But he sagely nodded acquiescence at the points being quite forcibly made by the Arithmetically-challenged Golfer, tacitly giving a nod to the Golfer’s self-promoted status as the expert on anything of a sporting nature – or for that matter of a non-sporting nature too.
The subject, predictably, was the outcome of the Currie Cup final at Durban’s King’s Park, a win for Western Province – a triumph set up by a stirring second half from a magnificent pack of forwards and slammed home by some enterprising backline play – over the Golfer’s favoured team, the Sharks.
The Fireman, to paraphrase the the words from the cinematic classic Gone with the Wind, quite honestly, couldn’t have given a damn; he had other fish to fry. But he listened patiently as the self-styled expert painstakingly went through his read of a game, which after all, the Fireman had just finished watching, trotting out cliches (interestingly, echoed by Sharks coach Robert du Preez) as “a game of two halves”, “a Province pack playing well above themselves”, and “Curwin Bosch not having the greatest day of his career against WP flyhalf Robert du Preez Jr, who can’t be his father’s favourite son right now”.
Throughout it all, the Fireman kept his cool, nodded sagely and refrained from mentioning the famous remark – in the characteristic fractured English of the great Boy Louw – who noted: “Looks at the scoreboard … there’s no remarks column by the scoreboard.”
In fact, that was as apt a summary of a result that the Arithmetically-challenged One had confidently predicted before the start – and restated at half-time even as an unconverted Dillyn Leyds try just after the break had put Province right back in it.
There was, in short, no let-up from the seamless diatribe until, at long last, the Arithmetically-challenged One, took what in tennis is termed a personal comfort break, and the smile which had started to become pasted glassily to the Fireman’s face, was allowed to relax. He turned to his greatest confidante, Dave the Silent, and began to explain a number of home truths.
“Firstly,” he said, relief evident in his voice, “I am fully aware that the Golfer is one of those braindead Sharks fans who never see any merit in the opposition and I’m equally aware of the 33-21 scoreline without being led step by step through the 80 minutes. “And though I admit to being no expert, I could also see how strong the Province pack was – and duly took note of Wilco Louw’s destructive strength in the front row.
“Secondly,” added the Fireman, a lifetime follower of West Ham and a committed Lions supporter, “there was something far more important on my mind than either Western Province or the Sharks. The Hammers play Crystal Palace today and I’m recording it to watch when I get home.”
For the record, West Ham only managed a 2-2 draw with the bottom side in the English Premier League, which edged them marginally out of the relegation zone. But he would have taken some solace the following day when Everton – another of the the Arithmetically-challenged One’s favourites – were beaten 2-0 by Leicester to take their spot in the league’s bottom three.