Before I begin my tale of near disaster and averted woe I should point out I am in no way saying I personally condone or encourage such devilish behaviour, I am merely reporting on the prevalence of such occurrences in a journalistic capacity.
The concept of returning home with an item or ‘trophy’, usually of comic value, from a night out seems to have worked its way into our drinking culture. Slithering into a student’s post-night out routine, between the customary greasy kebab stop and passing out fully clothed, returning with some sort of novelty item is a common and constant source of amusement for students across the country. It seems the more amusing the item the more successful one’s thieving exploits may be considered. Having carried out a few rather complicated calculations I have managed to draw up some solid rules to make sense of this dark and dangerous behaviour. There appears to be a positive correlation between IS (item size) and AV (amusement value). In addition the higher the IO (item obscurity) the higher one’s chances of gaining comedic recognition becomes, leaving us with the simple equation:
IS x IO2 = AV
Bearing this in mind the ultimate item to return home with after a night out would be huge and very weird, like a life size cut-out of Boris Johnson or an 8 foot tube of toothpaste. Saying this, the fruit of most people’s legless labouring tends to mainly consist of traffic cones and road signs. Although I have in my time seen a large cardboard bookcase (from the W H Smith bins), a collection of sizable beautifully framed paintings of Durham (from a skip) and a large bin bag brimming with an assortment of old buns (don’t even ask).
Now, to come to the cautionary portion of my tale. A friend of friend, let’s call him Steve 1 was returning home with his friend (also a friend of a friend), let’s call him Steve 2. As Steve 1 and Steve 2 wambled their way through Durham’s dark and cobbled streets, slick with spilt alcohol and rain, their minds swam with the hazy memories of their revelries. Picking their way unsteadily home past a well-known drinking establishment (which shall remain nameless) their roving eyes both came to rest on a sight too tantalising to resist in their quaddie induced stupor; two sizeable coniferous pot plants dancing mesmerizingly in the cold northern wind. Steve 1 turned to Steve 2 and with one look of maniacal intent conveyed all he needed to convey. Steve 2 grunted in amused agreement and the two Steve’s setting about lugging, with great difficulty and back pain, one of the unwieldy objects back to their halls. After much panting and profuse sweating they were able to triumphantly lower the large pot and its green inhabitant down onto the carpet outside of their college rooms.
Sitting slumped against the wall, still wheezing from their heavy and ungainly cargo, a self-satisfied smirk sat proudly on their sweaty faces. But as the excitement of the evening ebbed away, concurrent with their ever decreasing intoxication levels, the small monument to their previously hilarious endeavours began to sour in their minds. The reality of the situation began to sink in; A) It was not that funny (probably a 2/10 on the AV scale) and B) it was a felony. It wasn’t the Great Train Robbery, but it was still robbery. Steve 1 shot Steve 2 a look of panic mingled with remorse. A simple grunt of affirmation from Steve 2 and the two muppets began the arduous and solemn journey back to the scene of the crime, the plant cradled between the two of them and their tails firmly between their legs.
A week later, all thoughts of stolen shrubbery long since dismissed, Steve 1 and Steve 2 skipped hand in hand towards the very same bar from which they had pilfered their leafy companion. Having returned the plant successfully under the cover of dark it did not cross their minds to concern themselves with their actions of the previous week. However as the two merrily passed the bouncers and made their way towards the bar a firm hand planted itself on each of their shoulders. A cold shiver snaked its way down their backs, all thoughts of Jagerbombs and throwing breathtaking shapes on the D-floor evaporated from their minds. Turning around slowly, hearts thumping, they were greeted by the sight of serious looking man; a faint smile playing at the corners of his mouth and a bouncer looming imposingly over each shoulder.
To be continued…