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Uncle Jack lived in a small village and was a regular in the local
pub. It was one of those pubs where someone often had something to sell, a ticket for the big match, or in this case a suit. Maybe Uncle Jack mentioned that he needed a new suit, anyway, a tailor who
was drinking in the bar, offered him a quality made-to-measure suit at a knockdown price.
As promised in a week later the tailor brought in the trousers, they were a great fit and the latest cut, 'very smart, very
, his wife said. The jacket followed in a few days, and there was even a waist-coat. So far so good.
Uncle Jack was passionate about his cars and 40 years ago many people - like Uncle
Jack - did car maintenance themselves. When
his car broke down, there was no-one else to fix it and being in his best suit, would not stop Uncle Jack crawling underneath the engine to repair the starter motor. In fact in our family, 'doing an Uncle Jack'
meant repairing a car in your best clothes. I always suspected that this was the reason why Uncle Jack was so tempted by the chance of a new suit.
background, you may be able to jump ahead and guess why Uncle Jack would need to take the bus to work. On the Sunday, his car sheared a half-shaft and thus was beyond a quick fix repair. Actually, on
this fateful Monday, his wife was pleased that he was taking the bus and he was less likely to '
do an Uncle Jack'
and ruin his newly acquired, very sharp suit.
When Uncle Jack got on bus, he noticed two people
behaving slightly oddly, and to his surprise, both were wearing suits just like his. Well, it was a double-decker bus so what would you do next? Uncle Jack went up stairs and was aghast to see a dozen more people, all
dressed in exactly the same suit as he was wearing. Since this was a country bus, taking the morning workers into the big city, there would no other bus for two hours. So, Uncle Jack knew that there was
nothing he could do but sweat it out until he reached his office in the city.
Eventually the bus reached Uncle Jack's
stop about three streets from his office. Unfortunately, his relief was short lived. As he got
off, so all the men wearing the same suit as his, jumped off and followed him. Uncle Jack started walking very fast, but they were still there, then he abandoned any pretence and just ran. But they
ran after him. Soon he reached the sanctuary of his office and dashed in. Phew!
To his amazement, his ordeal was not over, Uncle Jack's
boss called him into his office and demanded to know
what a dozen men in suits like his were doing, rampaging in reception. Uncle Jack said, 'don't
, but of course his boss did. Slowly, Uncle Jack had pieced together what had happened.
He vaguely remembered the tailor boasting that once he had a side-line in supplying clothes to the local Institution / Asylum. Then Uncle Jack recollected his wife mentioning that the trusty members
of the Asylum were let out at weekends. Finally, he realized that he bore a passing resemblance to a social worker who looked after those members of the Asylum, who were deemed ready for
release back into society. It dawned on Uncle Jack that as they returned from their weekend leave, they had mistaken him for their social worker and so followed him dutifully.
Putting Uncle Jack's
Saga in Context
This is a true story that I can personally vouch for its provenance.
The history and era of this story is relevant, it happened at least 40 years ago back in the 1960s. When I say, vouch for the story, the basics facts are true, as with many stories, they improve with a little
embellishment. To digress, one of my theories on gender is that women have better memories then men, certainly the women in my life have a better memory than mine. This variable
memory gave me an idea, I could write the story with two endings.
At our recent family reunion, the female members of the all family agreed that the above facts were essentially true. However, my memory
differs. In my version of Uncle Jack's
story, the person in charge of the trusties was also on the bus, and that when they got off at the Asylum entrance, they plucked Uncle Jack off the bus and into the
Asylum. As I remember Uncle Jack telling the story, he said that the more he complained the more the authorities thought he was an inmate, who had gone into remission. Moreover, I seem to remember
that before the institution agreed to release him, my Aunt had to go to the Asylum in person, and show the governor Uncle Jack's