A doctor came to see me the other day here at work in south London, he needed some tech support and noticing my accent he asked me where I was from. I told him a little fishing port in Northern Ireland, a long long time ago.
I looked at him and immediately knew he was ex-army. When you grow up through ‘The Troubles’ you know instinctively who’s army/police and who’s not, it’s a survival instinct.
He said to me “I lost a few mates over there in 85, all at the same time”. And he looked at me and I looked at him and we both know what he’s talking about, I’ve heard this before and there’s very little you can say apart from “I’m so so sorry, it was a terrible terrible time..” and we shared the moment..
And he says to me, in a very sombre tone “aye, they were in an army truck…” and I know what’s coming next, a fucking massive roadside bomb, ..
“and a tree fell on them..”
“apparently the IRA planted it”
I burst out laughing, more out of relief, thinking thank Christ it’s that old joke!
He had me going there for a minute, SUCH an old joke! I just didn’t expect to hear it in a hospital in south London of all places, he well and truly caught me out. I wonder just how long he’d been waiting for that moment, 35 years?? I bet he punched the air when he left the office, bastard!