The Show Off Shown Up
Out onthe 700c, pootling around the main lake at the Water Sports Centre. There is an event on, with Scouts and Guides dotted about the place in small groups.
As part of my usual circuit, I ride down a short ramp onto one of the pontoons, and along the pontoon, intending to turn up the next ramp back onto the main path.
A group of about six Scouts is passing.
The biggest says, “Show off!” in a scornful tone.
A smaller one says, “That’s way cool. How long did it take to learn that?”
They all turn to watch me, and, under the gaze of so many eyes, I decide not to essay the tricky little step at the bottom of the ramp, and I dismount.
Then, on a mischievous whim:
“OK, so which of you just shouted, ‘Show off’?”
Five small Scouts point to one larger Scout.
“OK, who’s the show off? The person quietly practising his sport, or the person making uncalled for remarks to a stranger just to impress his friends?”
“Er… but you rode onto the pontoon and I thought…”
“I was riding my unicycle. I didn’t ask you to comment. There was no need to comment.”
“And then he said…” Large Scout - conspicuously failing to have courage in all difficulties - points to smaller Scout accusingly." This makes him Fair Game.
“Oh, they all think you said it. Shall we have a vote?”
“Are you a Scout?”
“Well I was once, and if you behave like that and shout daft comments at strangers you’re a disgrace to your uniform.”
“Er…” (mumbles) “Sorry.”
“Now, which one of you asked the sensible question?”
Small Scout with big grin: “That was me.”
A few minutes later we parted as friends. Two minutes after that: a puncture and a long walk.