Once upon a time there was a country, and its dad didn’t want it to have a drink but some of his mates kept nagging at him to let it have a drink. So, for a quiet life, the dad said, ‘Fine, take the country out for a drink.’
So the country went out one night with the dad’s mates, and the dad only expected the country to have a couple of jars and then come home. But the dad hadn’t reckoned with one of his mates trying to use this as an opportunity to take the dad’s place. The dad hadn’t reckoned with all the lies that his mates would tell the country about how everything that was wrong in its life was the fault of the neighbours who were pinching its money and eating its food and standing in front of it in the queue. The mates got the country spectacularly drunk and it ended up mooning and shouting obscenities at the neighbours.
When the country got home again, the dad said, ‘I’m not taking care of the country’s mess – I never wanted it to have a drink in the first place. Let those who took it out sort it out. I’m off.’
But the mates also ran away, including the one who’d wanted to take the dad’s place.
So the country’s step-mum came along, rolled her sleeves up and said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll sort this out.’
But instead of making the country a nice breakfast, patiently explaining the ramifications of what it’d done and sending it round to the neighbours with wine and chocolates and an apology, she decided its behaviour was not only acceptable, but desirable. She stuck two fingers up at the lovely neighbours she’d lived next door to quite happily for forty-odd years and started smiling at the lunatic who’d moved into the big house on the other side of the pond.
One day she suddenly went out on the lash herself, saying, ‘I can handle this – I’m strong and stable.’ But she kept changing her mind on where she wanted to go and how much she wanted to spend.
Eventually, having gone through quite a bit of the housekeeping money by going out on the lash when she didn’t actually need to, she woke up the next morning with a massive hangover, but without a friend in the world apart from the strange characters she’d invited into her bed after bumping into them in the dark round the back of the pub.
Meanwhile the neighbours were saying, ‘Whatever happened to our friends? Do you remember? That well-off family that used to live next door?’
And the morals of this story are too many to mention.