Billy Connolly does a great skit of one of the staples of late-night 1980s Scottish TV – two earnest men in suits delivering a homily about the Gospel. “Did Jesus play for Tottenham Hotspur, Daddy?”
I was riding back from the Toy Run on Saturday and I thought of a fantastic version of this for hustling sidecar rigs.
Luckily for you, I have forgotten what it was.
So I’m going to talk about the coronavirus instead.
The Government has failed at quite a lot of things recently but one thing they’ve been really, really good at is getting us all to judge each other. Are your neighbours standing in the garden with more than 6 people? Report them on this handy police website. Have your in-laws asked to visit on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day? Drag them to the village pond and strap them to the ducking stool. Did your First Minister forget to put her mask back on when she stood up after a meal at a pub? Stick her on the front page of The Sun.
Yes, there’s an argument that people in positions of authority need to set an example. And perhaps not drive to Barnard Castle to test their eyesight. But the rest of us are just doing our best to comply with the ever-changing kaleidoscope of rules, Tiers, guidance and laws while trying to hold on to whatever gives our lives meaning.
I’m sure some people will have seen the bikes go by on the Toy Run and tutted that it was against the current regulations. We don’t think it was, as there are exceptions to the Rule of 6 for gatherings organised by a charity. We all wore our masks and did our best to maintain social distance at the sign-on point. And you’re obviously social distancing when you’re riding a bike!
The event raised more than £4000 and will support children in local authority care and children living in a local domestic violence refuge.
Maybe I’m guilty of arguing that the end justifies the means. But what’s the big picture here? The goal of all the restrictions we’re now living under is to limit the opportunities to pass on the virus, and as grown-ups we can make a decision about whether our actions achieve this.
Just like when we ride, our goal is to enjoy ourselves and not die.
I achieve this by strapping a sidecar to my bike to limit my opportunities to fall over. Others by taking to the track and riding in circles very very quickly. I don’t judge them for not motorcycling right. I hope they don’t judge me.
So what’s the true meaning of Christmas?
This year it’s “wind your neck in.”
Or, as Jesus put it, (though presumably a few years after being wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger) “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you. God will judge you in the same way you judge others.”
Did Jesus ride sidecars? Well, you know, in a funny way, he did.
(Photo by Kingy Tony)