MODEL CITIZENS FORWARD mail to the previous occupants of their house for 17 years after they’ve moved. They complete their income tax return a full month before it’s due, 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 Trustees of the local school even when they don’t have children. They shake charity tins for 12 straight hours, which is the exercise equivalent of clean and jerking three tonnes.
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 council lawn is as unlikely as them lighting a seven-inch joint at a reggae festival.
In council swimming pools model citizens don’t run, canoodle, bomb or leave plasters on the side of the pool. They also have a shower before entering using the assigned stairs.
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. 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 Road Code, although this is often because they drive cars mechanically unable to break the Road 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 truck. 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%.
© GUY BROWNING IS AUTHOR OF ‘NEVER PUSH WHEN IT SAYS PULL’ AND CREATOR OF ‘TORTOISE IN LOVE’ (DVD) – USED BY PERMISSION.