An Introduction by Donald Bullock...........

It's nice to meet you again!
Odd, reading an article one wrote twenty years ago. I remember the characters, of course - they are burned into my soul - but not the words I apparently penned, so reading them came as fresh to me as to any other reader.
Like every other fellah in the trade, I had lots of excellent people as customers, and many became lasting friends. If fact, at times, when a few chanced in together, my workshop resembled a club. But it was a club with rules. Prats, oddballs and Insurance Men got short shrift. I remember the time that a Mr. Christian - who, co-incidentally was a religious fanatic - called in at the same time as a Mr. Crasper.
Crasper nursed the conviction that everyone he met was out to twist him, and he behaved accordingly, stopping and screwing his face about at every word he heard. The two exchanged Good-Afternoons and fell into conversation. It wasn't long before Christian started his evangelism. Boy, was he on a loser! Crasper sought to shut him up by asking him, every time he found a slot - "Why are we here?"
"We Christians love everybody!" insisted Christian. "Yes, but why are we here!" retorted Crasper. I stood back and enjoyed the show, and on it went. Then I noticed that Christian was beginning to get steamed up.
"Don't keep bloody-well asking me why we're here!" he screamed. "I'm telling you - we're here to love our fellow men!"
"Well, I certainly don't love you, you prat!" shouted Crasper.
"Get out of here before I ram my fist down your throat!" screamed Christian.
"Gentlemen!" I cried...

A final word. I see that in the column's opening paragraphs I am bemoaning yet another birthday. You should have heard me last Monday! Another birthday crept up and smacked me, and after summoning the boys, pulling their shoes off, and mine as well, I was able to do the sums that told me the how many-eth.
The good news is that I can still count. The not-so-easy-to-bear news is that the birthday was my seventy-seventh. Oh well, it could be worse.....

Donald Bullock - September 2009
(C) 2009