THERE are certain jobs where the decisions made by their incumbents affect the everyday lives of millions.
Politicians, of course. Law lords. Police officers. Traffic wardens. Football referees. Whoever does the rota for the de-synchronising of Glasgow's traffic lights.
Chief among them, I've long thought - someone with more arbitrary power than should really be assigned to mere mortals - is the TV commissioning editor.
Take tonight, for example. On BBC2, we have the start of an eight-week run of the Great British Sewing Bee. If the first series is anything to go by, this will be a huge ratings hit as another batch of impossibly smug individuals show off their domestic skills to an admiring audience, in the mould of the Great British Bake Off.
But who gets to decide that sewing and baking should be televisual events, rather than say, ironing, or wallpapering? Who dictated that snooker and darts get to reach for the stars, but not dominoes or three-card brag? And, more to the point, can I have a shot?
I have in mind the Great British Domestic Olympics (I could see this getting a prime slot on Channel Five, or possibly Dave). I've long thought, for example, that folding a duvet into its cover should be a competitive sport. My wife can manage a double in under a minute. I've never accomplished the feat in less than an hour - in my bachelor days my record was a long weekend. The skill of the champions who can keep track of all four corners while simultaneously shoving and smoothing has to be seen to be believed. It's one of those tasks that should not even be attempted without either a psychiatric nurse or a bottle of whisky within close proximity. (I should have mentioned that there will be qualifying heats before the duvet-covering event, involving towel folding and pillowcase ironing.)
I'm thinking of incorporating a domestic pentathlon into my GBDO. This will involve the advanced pursuits of cobweb hunting (and spider despatching), which should appeal to the fox-hunting fraternity; the changing of bulbs in recessed lighting, for lovers of extreme sports like rock climbing; pickle jar opening, for those who like their trials of strength; dishwasher stacking, for those who like intricate, cerebral sports like snooker; and, straying into outdoor events, parallel parking, which will appeal to the smug and the sadist alike.
By the way, I'm presenting, not competing; there's no way on this earth I'd be winning any medals.
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