A pair of green socks caused a debate in the Page household. Photo / Getty Images
Anyone out there who has set up a new business will know there are a lot of hoops to jump through before you get to the stage where you are putting down a deposit
on a private jet.
I mention this because, after what seems like years of ‘shall I, shan’t I’ talks with my prospective billionaire self, I’ve decided to take the plunge. Finally.
Now, I must quickly point out that while I have mentioned private jets and a billionaire status in my opening paragraphs, I am pretty much certain that won’t be the case.
In fact, if I get a new bicycle and make a bit extra each week to cover the exorbitant current cost of a bit of broccoli and pumpkin for My Beloved, then I’ll be happy.
So, to be clear, I’m not looking to get rich. Just to add a bit of comfort to the retirement savings when I get there.
To put you fully in the picture, I intend to carry on working three days a week with my hugely supportive day-job employer and keep churning out a giggle a week for this very newspaper, as long as they will have me. My new venture is a little sidebar to all that.
I’ll keep it under wraps until the proper launch but, in short, it’s something similar to what you are reading now, might appeal to a little niche market and, from the testing I’ve done, gives me a great deal of job satisfaction. Stay tuned.
As I say, setting all this up requires a fair bit of planning beforehand, especially if I want to do it properly and futureproof it in case it does get bigger than just me, a laptop and a moderately priced car/pair of roller skates for transport.
To that end, I’ve had to go to a few meetings of late. Think accountants, lawyers, business advisers, bank managers etc. And, as we all know, it’s important to make a good impression at those meetings.
Personally, I’ve always gone for the smart casual look and, in my eyes, I’ve always nailed it. Naturally, I assume if I’m looking for a 10/10 pass mark and my attire is, say, only a 7/10 on the day, my boyish good looks and charm will take care of the rest and it will be 10/10 all day.
Unfortunately, she who has appointed herself my stylist for such meetings has advised me of late that my 7/10 for sartorial elegance has dipped to a 5/10. Embarrassingly, on occasion it has even been a 4/10 or, as she has labelled it, “scruffy sod-style”.
It would be fair to say I found myself somewhat alarmed at this description.
What she suggests is “scruffy” is, in my view, “practical”.
I have long been an advocate for wearing shorts year-round and, apart from a two-week period in the middle of last winter when I swear the hairs on my legs froze rigid, I have kept to that.
On top, various T-shirts have been supplemented by – and this depends on the temperature that particular day – a polar fleece jersey which I’ve only had, er, I’d say about six months. Mrs P insists it’s more like six years, but I think that’s just her being silly. Besides, “Old Faithful” has never let me down and still looks as good as the day I got it. Six months ago. Ahem.
But I digress.
Of late, my regular ensemble has been topped off, so to speak, by a pair of green, ankle-length socks. I got them as part of a free giveaway at the service station. “Drink 400 cans of our product and we’ll give you a pair of socks.” That sort of thing.
I say green. They are actually an incredibly bright fluorescent green, and they feature the logo of this well-known fizzy drink.
The other thing is they are very warm and comfortable, so I’ve taken to wearing them quite a bit. All the time, in fact.
And here, finally, is where we get to the new business link. I’ve got a very important meeting.
So, there I am the other day discarding under protest – and the watchful eye of Prison Guard Mrs P, if the truth be known – my usual attire for a nice pair of casual jeans and a shirt and jacket. The problem arose when I put my new loud, fluorescent green socks on too.
“You’re not going to wear those, are you?” she said incredulously.
Obviously, having already put them on, I indicated that was indeed my intention.
I can’t recall the exact 4,375,242 words that suddenly spewed forth in reaction, but I gather they were something about not taking my new venture seriously enough and sending the wrong message to the bank manager I was going to see.
Resigned to defeat and on autopilot – and I’m sure some of you guys can relate – I found myself removing the fluorescent green socks and reaching for another pair in my sock drawer.
At this stage, I’d regained my equilibrium and senses and decided to push the exasperation level of My Beloved a little higher, as you do. And you know you do, guys – he says with a little smile.
So, I pulled out a pair of equally loud fluorescent blue socks and started to put them on.
You may have heard the scream from where you are. Thankfully, it was followed by a sustained bout of laughter from both of us. Life is nothing if not fun in our house.
Anyway. With the sock issue resolved by the introduction of a pair of sedate, boring, businesslike black ankle socks, I went off to my meeting looking smart, feeling confident and clutching my little manilla folder with my application form inside.
Yes, I could have done it online, but you know me. I’m hopeless when it comes to online anything and, besides, I’d rather do the face-to-face thing. Especially with my bank manager, who I’ve known for years. He’s always up for a joke. Likes a bit of chat. My kind of guy.
And, apparently, he likes the same brand of canned fizzy drink I enjoy, too.
As he sat down opposite me, the trouser leg of his suit pants rode up slightly to reveal a stunning pair of loud, fluorescent green ankle socks with a well-known logo emblazoned across them.
I wish Mrs P could have seen that.