Thursday, December 06, 2007

I want to fly and run 'til it hurts

The fascinating story of so-called canoeist John Darwin's disappearance and reappearance has been literally unfolding before our eyes this week. Provided you've read about it in a broadsheet newspaper, that is: if you read about it in a tabloid, no unfolding will have been necessary and, although you may consider this to have been far more convenient, I can assure you you've missed out on a great deal of unfolding fun. The story carries a whole extra dimension of hilarity (as opposed to an unwhole extra dimension of hilarity) for me because the Darwins' plot was seemingly conjured and initially executed in Seaton Carew, a matter of miles from Middlesbrough. Seaton Carew and Panama could not be more different. I'm referring, of course, to the fact Panama serves as a secretive tax haven for wealthy foreigners to obsess about preserving their personal fortunes with no regard whatsoever for the greater good, whereas Seaton Carew is a noted Marxist commune. Other than that, they're identical. For a start, Panama City is also by the sea and I'd imagine this will have helped the couple settle.

The public are reacting to the story with a combination of awe and disgust. I say: 'Fair play'. Have we not all considered faking our own deaths at some point or other? Just downing tools on the spot and disappearing from view without anyone's knowledge can be an immensely attractive notion. When life becomes too much to deal with - a spring breaks in your mattress, batteries cease operation in the TV remote control, or you arrive at an escalator and find it's been turned off - we've all thought about it. I have no problem with the odd faked death if that's what somebody deems a sensible thing to do. Most people fake their lives on a daily basis anyway, so why should a faked death be deserving of any more moral outrage? When it comes to people choosing between faking life or faking death, I'm not in a position to pass judgement.

I've been thinking a lot about how I'll fake my death when the time comes. I can't see me taking the John Darwin, 57, of Panama, route of bashing up an old canoe and arranging for it to wash up on a beach. I'm not one for extreme sports, so a canoe-induced death just wouldn't be feasible. I would imagine I'll go for something far more mundane, so as my fake expiration might retain a shred of legitimacy. Perhaps I'll be making a round of tea for the family but disappear from the kitchen in the process, leaving behind three cups with milk in and two with none, plus a careless damp, sugar-coated spoon sitting on the worktop. My family would know I'd never abandon tea-making duties and leave matters in such a mess without there being some set of genuinely tragic circumstances. Not without licking the spoon first. 'Making tea, presumed dead' - living it up in Stockholm. That's where you'll find me.

4 Comments:

Blogger D.B. said...

It's an extraordinary case. The latest hilarious details are in yesterday's Gazette. I love this:

THE wife of canoeist John Darwin has sensationally revealed he was living in their family home for three years after he was declared dead.

Anne Darwin, who is expected back in Britain soon, says her husband hid in another part of the couple’s Seaton Carew house when their two sons visited as he was adamant they should not know the truth.

She said he even brazenly walked along the beach near their home, disguised with a woolly hat, a walking stick and fake limp.


What a brilliant ploy.

December 09, 2007 10:03 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

It was definitely a brilliant ploy. And yet on Have I Got News For You last week Charlie Brooker and Paul Merton said they felt sorry for Darwin because it was all such a rubbish plan. This is bizarre, because I'd say it was quite a successful plan considering he managed to dupe everyone for five years, spending much of it in the same house, let alone the same town. I wish I'd done it, and the whole thing was genius. Except the bit where he decided to flies back to Brtiain, hands himself in to police, everything comes out, and goes to jail. That bit of the plan could perhaps have been fine-tuned slightly.

December 10, 2007 9:21 pm  
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