Nerf guns and press-ups

Well, dear reader, time has moved inexorably onwards, like an ever-rolling stream, as a wise and poetic songwriter once said. The summer is on the wane, and the twilight gradually creeps earlier and earlier. Saturday saw the last day of the cricket season in Scotland, and marked the end of my twentieth season with Holy Cross Academicals Cricket Club.

Apart from a couple of short trips down to Yorkshire and over to Northern Ireland, I have worked steadily through the summer. The office, usually a hive of industrious activity, has been mostly quiet over this time, with many staff taking well-earned holidays.

One has to be one’s guard in the office. Chief among the reasons for this is the stash of Nerf guns in the Rector’s Office. There is a veritable arsenal of deadly plastic weaponry in there, and just as certain Western countries feel the need to have nuclear firepower on tap, as a deterrent to the Bad Guys, so it is with the staff, many of whom have a Nerf gun of some description within easy reach at any given time.

It should be said at this point that I am not comparing the Rector with Bad Guys of any kind, and any inferences drawn by the reader in this direction should be promptly repented of.

But on any given day there is no telling just when intra-office hostilities might commence.

Just the other day, I was fixing one of DL’s projectors on a nearby desk, when I was, without any warning, shot three times at close range. The Rector, discussing matters of great theological importance (perhaps grace and forgiveness) nearby, witnessed this unprovoked attack, and straightaway authorised me to plunder his arsenal to take revenge.

Within seconds a reasonably significant skirmish had commenced, sending the Rector’s Administrator scuttling into the Executive Director’s office for cover.

Meanwhile the Finance Director clutched her tin hat tightly to her head, and heroically carried on crunching numbers on her Fat Club spreadsheet. The FD has recently coerced the rest of the office (or most thereof) into joining her on a health kick, and a weekly weigh-in.

In the interests of getting a benchmark of current levels of overweightedness, and targets to work towards, the Executive Director and I punched some numbers into the online BMI calculator kindly supplied by the NHS and almost sent it into meltdown, with the result literally off the chart at the ‘overweight’ end.

It was then that I realised I had put in the ED’s vital statistics along with a mistyped age of “5”, and much hilarity ensued at the mental image of a five-year-old with the body of a retired hooker. (It’s probably wise to explain for the rugby-uninitiated that ‘hooker’ is a position in a rugby team. This is the kind of hooker-ing that our ED has retired from, not anything else you may have been thinking. Tsk.)

The implications of this (almost) office-wide enthusiasm for healthy living have been profound, with the office’s regular supply of cakes (of which the FD was a regular and frequent provider) having dwindled into near-nothingness. Instead, a fruit bowl has appeared on a shelf previously considered sacred. Conversations have been had about the relative health merits of various types of nuts. (Cashews, it seems, somewhat inevitably given their tastiness, aren’t all that good for you.) Empire Biscuits have become a Friday-only treat. And DL has been advocating all manner of wild physical exercise.

A few days ago, he bravely wandered, unarmed, over to my desk. After reaching reflexively for my Elite Strike Jolt EX-1 Blaster, I chose instead to extend an olive branch and hear what he had to say.

Naturally he had a raft of new extreme press-up techniques to impress me with, including the “Diamond”, the “Crucifix”, and the “Superman”. He even dropped his waistcoat-splittingly muscular torso to the floor and demonstrated the Superman, which involved him flinging his arms forwards at the apex of the press-up, and back again in time to prevent him losing his teeth. I was impressed. I wasn’t sure how to confess that my own press-ups have been restricted to the “Common-or-Garden” variety, and not that many of them either.

But who needs press-ups when one is playing an athletic activity such as cricket in Scotland’s East League Division 6? After a comfortable win and early finish on Saturday, a number of the team sat outside in the sunshine and celebrated a mediocre season by working our way through the considerable left-overs from tea. Having assiduously monitored my diet through the week, cutting out all manner of tasty treats, I undermined my own efforts by piling into doughnuts and french fancies, and two Cokes. Plus a Coke Zero, but that doesn’t count. A lot of laughter was had, especially at the expense of everyone’s favourite Indian “bowler who bats a bit”, who still hasn’t told his mother-in-law that he married her daughter several years ago.

Sunday followed Saturday, as it is wont to do, and a late night pizza followed the doughnuts and french fancies. Given the nutritionally-suspect weekend choices, I held little hope of good news on the scales on Monday, but as it turned out still managed to register a slight weight loss.

Hurrah! Time for a celebratory carrot stick.