Dave Ansell, a finance worker from Leeds spoke today of his disappointment that advice from his grandmother which he has adhered to for the last 20 years to keep friends close but enemies closer has only served to bring him misery and suffering.
Dave first made the decision when he was at school and decided to befriend the local bully ‘Big Johnny Carter’ who was surprised when the kid he had been beating up and stealing lunch money from asked him if he fancied a game of football and invited him round to dinner. Eventually they became good friends despite Johnny constantly stealing from his house, making sexual remarks about his mother and giving his dad a broken nose. Five years later he took the rap for an assault Johnny had committed and found himself locked up for six months in a young offender’s institution only to be released to find Johnny engaged to Dave’s childhood sweetheart.
In Dave Ansell’s working life the same story unfolded, he became drinking buddies with the people he despised the most, the office letch, the power hungry manager, the jobsworth, all labels he found himself adopting by association. He was shunned by his peers and constantly passed over for promotion, people would whisper to each other as he walked by and silently he dreaded the Friday evening after work drinks where he was forced to listen to the most ignorant and naïve chatter, nodding in agreement to keep in with his gang of pariahs excusing himself every now and again to go to the toilet and cry in the cubicle.
Dave’s once close friend Stephen Bath who now refuses to talk to him says he warned him many times of embracing the people who had wronged him but Dave seemed determined to carry on. He reminisced ‘I remember we were planning a lads’ holiday together but had a big argument when Dave invited the burglar who had broken into his house and defecated on the carpet, that soured things between us. We eventually patched things up and I was very happy when he met his then fiancé but unfortunately before the wedding he asked her violent, alcoholic ex-husband to be his best man, the wedding was called off and that was the last I saw of him.’
Dave finally conceded that perhaps he shouldn’t have taken the advice so literally but was steadfast in his belief that his grandmothers other words of wisdom ‘always carry an umbrella’ were invaluable over the years.