I like to help where I can. No charge, of course. I am like the car mechanic who is happy to fix a pal’s starter motor as a favour.
Except that my days of easing seized bolts are long gone. I can still tidy up a bit of sloppy writing though – a complaint, an invitation, a letter to the council. I have even been known to sex up the odd flyer.
So when Doreen, a greengrocer friend, asked me to look at some promotional blurb for father’s day, I was happy to oblige. ‘We are going to donate £2 to a prostate cancer charity for every basket of fruit we sell that week,’ she explained. And they say philanthropy is dead.
‘Because prostate cancer is a man’s thing, and dads are mostly men?’ I asked, just to be sure. Spot on. ‘And because eating fruit helps fend off cancer?’ Exactly.
I was tempted to add: ‘And because you have some produce to shift?’ But instead, I just asked Doreen to sketch out her thoughts and promised to check the spelling and grammar. Some things are best left unsaid.
I was surprised when her email arrived, as Doreen had clean forgotten to mention the health benefits of eating fruit. Not to worry. Five minutes on Google and I could write it myself, or so I imagined.
But after 45 minutes, all I could say with any certainty was…well, absolutely nothing. There was a lot of evidence and plenty of research, countless experts who believed this and any number of specialists who maintained that.
And when it came to prostate cancer, the only dietary recommendation I could find related to tomatoes. But is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable? The more I read, the less sure I was about anything.
So Doreen, I have tidied up your spelling and knocked your grammar into shape. But as a spin doctor, I would clearly make an excellent car mechanic. I don’t suppose you know anyone who needs their starter motor fixed?