The world’s gone mad

Factory bosses in an umbrella works in Buriram, Thailand, have found a novel way to speed up production. They have started dishing out fiendishly hot curries to staff during the working day’s two meal breaks, then only allowing the workers toilet breaks for every fifth umbrella made. “We find that work rates are up by maybe 200%”, director Mung Lo Chai said. “The staff have massively increased their output.”

Paranoid Alyosius Tree of New Cross has been miraculously cured of his obsessive worrying by a marauding teenager brandishing a cheeseburger. During the last 15 years, Mr Tree initially developed a morbid fear of eating anything circular, and latterly a fear of seeing anything circular, because he believed round objects were “controlled by extraterrestrials from the DWR-174 constellation”. His consultant psychoanalyst had managed to treat the condition by providing his patient with a pair of prismatic spectacles, which lent a polygonal appearance to any curved object. Earlier this year, Mr Tree’s spectacles were accidentally flushed down a public lavatory in Camberwell. He was unable to call for assistance because the cubicle door lock was circular (he spent 14 hours incarcerated in the water closet before a cleaner discovered him). Last week, outside Burger King in Lewisham, a hooded youth threw a Whopper at Mr Tree, who was surprised to discover that he had suffered no ill effects from his contact with this supposedly otherworldly artifact. He was immediately cured. “I have been wasting my life,” he told the local newspaper.

There can be no arguing about it. Having your refrigerator rejected by a potential buyer is a humbling, demeaning experience. The torment was all too much for Ninesh Kulkarni of Bihar, who had pushed his appliance a dozen miles on a skateboard so that he could sell it to the manager of Jhumritilaiya railway station, only for the customer to refuse to purchase the cold cabinet on the grounds that the ice cube compartment was badly damaged. This objection was not seriously entertained by Kulkarni. “What do you want an ice cube tray for? To marry your mother?” asked the vexed vendor. His question was met with a punch in the face. It was at this point in the proceedings that Kulkarni, in the words of startled onlookers, “went mad”. At any rate distinctly piqued, he boarded a train in an empty compartment (the one normally reserved for the driver) and proceeded to drive the train out of the station with passengers still boarding. The train gathered speed and had travelled a mile when Mr Kulkarni went through one red light too many and ploughed head-on into a goods locomotive, severely injuring its two crewmen. He did not apply the emergency brake, even though he had seen the oncoming freight train. “I knew where the brake was, but I did not put my hand on it,” Kulkarni said, “because I had pins and needles”.

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