Tuesday, 24 May 2011

In which I work pretty hard to preserve my public image.

To be printed 26/05/11.

It's a Hobson's Choice, this super-injunction lark. Or Sophie's, depending on your mental back catalogue.

Thus far, what have we learned? We've learned: adultery = bad. Lying about adultery = really bad. Covering up adultery to save face under guise of protecting family = a whole heap of bad. But gossip-fuelled tabloids = also bad. And society feeding on misdeeds of people we've never met = a crock of bad. And freedom of speech via social media = (can be) a big ol' puddle of bad.

But never mind the fact that my lifelong crush on a certain footballer has been dashed under the weight of all this badness (I had a poster of a topless he-who-shall-not-be-named on my bedroom wall as a nine year old. My Dad thought it was inappropriate. In hindsight, it was) or that we'll never be able to look at Jemima Khan's lovely face without seeing an erroneous, gurning Clarkson. No, the reason it stings so much is because, being mere mortals without a special legal fund tucked away in the toilet tank,  we're left out of all the fun.

So in between gorging myself silly on the Daily Mail's Right-Hand Column of Doom, I've spent the last couple of days imagining what it would be like if normal people could have a go at super-injunctioning.

In reality, of course, it would be a gigantic, Owellian, humanity-defying mess. But in my head, it's actually a darned tempting idea. Rather than bought with the tainted riches of over-amorous footballers and politicians (I'm genuinely surprised nobody has yet tried to use 'I misloved' as a defence), we could give super-injunctions as special rewards to the deserving, like house points, to mop up any inoffensive but mildly embarrassing messiness in their past.

For a start, I'd have taken out more than a handful of super-injunctions against my friends. With a nifty little legal procedure I could have covered the tracks of high school humiliation that would be dished up in front of boyfriends, colleagues and family for years to come. I'd have super-injunctioned the time I swore that Tory was short for the Conservatory Party. I'd totally have gagged the time I ate a half-finished piece of cheesecake that I found abandoned on a ferry. I could wipe out everything I wore between 2002 and 2007 with a blanket photo ban.

I'd virtually erase the time I fell over on stage while playing the Angel Gabriel, aged 15. And I'd definitely have super-injunctioned myself for the time I texted "Don't tell anyone because I swore I'd keep it a secret, but Perpetua is pregnant", then accidentally sent it to Perpetua*. You get the idea.

Serious pondering and a quick straw poll of my most humiliating misdemeanours on Facebook has led me to compile the following list of deeds I'd super-injunction the hell out of. 

In no particular order: the time I ate an entire Tesco family trifle in one sitting; the time I lost a shoe under a train at West Worthing station and ended up on the train, school-bound and shoeless; the time I was sent home to change on the first day of my restaurant receptionist job because my dress was unsuitable; the time I thought I could see England from the top of the Eiffel Tower; the time I ate a fingerful of orange scum from the edge of a saucepan believing it was butternut squash; the time I was taken to A&E in the midst of an anxiety attack but still refused to wear flat shoes; the time I asked if Australians call summer 'winter' and vice versa; and the time I ate a piece of half-eaten cheesecake someone had abandoned in a bar. 

That's a different piece of cheesecake from the ferry cheesecake, by the way. One life, two abandoned cheesecakes devoured.

Of course, if my own bountiful list of gaffs is anything to go by, there's a danger it would turn into the sectioning scene in Peep Show - "If you super-injunction me, then so help me GOD I'll super-injunction you back!" etc. But at least nobody influential would ever have to hear about the time I was voted off the Weakest Link for not being able to subtract 26 from 33.

That really happened. Don't tell the tabloids, will you? 

*Names have been changed for entertainment purposes.

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