Idiotic Eureka Moments

A while ago, I was listening to the podcast of Frank Skinner’s Absolute radio show and the phone-in was Idiotic Eureka Moments (IEMs). Someone called in and said they’d only recently “got” the connection between Sooty and Sweep (i.e. chimney sweeping). Someone else said they thought that when parking instructions specified “No return within one hour” that they couldn’t actually come back to their car for an hour, even if they’d finished what they were doing after, like, five minutes. I have a number of these IEMs, but I’ve literally just had one, thanks to @DTMM on Twitter and so I wanted to share.

Goodbye Girl (that’s a Go West song)

Peter's the one on top

If you know me IRL or even if you used to read my old blog, you will have heard this story, but I’m telling it again anyway. Years ago – like 1989/90 – I lived and worked in Richmond, Surrey. One day, I was on my way home from the shops, about 15-20 minutes walk, and I saw Peter Cox from Go West. I went up to him and said something like, “Hello. I haven’t got a pen so I can’t ask you for an autograph, but I wanted to say hello.”

He was very sweet and charming and said, “You walking this way?” I was and so he walked me home. We talked all the way, he was lovely. We got to my gate and he gave me a quick kiss and I went inside, all giddy and thrilled with what a lovely person he was. Years later, I was telling someone the story and they said, “I bet he just wanted to make sure you didn’t follow him home.” Oh. You know, that’s probably right. It had never occurred to me. Damn.


I don't think I've seen a £50 since. Sad.

A couple of years after the above, I was working in a music industry accountants. At Christmas, we were all given cash bonuses. How it worked was the boss told us all to come up to his office before we went home. This was to pick up our bonus. We weren’t told that, but most of us knew or at least suspected.

On the day in question, I’d worked late and when I went to see him he gave me my envelope and then said, “Eva* didn’t come for hers, so you can have it” and handed me a second envelope. There was £200, in £50 notes, in each envelope. Now I’d like to say that I saved the envelope and gave it to Eva next time I saw her, but I didn’t. I don’t actually think that even occurred to me. I just thought, “Result!”

I was telling this story (obviously much more concisely) to @DTMM on Twitter today and I said, “I felt a bit guilty, but not guilty enough to not accept it, cos I was skint. Got burgled that Christmas tho.” Ping! “Probably karma,” I added. It’s taken me – what? – almost twenty years to put the two together. The burglers didn’t get the cash (I’d hidden it in a Blackburn Rovers Season Best Of video box), but they got almost everything else. Served me right, no? Goodness, I’m slow on the uptake…

So make me feel better – what are your IEMs? What’s made you go “duh” at yourself?

* not her real name!


11 thoughts on “Idiotic Eureka Moments

  1. LOL-ing at the Peter Cox story, but I prefer to think he was just a nice man. 😉

    I used to think the same about the “no return in one hour signs” btw… but not as an adult. As a kid, I also never used to understand why someone would stay at a B&B, because they didn’t let you have lunch or dinner. (I’m not sure why I didn’t get that you could go out for them, but I didn’t.) I probably have more shameful ones, but I’ve blocked them out.

    1. I thought the same re the parking sign, but only for a moment – worked it out pretty quickly. The poor women who’d run in said she’d spent untold hours walking around town, killing time, before she realised, LOL!

  2. One time I was getting a quote over the phone for car insurance when the lady asked me what I used my car for (meaning business or pleasure). I thought for a moment and, still confused by the question, I answered, “I use it to get from one place to another. What did you think I used it for?!” DUH!

  3. Years ago I want to the doctors for an injection I can’t remember what it was for but it required two needles. The doctor said ‘I will do one in the top of your arm and one in the bottom’ to which I replied ‘do I need to take my watch off?’ The doctor had to explain she meant my bottom not the bottom of my arm. So embarrassing.

  4. When I was a teenager there was a car park near where I lived with a “goal post” type entrance. On the top bar was a notice which had a sign on it saying “7.00 Head Room”.

    I thought it meant if you parked your car in there then you had to report to the Head Room at 7.00pm. Derrrr……..

  5. I loved Go West – you lucky, lucky girl – was he wearing that sexy vest when he walked you home? My life’s probably full of IEMs. Only this year I actually (finally) *got* a joke that an ex b/f told me probably 20 years ago. And I wondered why he left me. He was going out with Joey Tribianni’s slower sister!

    1. Ha, no, he wasn’t.

      One of my fave IEMs is Phoebe in Friends, when she says, “I thought we could go walking in Central Park, get coffee in Central Perk… Ooh! I just got that!”

  6. I’ve only just seen this blog entry but couldn’t resist adding my own IEM.

    When I was a kid I used to read the Beano and the Dandy a lot. In one of them Gnasher was teasing a pug dog and said something along the lines of, “Look at your face! Have you been chasing parked cars?” I could not, for the life of me, work out what that meant or why it was funny. “But you can’t chase a parked car, they’re not going anywhere”. Years and YEARS later I finally got it – squashed up face, chasing a parked car. Doh.

  7. ‘In one of them’.

    It was the Beano obviously.

    Come to think of it I might have had an IEM about Desperate Dan and his cow pies too but can’t remember what it was (I was a confused child).

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