BVEP - Business Visits and Events Partnership

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Shift & Delete

By Simon Hughes, Vice Chair BVEP

God had to admit it – he was tired out. 2016 had been a really busy year and quite frankly he’d just about had enough.

He gazed at the funny little tablet device that Steve Jobs had given him earlier in the day. He was a quite fond of Steve, especially as he’d managed to get him to use the word apple so effectively. After all that fuss back in the Garden of Eden it was good to see how popular the familiar fruit had now become. But all this stuff about the cloud and harnessing the internet of everything left God quite exhausted. He had enough to worry about without being tempted by some new device that apparently could change his job. “Bring the keyboard up, select 2016 then simply press Shift & Delete” Steve had said. It sounded so simple and it was indeed a temptation. God was being tested.

It was that same old question – why in his name did he let things bumble along without taking a more pro-active role in shaping what was going on out there? The laissez-faire nature of the way he ran his world was constantly attracting snippy comments from newer members of the heavenly community. Take those two very clever women who’d written the review show for the Xmas office party – Aherne and Wood. Really, genuinely funny people but they’d pushed it a bit far sometimes at his expense. He’d thought at the time that Terry Wogan, who’d gamely stepped up to MC the event, had looked a bit embarrassed. Good man to have around, though his habit of interviewing his fellow residents had upset some of them. Gene Wilder was totally up for it, as was Muhammad Ali. But that Alan Rickman – he’s been quite rude about poor old Terry trying to chat to him.

Talking of rude, God looked across the heavenly clouds and winced once again at the new library that was taking shape near the Elysian Fields. He knew that Zaha Hadid was a very brilliant architect – but she was, well, quite prickly sometimes. The way she’d ganged up on him with that chap Bowie when they’d held a town hall meeting to discuss her design plans – he had been quite shocked. All things being equal though he was really happy with the 2016 intake on the music front. Off to his left he could just see Prince, Glenn Fry and Leonard Cohen strolling along with those lovely young lads from Viola Beach, heading for another jam in the rehearsal rooms. Heavenly music indeed.

Which was more than could be said for some of the flack he’d been getting from Umberto Eco and Harper Lee. He blamed George Weidenfeld for organising that reading club. Yet come to think of it they were pretty harmless when compared to the politicians. Boutros Boutros-Ghali had been up to his old tricks and got a whole bunch of them together to complain about the state of world affairs. Finding Cecil Parkinson and Jo Cox agreeing with each other had been a real eye-opener. Such charming people but really very angry with him about quite a lot of things. God started ticking them off in his mind again. Aleppo, Brexit, Clinton – it hadn’t been a great year really had it? By the time he got near the end of the alphabet he was feeling almost guilty. Which T should he choose – Terror or Trump? Perhaps they were the same thing. God sighed. A deep, sad sigh that was as heavy as his heart.
And there lying on his lap was this new fangled tablet, its little light blinking at him like a naughty devil giving him the wink. “Go on God,” it seemed to be saying, “You know you can do it – you are all powerful after all. Bring up the keyboard. Select 2016. Then press shift and delete. Easy. Gone. Done and never happened.” His finger hovered over the screen. He was being taunted by a temptation that was almost overwhelming. Then suddenly the screen sprang into life as a new mail arrived. It was from Amazon. His Christmas packages were en-route. Everything he’d ordered for his world would be with him soon.

He reached into his pocket, pulled out his list of presents and glanced over them once again. He could feel the deep despair that had gripped him only moments before draining away as he remembered the pleasure of giving people hope, peace, goodwill – but above all love. He leapt to his feet and flung the tablet far away from him. “Be gone temptation!” he roared, startling Frank Finlay who’d been having a quiet nap nearby. “As hard as it is, this is life. Time ticks on and takes its toll every year – but with the hope and love of the Christmas season that we share around the world, we will persevere!” And so it was – and it was good. Shift & Save.