It is, as maudlin philosophers are wont to say in their cups, nice to be nice. But is it sustainable? Luke Cameron (26), of Cheltenham, England, clearly thinks so. He has been dubbed The Nicest Man in Britain after doing a good deed a day for a year. "Is that even possible?" I hear you cry.
Well, it would seem so. Luke began his noble quest after a close family friend, famed locally for her selfless kindness, died of cancer in 2013.
Bereaved but inspired, young Luke started a Good Deed blog, recording his daily actions. These included taking rubbish out for an elderly neighbour, baking and giving away cakes, buying meals for strangers at McDonald's (depends on your definition of good, I suppose), and even paying for someone's petrol at a garage. And all this on a part-time shop worker's wage, which sounds incredible. Intriguingly, if predictably, he has his detractors.
They are, of course, online, the wicked place where alleged humans vent their toxic spleens. They question his motives and, now that the story is in the papers, accuse him of attention-seeking. Luke says: "I have my haters, but that's a given, really."
Some given. Says a lot about human nature. Mind you, even I felt queasy on reading that he left notes for colleagues containing messages such as "You're lovely" and "You always make me smile".
In the unlikely event of any colleague leaving me such a note, I'd feel constrained to summon a constable. Or, failing that, to call a union meeting.
But Luke is just young and still suffers from sincerity. He says: "In a world of taking selfies with your 'besties' and Instagramming pictures of your new handbag and Rolex watch, we forget to think about anyone else but ourselves."
Fair point. And it's fair to mention that, having won Utility Aid's Good Deed challenge, Luke will spend 2015 as National Philanthropy Manager, also known as the Nicest Job in Britain, travelling round the joint giving grants to charities. And getting paid for it.
But he's also extending his own challenge for another year, saying it has changed his life. Many people try every day to be kind, without necessarily going out of their way to do a particular act. But perhaps it'll catch on.
If not, then I propose it be made compulsory for all bald, clean-shaven people aged 20 to 45.
Congratulations to Rory McIlroy for not winning Sports Personality of the Year. Generally speaking, I am suspicious of personality and would prefer that it was put on the Government’s list of banned substances.
Apart from anything else, the wretched BBC competition put back Match Of The Day 2 to a late time that led many workers to sleep in next morning, thus harming the nation’s productivity.
Rory, who was favourite to win the egregious contest, was beaten to the finishing line by Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton. Hat off to him. Clearly, he had the winning formula.
But, as a Formula One golfer, Northern Irishman Rory has many fans and they took, not to the streets, but to the tweets, flailing their arms electronically and alleging an injustice.
I shouldn’t worry. It’s an honour to come second in such a competition. The shame is on he who comes first.
The Sugar Puffs have hit the fan. When news erupted that the Keery twins from Belfast were charging £3.20 for a plate of cereal at their London eatery a hullabaloo ensued.
Said eatery, indeed, specialises in the popular breakfast repeat, offering 13 types of milk and 120 cereals from around yonder world. True, Cereal Killers is in relatively poor Brick Lane. But the lads hope to help local charities, and as Gary said: “Maybe if I charged over £3 for a cup of coffee and dodged all the taxes in the country, like some cafes, the reporters would leave me alone.” Fair point, sir.
And… breathe out. It’s the latest weight loss prescription. According to Australian scientists, excess fat is mostly lost through breathing out carbon dioxide.
Sounds good. I can do that. But there’s a snag. You have to do a humungous amount of exercise to generate enough oxygen for the cure to work. Damn. On top of that, just one small kebab and all the good work is undone.
All this appears in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal. You have your Radio Times, I have my BMJ.
As for the next cure for tubbiness, don’t hold your breath.
In my ideal world everyone would wear woolly jumpers, with their character-forming itches, all-year round. But in a less than ideal world Christmas will just have to do.
In that spirit we commend Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day, which saw top newspaper the Belfast Telegraph decorated photographically with an array of beautifully absurd knitwear (right). It takes courage to wear a woolly garment with a large penguin on it. Chris Peel, principal of Sullivan Upper school, went one further, sporting what this newspaper described as — brace yourselves — “a ruby red jumper with bells jingling from reindeer antlers”.
Zoot alors! However, pupil James Wright (14) went way beyond the call of duty. The reindeer and Santa sleigh on his jumper lit up and twinkled at the flick of a switch. I’m surprised no one tried to make a citizen’s arrest on it.
Top metrosexual David Beckham’s Essence aftershave supposedly captures the former footerist’s very spirit.
Normally it sells for £24.99, but rioting broke out in the Beckham household at news that a top pound shop was selling it for eight quid.
Good old pound shops. Truly, they capture the very essence of Christmas.