Laura Craik dares dream of a summer to remember, dodges the scammers and doubts improbable ‘miracle’ products
Having run out of all other conversation, my family and I have been reminiscing about our favourite year, in a manner that makes even the 10-year-old sound like she’s on her deathbed. Unusually for a family that takes so long to agree on a film that it’s always too late to watch one, we were unanimous that the best year was 2012.
No one was more neggy and cynical about the Olympics than me. No one was more egg-facedly ashamed of themselves when they turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to London.
Everyone has been reminiscing more than usual during the pandemic, soothing their soul with old memories in the absence of being able to make any new ones. Out came the photo albums, the mix tapes and the box sets that remind us of who we were and how we used to feel.
During one such trawl, I found a ‘F*** You 2016’ bumper sticker by Jeremy Deller. I can’t for the life of me remember why 2016 was so bad that it prompted me to buy it, and yet I did, clearly under the illusion that Brexit was the worst thing that could ever happen. Ha. Hahahahaha.
“As life begins to blossom again,
we should all try
to be open to its possibilities”
Scrolling through Instagram, I noticed that the broadcaster Laura Jackson had posted about how 2012 was her favourite year, prompting a slew of comments in agreement. Everyone, it seems, has a golden memory of that summer.
We were all living our best lives, crowding the streets to watch torchlight processions, filling stadia to cheer sporting endeavours, spilling out of pubs and beer gardens in balmy August sunshine, buoyed by something bigger than ourselves. And all the while, taking for granted the warmth and the comfort of crowds, back when human contact didn’t feel like a death sentence.
I don’t know the secret to a happy life, but I do know it won’t be found by being alone or always looking inward. As life begins to blossom again, we should all try to be open to its possibilities. They’re out there. We don’t know for how long. May the next few months be as golden as our favourite reminiscences.
Tried to buy a dress the other day but my card was declined. It was my bank’s way of protecting my vast, Getty-esque assets. ‘We’ve had a lot of scams linked to fashion websites,’ explained Graham in the Fraud Team. ‘Dodgy discount codes and the like.’
After a drama student shared the story of how fraudsters tricked her into clearing out her bank account, we’re all hyper-paranoid about being scammed. And the scams are coming thick and fast: in the past month alone I’ve had phishy emails purporting to be from Paypal, Royal Mail, DPD and HSBC. There should be a special place in hell for people who try to rob people of what little money they have left.
Now that the memes have run out, Facebook ads have become my main source of humour. God knows what sort of sad-sack algorithm has attached itself to my name, but all I see are ads for wall filler, ‘miracle’ detangling brushes and weird devices to help clean your dog, like the Magic Tubby Pet Supplies Dog Foot Washer.
My favourite is Muddy Mat, as advertised by slack-jawed Americans who look like they’re on day release from the local penitentiary. Apparently, this thaumaturgical object will change my life, thanks to its ‘revolutionary absorbency’ that ‘stops 95 per cent or more of mud and dirt’. £43 for a bog-standard bathmat? Nice try.
They seem to be smaller and more expensive than ever. Shame on you, Ferrero.