How to be a Model Citizen

Model citizens forward mail to the previous occupants of their house for seventeen years after they’ve moved. They do their income tax return on the afternoon of the 5th April to catch the first post on the 6th. And they fill it in with black ink and clear capitals. They also declare income found down the back of the sofa.

Model citizens don’t drop rubbish. They actually pick up rubbish and put it into bins. If there are no bins they will take eight crushed beer cans home in their handbag, despite the risk of being identified as a closet alcoholic. Model citizens volunteer for things. They are on the board of Governors of the local school even when they don’t have children. They shake charity tins for twelve straight hours which is the exercise equivalent of clean and jerking three tons.

Model citizens can't see a policeman without putting the kettle on. In the Neighbourhood Watch, model citizens catalogue every movement of everything so that crimes can be re-enacted in more detail than they were actually committed. Model citizens keep off grass of all descriptions. The idea of them walking across a restricted municipal lawn is as unlikely as them lighting a seven inch spliff in Waitrose.

In municipal swimming baths model citizens don't run, canoodle, bomb or leave plasters on the side of the pool. They also have a shower before entering the baths. They swim in lanes even if there aren't any. They also keep a weather eye out for children suffering from negative buoyancy.

When travelling by train, model citizens have their ticket ready for inspection at all times. They also like to lightly eavesdrop in case they can be of any assistance with timetable enquiries. On alighting from the train, the model citizen will have remembered, checked and counted all his belongings and taken them with him. He will also close as many train doors as need closing to expedite the train’s departure. It’s perhaps fortunate that model citizens don’t generally carry a whistle, otherwise they’d be sending the train on its way.

The airborne model citizen will keep his seatbelt loosely fastened even when he's moving up and down the aisle. He'll also know the exact location of all emergency exits bearing in mind that the nearest exit might be behind him. In the unlikely event of a landing on water, the model citizen will be the only one removing their high heeled shoes before using the slide.

Model Citizens obey the letter of the Highway Code although this is often because they drive cars mechanically unable to break the Highway Code. On a bicycle the model citizen does arm signals with his arms perpendicular to the road even if it means having to punch a hole in the side of a passing lorry. They also know how to signal right with their left hand. Sadly this is recognised by only 0.1% of the population and regarded as a grave insult by the other 99.9%

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