Who is John you may ask? Well, John is a 42 year old man who used to work for the telecommunications company Vidophone. In the event of the death of a celebrity or a tragedy which claimed the lives of the unfortunate people involved, his job required him to write a bad joke, mocking it in the most unsavoury manor possible. This joke would then be sent on to a select mailing list of vidophone users by SMS, who would in turn pass it on to their friends, who would pass it on to their friends, who would pass it on....well, you get the idea.
John was successful in his work and his offensive and crude jokes reached a wide audience, reaping rich reward for Vidophone and himself. One lunch time though, his life was changed forever.
God, who seldom had much to do with his creations on Earth anymore (they were in general a great disappointment to him), noticed that people were laughing at several awful jokes written about the recent death of one of his favourite human singers, Jamie Beerbungalow. This was something he couldn't ignore, so he decided to pay a visit to the source of those jokes, John from Vidophone.
John was eating a chorizo sandwich alone in the staff canteen when God appeared. So as not to scare him, God had come disguised as the person John respected most in the whole of human history; Derek Trotter from the British sitcom 'Only Fools and Horses'.
God spoke to John:
'Alright John, me old china plate? Its God here, I've come as Del boy because I didn't want to shock you with my normal appearance, being omnipresent means I’m pretty much a mass of eye balls which isn’t very pleasant as I’m sure you can imagine’
John was slightly taken aback; he was an atheist so this was most unexpected. 'Hello god, what can I do for you?'
'Well John, I’ll get straight to the point, I don't like what you're doing here. These jokes you're sending out are disgusting, have you not thought of the harm you're doing? How would you feel if someone was laughing at a dirty joke about someone you cared about?'
'I see what you're saying God’ replied John 'but to be fair, there's a demand for these jokes. If people didn't get a cheap thrill from reading them, I wouldn't keep being asked to write them.'
'Just because it’s popular, doesn't mean it’s pucker John. Here, let me show you something. Close your eyes.' God laid his hand on John’s forehead and showed him a vision of the future.
John saw a large group of people gathered at a funeral.
'This is your daughters funeral John, she had grown up to play for the England women’s football team like you dreamed she would, but the whole team was tragically killed in a plane crash on the way to the World cup'
'My God, that’s terrible' John was distraught.
'Yes it is. Now, you see this, this is a pub. You see that group of lads laughing at something? Well, they're laughing at a joke that’s making fun of this tragedy John, your tragedy. How does that make you feel?'
'That’s disgraceful, what kind of person could take pleasure in someone else's misfortune like that......oh, I see your point, I help to perpetuate this kind of behaviour'
'Yes, well. I'm asking you to make a stand against this kind of behavior John. You see how negative it is, don't be a plonker all your life. You’re in a position to make a difference, so instead of sending out a joke, send a positive moral message.'
John sat there, shell shocked.
'Oh, your daughter doesn't die in a plane crash by the way, that was just a shock tactic to get a reaction from you, she becomes a successful accountant in Basingstoke'
'Really? Thank God'
'That’s alright, don't thank me. Anyway, think about what I've said. You can help to arouse people’s consciences about this. Don't forget, I'll be watching you.' And with that remark, God disappeared in a puff of smoke.
So John, went back to his office and instead of writing another evil and unfunny joke, he wrote the following message and sent it to the mailing list via SMS:
‘While keeping a sense of humour in tragic circumstances is certainly important, laughing at spiteful jokes which mock other peoples tragedy is not big or clever. The human race is capable of great things but is constantly being undermined by this low brow ignorant behaviour. Take a look at the man or woman in the mirror and make that change.’
Ten minutes later John's boss came in.
'What is this shit John? People want a laugh, not to feel bad about themselves. You've lost your edge, pack up your desk and sod off. You're fired'
So John left Vidophone with a clear conscience. If he'd tickled the consciences of anyone else that was a bonus.
He went on to write marketing emails for the charity organisation St John Ambulance, earning a fraction of the money he did at Vidophone. Still, his family are very proud of him, if a little resentful that he threw away his highly paid job, and with it, their chance of an indoor swimming pool being installed at their house, but such is life.
Meanwhile, God and Satan were sat in the communal bar between heaven and hell watching these events unfold on the big screen TV.
‘Well done G-man, that’s one soul saved for you’ said Satan.
‘You’re still way out in front though S-Dog’ replied God standing up to add one more to his total on the grand scoreboard. ‘I was hoping John could affect more people with his message’
‘Yeah, I could do with a bit more competition to be honest, but you realise someone has already taken his place don’t you, there’s nothing people like better than to laugh at someone worse off than they are, it’s the nature of the world’
‘I really have created a bunch of little monsters haven’t I?’
‘I don’t like to rub it in G-man, but I have to agree’
God took a sip of his pint and said ‘Oh well, fancy a game of darts?’