If my Daoist ritual joke-book (example here) inexplicably fails to soar into the charts (other reviews here), hastening rather than subsidizing my retirement, I have a cunning backup plan—inspired by both Myles and Hašek’s The animal world.
At the entrance to the escalators on the London tube, one often finds a sign that may bemuse travellers, particularly hapless tourists:
Dogs must be carried on this escalator.
This has already been unpacked by generations of drôle pedants before me. The grammar of the sign is nicely explained here:
- All dogs should have a chance to go on this wonderful escalator ride
- This escalator is for dog-holders only
- You can’t carry your pet on the other escalators
- When riding with a pet, carry it.
None other than Terry Eagleton drew attention to this in his Literary theory: an introduction, along with classics like
Refuse to be put in this basket.
So here’s my solution (©Stephen Jones 2017), a boon both to passengers and to my own modest bank-balance:
I am designing two booths, one at both ends of the escalator, where you can hire a dog of your choice (selection of breeds available to suit all moods) for the brief duration of the ride, in either direction, returning it as soon as you step off. At off-peak hours I can maintain a skeleton dog-team [fine use of hyphen—Ed.], with an elaborate Heath-Robinson-esque system of pulleys to whisk an animal speedily to whichever end the needy traveller awaits..
The cost of feeding and training the dogs will be slight compared to the handsome profits to be made from stranded passengers, and should keep me in Bombay Sapphire for years.