry of Lifestyle showed
their identification and were invited in by a puzzled Reginald.
The elder spoke. We gather, Mr Bland,
that you wore a coloured shirt to work today and that you may
have had chicken kievs for dinner?
Yes. Why do you ask?
That isnt permitted for someone
You represent a very pure example of
your type. Youre a Grade One Listed Person. You
mustnt change your behaviour without proper agreement from
This came as a surprise to Reginald, but he
reverted to a white shirt on the following day and planned
sausages for dinner. He did, however, covertly sport his final
purchase from the previous weekend - Union Jack boxer shorts.
As he stepped from his bus at 8.23 AM, he
was grabbed by three men, bundled into a car and driven at speed
through the London streets. They halted inside a building that he
recognised as being at the rear of the Natural History Museum.
He was escorted through a corridor between
barred cells. One contained a man with a black and white striped
vest, beret and moustache sitting dolefully beside a bicycle and
strings of onions. Another was occupied by a man in a pinstriped
suit with a bowler hat and umbrella. Finally he was sat down in a
One of his captors spoke. Its
unfortunate you ignored the advice you were given last night.
What did I do?
The boxer shorts.
Oh....Because Im listed?
Its more than that. Youre
also a Type Specimen. Youre the standard
against which other boring, lonely, balding, overweight, middle-class
losers are judged. Wed much prefer that you continued to
live in your natural habitat, but if you make one more
unauthorised change then well have to store you here in the
cell block of the Natural History Museum.
Next morning, in white shirt and Y-fronts,
Reginald resignedly resumed his previous lifestyle. He thought
wistfully of what might have been, but was cheered by the thought
of his piece of haddock for dinner.