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Home > Culture and Society

WAWIBF... Age Crimes

15 October 2006

On the first of October the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations came into force. And wouldn't you just know it, already people are using the new law as an excuse to squeeze all the remaining joy out of life. Obviously the law was introduced in order that the same stringent levels of regulated fairness be applied to age as they already are to gender and race. Legislation born of the hope then, that age discrimination, like sex discrimination and race discrimination, will become a thing of the past. No, really. And when the old are respected and cherished by all, they can have another pop at getting religious discrimination approved. And when that's done, there are an awful lot of people with big noses and spectacles out there whose working lives are made miserable by a lack of the proper statutes.

So what happened was this: an insurance brokers in Bournemouth called Alan and Thomas Ltd have prohibited the buying and group-signing of birthday cards. Their fear is basically that someone will write 'Happy birthday, dear Ted / You are the life and soul / But not for long - soon you'll be dead / Because you're fucking old' and Ted, having had some kind of midlife sense of humour bypass, will scream discrimination and Alan and Thomas Ltd will end up having to shell out for some useless old codger they should have got rid of ages ago.

Boss of this pointless ball-less joyless little company, Mr Julian Boughton, explained that birthday cards would now be purchased by management and signed by the company directors. 'Many Happy Returns, Employee' they will say. And the pleasure they will be measurable only in negative terms. Boughton added: 'We certainly still encourage the practice of buying cakes!' Just not cakes with bananas in. In case it offends the people who choose to get offended on behalf of the blacks.

If there is a moral here, it may well be this: if you do happen to work for a company where having a sense of humour is prohibited, collect your stuff together right now, get up from your desk and leave, never to return. You may want to make a brief speech on your way to the door - something along the lines of 'I have just realised that life is about so much more than spending 40-plus hours a week in an environment that stifles and suffocates the most important parts of who I am.' You may want to bang something on a desk first to make sure you've got everyone's attention. Especially if you're old.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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