The uniting force in our household this autumn has been The X Factor, the programme where all the lunatics are let out of the asylum for the day to queue up for the privilege of being criticised by people who earn too much money.
The kids and I love it because it represents modern Britain; the Lawyer loves it because, after a hard week’s work, he enjoys seeing other people humiliated for a change.
He’s feeling greatly unloved by the firm at the moment, as work seems to consist of queuing up and being criticised by people earning far too much, none of them as good-looking as Sharon Osbourne (or even Simon Cowell when it comes down to it), and it was with a long face that he donned his dinner jacket at the weekend for the annual Northshire Legal Awards. (Naturally, spouses aren’t invited.)
“They can’t even say thank you when I earn millions for them,” he said, as he tightened the bow tie. “They don’t want me to join their club. Why would they put me forward for an award?”
Needless to say, entry regulations to the Northshire Legal Awards rival choosing a new pope in their complexity and secrecy. We reckon the board members put it last on a very long agenda and then throw darts at the telephone list.
Each year I have to listen to the Lawyer moaning on about the fact that he never wins awards, until I shout that pure motherhood has yet to be recognised in any honours list and he promises to take me away for the weekend as a pat on the head for ensuring the children’s crises don’t impinge too much on his professional life. (This week: major mutiny by Subjudice over further upgrades to phone; incineration of homework bag by Deminimus in rogue science experiment; theft of school hamster by Liability and denial of same hiding in her room, despite evidence of hamster poo all over her counterpane.)
Actually, one of The X Factor contestants recently got all misty eyed and told Sharon Osbourne she was an example to all mothers, which is interesting, as two of her children have been in rehab, but it just goes to show that awards are not results-based. God knows, it would be best not to judge my efforts by my children, but by the amount of pain it’s cost me to raise them.
“Oh, but Dad, surely there’s an award for nicest lawyer,” said Subjudice, smarmily.
“No you can’t get video messaging – and clear off,” said her father.
“I bet there’s one for grumpiest lawyer,” I said.
Which set us off thinking. In a real awards ceremony you’d have the Double Hours prize for the most sneaky charging; the Clueless Award for the nice one who rises to the top without really understanding how to do the job; and joint winners for the Don’t Look Now category, which encourages adultery within the office, or outside it, most often in the café down the road.
The Lawyer’s sulk over the Northshire bash turned out to be completely unjustified, however. Of course, he didn’t win a prize (his branch of law is so obscure they couldn’t find anyone to judge an award, even if it existed), but he did win weekend away at a hotel, so that’s my annual treat sorted for free, and the managing partner came over to sit at his table. “Good year you’ve had, old chap,” he said. “Perhaps we should be getting to know you better?”
Could equity be beckoning at last?