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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

Points Of View

A phone rings.

‘Hello, is that BBC Points of View?’

‘No, this is the Samaritans. Can I help you?’

‘I rang BBC Points of View.’

‘Yes. All calls to BBC Points of View are redirected to the Samaritans.’

‘But I wanted to complain about the quality of acting in last night’s drama… and there was a continuity error after thirty-four minutes… and then there was an historical faux pas in the forty-eighth minute. ’

‘Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Those must have been distressing for you.’

‘Well, I wasn’t distressed, exactly. I just thought the BBC might appreciate my analysis as a valued viewer.’

‘So you thought that the BBC might have been interested in your opinion?’

‘They say they are.’

‘Eight million people watched that drama.’

‘You mean you think I’m not that significant?’

‘I think you’re very important, as a person.’

‘Thank you… I don’t get out much, you see. I get a bit lonely at home. Contributing to Points of View makes me feel valued. I also share my perspectives with the world on Twitter.’

‘Can I ask how many Twitter followers you have?’

‘Four – although, admittedly, they’re all ladies from Eastern Europe, seeking a relationship in misspelt English.’

‘How do you feel when you’re sending your opinions to BBC Points of View, or writing tweets?’

‘Up until now, I felt as if it gave my life a purpose. But now you make me think about it, I see that I need to get a life. After all, there are around seven billion people in the world. It stands to reason that no one is going to be really interested in what I think of BBC programmes or what I had for breakfast.’

‘Do you write Amazon one star reviews?’

‘How did you know that?’

‘Just a hunch.’

‘Oh God, my life’s not worth living. I’m going to kill myself.’

‘You’re not alone, you know.’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Many people who tweet about the minutiae of their daily lives, most people who write Amazon one star reviews, and everyone who contacts BBC Points of View are just like you.’

‘You mean they’d all feel suicidal if they paused for a moment and thought about how pointless their lives had become?’

‘That’s why all callers to BBC Points of View are redirected to the Samaritans.’

‘What can I do?’

‘Well, you can obviously contact us at any time if you feel bad. However, there are other organisations that might be able to contribute practical help, in addition to our emotional support.’

‘Do you know somewhere I could go for help?’

‘I can give you the numbers of BBC Points of View Anonymous, Twitter Anonymous and Amazon One Star Reviewers Anonymous.’

‘What do they do?’

‘I understand that they provide face to face contact with other human beings and a chance to talk about anything other than BBC programmes; pointless, mind numbing trivia or Amazon products.’

‘What else is there to talk about?’

‘You might be surprised.’

‘Thank you so much. This could be a new beginning for me.’

‘I hope so. If there are any problems, don’t hesitate to call us again.’

‘Thanks, I will. Now what were those numbers…’