Lollipop Man Sketch
The news story that started me thinking was Bob Slade, Plymouth City’s lollipop man, being told to stop high-fiving the kids as he helped them cross the road. Read it here.
BOB SLADE (Lollipop Man)
HEALTH & SAFETY OFFICER
ANNOUNCER:Our children’s journey to school can be hazardous: speeding buggies, 4x4s mounting the pavement, uncontrolled dogs mounting your leg … so you’d think the invention of a lollipop man (or woman) would be an unqualified success. There’s nothing like standing in a road wearing a fluorescent hat to cut short a game of Where’s Wally. But Plymouth City Council said Bob Slade, their Lollipop Man, had acted dangerously by ‘high-fiving’ kids as they crossed the road. They called him in for a meeting.
COUNCIL CHAIR: Bob – thanks for ‘popping’ in. (LAUGHS AT OWN JOKE)
BOB: Is there a problem?
COUNCIL CHAIR: Do you see? Popping? I asked the LolliPOP Man to pop in? No? (CLEARS THROAT) Anyway – yes. (TURNS SUDDENLY FROM JOKER TO DEADPAN) It’s rather come to our attention that you’re not taking your job quite as seriously as we’d like.
SAFETY OFFICER: As the Council’s Health & Safety Officer, it falls within my remit to assess all areas within aforementioned Council boundaries and conduct a rolling programme of risk assessments.
BOB: And …? What am I s’posed to have done?
SAFETY OFFICER: I observed you engaging in informal, non-verbal communication with pre-voters of this Council whilst they were traversing the highway.
COUNCIL CHAIR: (LAUGHS NERVOUSLY) Er – quite. What my esteemed colleague is trying to say – albeit in a rather funeral tone – is that we don’t think it’s quite cricket to ‘high-five’ the children. Although god knows we can take things too seriously these days!
SAFETY OFFICER: (CLEARS THROAT POINTEDLY)
COUNCIL CHAIR: Er – we can’t. We can’t take things too seriously these days. Do you see?
BOB: I’ve been doing this job for four years. Yeah, the kids high-five me. So what? My hand’s out to stop the traffic anyway.
SAFETY OFFICER: It interferes with the optimum functionality of our traffic control deployment.
COUNCIL CHAIR: You really talk like that all the time, don’t you?
SAFETY OFFICER: I find it an effective method of communication.
BOB: No kidding.
COUNCIL CHAIR: Look Bob, if you could just see your way clear to concentrating a bit more, then I’m sure we can forget all this nonsense.
SAFETY OFFICER: If I might take this opportunity to make a suggestion?
COUNCIL CHAIR: Yes?
BOB: Here we go …
SAFETY OFFICER: We shouldn’t be promoting sugary snacks to children. I propose changing the shape of the signage going forward.
BOB: You wanna take away my lollipop?
COUNCIL CHAIR: We can’t take away his lollipop! It’s an icon. A beacon!
SAFETY OFFICER: No, a belisha beacon is affixed at permanent road crossings and is connected to an electricity supply. I cannot authorise connecting Bob to the national grid. He has to work a lot in rain.
BOB: That’s the first time I’ve agreed with you.
SAFETY OFFICER: We need to replace the lollipop with something more conducive to a healthy and safe environment. Like this.
BOB: That’s a picture of a hedgehog.
SAFETY OFFICER: Correct. Symbol of all that is dangerous crossing our roads.
BOB: A flat hedgehog.
SAFETY OFFICER: A constant reminder of the terror of moving vehicles.
COUNCIL CHAIR: I’m not sure about this.
BOB: You want me to stand there in a fluorescent mac and hat, not high-fiving the kids, holding a dead hedgehog on a stick?
SAFETY OFFICER: Yes.
COUNCIL CHAIR: Surely a chicken might be more … jolly? Why did the chicken … you know …
BOB: Do you know what? You can stuff this job up your flat hedgehog arses. I’m off. And I won’t be voting for you nutters again.