So, we’ve been planning a Day of John. John = Terry’s brother, he of kidney donation fame. The day? His birthday – or the day before it, to be exact.

You see, John has the misfortune of having been born on Christmas Eve. In addition to meaning that he gets less presents than other people, it also means that no one is ever available to celebrate with him on the day itself, everyone being far too busy wrapping up the Christmas presents they panic-bought just hours before, and putting out milk and a cookie for Santa. Oh wait, that’s just me, isn’t it? Damn.

Last year was a particularly un-birthday-like birthday for John. For one thing, it was his 30th. For another, he had only just been released from hospital, and was still drugged up to the eyeballs. For a third, he spent most of that day traveling to and from said hospital to visit Terry, who was still incarcerated, and who, as it turned out, wasn’t released until Christmas morning. So, all in all, probably not the best birthday John’s ever had.

To make up for all of this, we had a plan, a cunning plan, hatched by John’s girlfriend, Jolene, and tenderly nursed along by Terry, who’d kind of like his brother to have a birthday that doesn’t involve ripping a kidney out of his body and then drugging him. (edited to add: they actually drugged him before taking the kidney out, too. Just thought I’d make that clear.) I mean, it’s the least we can do, really. The plan? We would have a Day of John. This year, December would be magical again! (Also: expensive! But worth it!) What we’d do, we decided, was pick John up on the morning of his birthday. "Get you coat, John – you’ve pulled we’re taking you out," we’d say, before bundling him into the car and driving him to Edinburgh, where he and Jolene would take a helicopter tour of the city and the Forth, before returning to the ground. Terry and I would then join them for food, and also: alcohol.

Well, that was the plan, and indeed, still is the plan. The reason I’m able to write about it here, though, without fear of John reading this and the surprise being ruined? Well, the surprise has already been ruined. By the stupid helicopter company who, despite being told that it was all a huge surprise, and that they must not, under any circumstances, communicate The Plan to John in any way at all, went right ahead and did just that. Yes, they interpreted "Please don’t tell John about this," as "Please tell John all about this, by sending a boarding card to his home, addressed to him, with the full details of The Day of John with it." Gah. You just can’t get the staff, can you?

We will still have our Day of John, of course. It’s just that… John knows. Gah.

  1. Gah indeed. The word 'compensation' sprang immediately to mind, mind you. You ought to have a word with them. Not necessarily to save money – more from the POV of "Well, you've ruined the surprise, and are therefore EVIL. Would you like to be NOT EVIL? Then – whatcha offering? Can you add a little surprise to the package, a bit of goodwill perhaps, to make the day that bit more special for John?" That sort of thing. Get Terry to do it… ;+)

    Oh, and Toni – I don't know. I think Amber Miaoulis, while clearly ETERNALLY haunting Amber when she's phoning ANYONE and having to give her name ("Miaoulis. Mi-a-oo-lis. that's M I A – ah, fergeddit."), does have a pretty unique and exotic sound to it.

  2. Haha – Toni, you should hear the variations we get on it from telemarketers and the like! Most stumble halfway through it and then just give up. It's handy, though, because they'll call and say, "Is Mr Myooolas there?" and I'll be able to just say, "Nope, sorry, no one of that name here!" and hang up. That said, no, I'm not going to be adopting it: not because I don't like the name, because I do – just because I've had too long to get used to my own name. And also: I am lazy.

    Stephen – yes, I definitely think we should complain at the very least. I mean, it wouldn't be so bad if they hadn't been specifically told *not* to send anything to John because it was a surprise. Idiots..

  3. It's funny, because my maiden name was Stokes, and people had such trouble with it (Stalks, Storkes, Stookes) that when I got married, I thought, aha! Brilliant! New surname is Kelly – people can't get THAT mixed up!

    But they do. Calley, Celly, Killy… seriously. Killy.

    I think you're wise to keep McNaught. I wish I hadn't bothered changing mine now!

  4. Oh no….how gutting for you all. They deserve a right dressing down (as my dad would say 😉 ) for that. Seriously, though, what on earth whey the thinking? I'd kick up a fuss, see if you can't get it at a discount, or some such PR gesture as a means of recompense for their almighty foul-up.

    I'm sure the day will be just as appreciated though Amber, surprise, or no surprise.

    Jen xx

  5. I work with a guy called David – I'm honestly astounded at the number of people who call up looking to speak to 'Derek'. It's really weird. I mean, yeah, they begin with a 'D', but other than that…!

    He even gets referred to as 'Derek' in emails ocassionally. Bizarre.

  6. Yeah, the email thing is particularly weird. I often get called "Sandra" or "Amanda" on the phone, which I can *sort of* understand, but it's when I email someone and they reply to my email (complete with my name in the header and signature) and call me "Amanda" that I assume they're on crack again…

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