As I was born with a charitable nature, all my life I have sought to help those in need. I unselfishly give away the many unwanted gifts I receive each year to local charity shops to help increase their revenue. I have donated my time to teach underprivileged children to read, offering up copies of my own books to them at an extremely generously reduced cost. I have traveled to faraway countries to help literally build new communities, and I can tell you there is nothing more rewarding than being present while someone christens a new sewer system. I buy a new poppy every single year, and I have no qualms about telling other shoppers in the queue at Sainsbury’s to shut the hell up if we happen to be waiting together at eleven on Remembrance Day. I do these things not so I can then brag about them during lectures to the WI or on this very website. I do them because frankly that is just my nature: there’s no two ways about it, I am a good person.
Alas, we good people are becoming few and far between these days. I don’t want to seem overly moralistic here, because I am aware that good people sometimes do bad things and that being bad once doesn’t necessarily make one a bad person. I do not believe in unfairly judging people.
At the same time, though, people seem to be up to some real evil-doing these days. I’m dismayed by the crimes of all natures which I read about in the papers and the stupid choices politicians around the world seem to be making. Even in my own village, I witness my neighbour leaving his dog in his back garden all night, despite the cold and horrendous noises the creature makes and let’s not forget about the dressmaker who not only delayed the delivery of a dress by six days but when said dress was delivered, it clearly fell three inches below the owner’s knee as opposed to the two inches that had been requested.
It used to be that those of us who were good were the norm; the bad people were a minority group easily identified by that evil little glint in their eye (and their tendency to drink publicly from bottles in paper bags). Those simple times are no more. Therefore, I have devised a quick test to determine where each of us stands.
Firstly, readers, I ask that you yourselves complete this straight forward assessment; you never know, you might actually be a bad person who is just so good at being bad that you have in fact fooled even yourself. You may then want to pass this out to those you come into contact with (especially those with whom you do financial or sexual trade). It is a simple way to separate the wheat from the chaff.
1. If you were angry with the woman who lived next door to you, would you:
a. Beat her with a shovel and bury her behind the shed before you went through her home, snatching anything that looked like it might be of value on the black market.
b. Complain about her loudly to both the postman and the woman who lives across the lane.
c. Paint a rude symbol on the pavement in front of her house.
d. Think to yourself, seeing as how she is an internationally famous writer and the highlight of your life is watching Countdown each day, perhaps she was right about it being your responsibility to maintain the creosote on the fence.
2. If you worked at a bank and a woman came in wanting to exchange her collection of two pound coins for newer, shinier two pound coins, would you:
a. Throw the bag of coins in her face, bruising her delicately rouged cheeks.
b. Point out to her that it is midday and the bank is very full of customers whose needs are apparently more important than hers.
c. Close your window.
d. Meet her request because it is nice to see someone who appreciates the aesthetic as well as monetary value of Her Royal Majesty’s mint.
3. If you lived in a small village and had a son or daughter under the age of sixteen, would you:
a. Feel comfortable allowing your child to enter the local shop without your own personal supervision.
b. Grant your child the privilege of riding a scooter, skateboard or public transport through the village.
c. Permit your child to call any adult by their Christian name.
d. Teach the kid to mind their manners and keep the hell away from my hydrangea.
Clearly, if you answered anything other than d, you are a bad person. The facts speak for themselves. Do some soul-searching and if you can’t manage to be rehabilitated and come over to the good side, please book into a prison immediately and get yourself the help you need.