Metro 51

Richard Herring: Time flies by disconcertingly quickly as you get older

Friday 8 Feb 2013

The passing of time is weighing heavily on Richard Herring, who responds by plotting his legacy

I canÂ’t believe it! ItÂ’s a year since I started writing this Metro column. It seems like only yesterday. Time flies by disconcertingly quickly as you get older. I am 45 years old now and probably more than a third of the way through my life, so IÂ’m starting to think of my legacy. So far, IÂ’ve done nothing that will guarantee my name will live on beyond my death or even before it. I need to get moving.

If you want to be part of history but are squeamish about assassinating a politician, then you have four realistic options: A) You get a disease or planet or something named after you, like Lou Gehrig or Pluto; B) you join Murphy and Sod by coming up with a universal law; C) you create a new strategy for war or sport, like Hannibal or Eden Hazard; or D) You invent or appropriate something that will take your name, like WH Hoover or Ian Sandwich-Toaster.

LetÂ’s give this a shot:

A) The problem with getting stuff named after you is that most of the good things have been taken. The trick is to find something that has a rubbish name and change it. I am a big fan of the 17th-century anatomist William Cowper, who ensured immortality by naming a tiny gland in the male reproductive system after himself. It’s unlikely anyone else will want to wrestle that accolade from him. I’ve always thought the name for the external opening of the urethra could do with a better name than ‘meatus’ (or the racist, eye-based moniker given to it by generations of schoolchildren). Given all the flesh torpedo-based comedy I’ve created over the years I think it’s only fair we rename it Herring’s Eye (even if it looks more like a goldfish’s mouth).

B) It’s not easy to come up with a pithy observation like Michael McIntyre’s Man Drawer Law. But I think I’ve done it. Herring’s Law is: ‘Whichever locker you select in a gym changing room, when you return after exercise, however empty the gym might be, someone will be using the locker right next to yours.’ You know it’s true.

C) I donÂ’t like sport but reckon I could be a top tennis coach. IÂ’ve noticed that most tennis players exhaust themselves by trying too hard at the start of a match and yet the winner is always the player who wins the final points of the game.

IÂ’ve come up with the Herring Manoeuvre (good for most sports), which is to let your opponent get a false sense of security and tire themself by winning all the early points but then at the end, start trying and win all the crucial final points. A lot of British stars have mastered the first part already.

D) Bumping into people in the street is a bane of modern life. YouÂ’re walking towards someone and realise youÂ’re going to collide. You move one way but they simultaneously move the same way and block you, then you move back but they do too. You both end up humiliated and delayed.

This doesnÂ’t have to happen. Simply always pass to your left. If you move left and they move left there will be no collisions. Even if they are not aware of Richard HerringÂ’s Left Hand Rule, as long as you move left and refuse to change course youÂ’ll be fine. All I ask is that each time you use my rule you send me one penny.

Immortality assured times four. Remember my name! Fame!