I WOULD struggle in a pub or court of law to describe what I do as work. My work-life balance is about 50:50 and, frankly, it’s the life bit that I dislike.

If I were inebriated at the time of writing – and, despite all seeming evidence to the contrary, I never am – I might even admit to enjoying my “job” though, on sober reflection, I think that’s going too far.

Still, I might well have told my careers officer at school: “I’d like to work in a twilight area somewhere between light entertainment and stern moral instruction. I want to amuse myself, if nobody else, by moaning about life generally and hectoring the masses about their shortcomings.”

Careers officer: “It’s a life in the church for you, my boy.”

Young Robert: “But I don’t like God. He’s awful.”

Careers officer: “Wash your mouth out, boy. And must you smoke that cigar in here? Anyway, a similar line of work would be newspapers. Everyone’ll hate you, and you’ll end up in a gutter drinking hard liquor. But you’ll get your name in the paper and maybe even your photie.”

It’s that last bit I dislike most. Not just the photie but being in the paper at all. I’ve tried suggesting to the authorities here that I could just send stuff in, they read it and pay me some money, without the hassle of printing it (reader’s voice: “Great idea!”). But they wouldn’t wear it. And, oh, the language!

All of which massive preamble is a way of avoiding my main point, which concerns the revelation that people in proper jobs are “quietly quitting”.

That’s to say they’re doing the bare minimum as they think their work pointless. News reports even mentioned Reggie Perrin, the sitcom character driven demented by his job in sales at Sunshine Desserts.

This isn’t a one-off, though. “Quiet quitting” is happening on a massive scale, with 91% of Britonians supposedly having no enthusiasm for their work. That’s an extraordinary figure.

Perhaps newly empowered trade unions might take up the case, with picket lines formed by folk demanding more interesting employment, and Socialist Worker placards proclaiming: “What is the point?” and “We want fun!”

One outraged manager wrote to a right-wing paper saying that, on challenging a younger worker about his performance, he was told: “Minimum wage, minimum effort.”

Crivvens. Revolutionary stuff. Apparently, this recalcitrance is being encouraged on social media, and has its origins in the pandemic when people started questioning their lives.

Ultimately, yon Truss will crush it, and we’ll see soldiers and tanks at many workplaces. Till then, my advice is: never question anything, readers. It only leads to trouble. I tried it once, but found moaning and hectoring more fulfilling.

Gullible me?

I’M ambivalent about gulls. I understand the outrage at their increasing depredations, particularly stealing people’s chips, which is deplorable.

Once, too, I was repeatedly attacked out of the blue by a gull when minding my own business in the garden of the remote house where I then lived. Indeed, on my local paper, they nested on the newsroom roof, making a helluva racket, and should have been removed by proper hat-wearing officials from the cooncil.

Also, I’m aware there are different kinds of gulls. I’ve seen black-backed gulls, I think (massive things at any rate), eating puffins and baby rabbits. Along with killer whales, all birds of prey, great skuas (“bonxies”) and the larger feline species, I believe – like most people – that these gulls should be exterminated in their entirety, apart from a few zoo specimens kept for our entertainment and horror.

But I’m not sure your normal run of the mill gulls should all be tarred with the same brush. Perhaps, as with humans, some are brutes and some decent.

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that, some years ago in a small Fife town famous for fish and chips, I fed a gull that sat patiently on a wall by the car. It was not aggressive. It tried not to stare. It seemed to me a polite fellow, so I didn’t mind sparing it a chip or piece of batter. I had plenty.

Again, when in Leith recently, there were two huge fish and chip shops down by the harbour, with people eating outside. The gulls just sat placidly nearby in the water and didn’t come near.

In a sense, I couldn’t understand this. If you were starving and taunted by the smell of fish suppers, you’d tear the heads off kittens and babies to get at them. But these gulls just minded their own business. Perhaps they’d had a surfeit of fish earlier, but I doubt it.

Are there gulls and gulls? Is it a matter of upbringing? Cultural conditioning? Are Leith gulls, like Leith humans, just generally nicer than the norm? Am I just being gullible?

That there is a problem I do not doubt. But perhaps we should be looking for more imaginative solutions. Instead of deploying drones, could we not train gulls to carry packages? Perhaps folk could keep gulls as pets, instead of budgies, feeding them chips and not letting them out the house. The possibilities aren’t endless.

French folk sizzle over fakin’ bacon

French butchers have called for a ban on vegan bacon, with makers of the latter saying it’s because their product is realistic. Seems unlikely. I like the idea of these things, but they all taste rubbery. Oddly enough, unless it’s my imagination, actual bacon doesn’t taste or smell as good as it used to either.

Rash of taches

This column has campaigned forcefully about baldness (against) and beards (for). Now our attention has been drawn to the return of the moustache, following the example of some Commonwealth attitudes. Make no mistake: the moustache is unnatural. It’s simply part of a beard. You’d be as well having one eyebrow.

Pharaoh enough

Spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller owns Lamb island in yon Firth of Forth. I don’t remember receiving a memo about that. Seems he’s had it for 13 years. Part of the attraction is that, according to leading loonies, Lamb and two adjacent islands mirror the pyramids of Giza. Doubt it. But I could be in da Nile.

On the pull

Pain-wracked patients are pulling out their own teeth as the madness afflicting dentistry continues. Scandalous in the 21st century. Perhaps we should hand the job over to barbers, as in the past, as long as they don’t confuse the two tasks, shampooing your gob and fitting dentures to your bob.

Alien pancakes

Aliens from ooter space asked a Wisconsin farmer for water to make pancakes, according to new book Alien Artifacts, by Sean Casteel & Tim R. Swartz. Joe Simonton was offered four of the comestibles, which he said tasted like “cardboard”. UFO expert Nigel Watson said Mr Simonton may have “misidentified a catering van”. It’s easily done.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.