Claire Black: Revenge a dish best scored off menu

Bill and Hillary Clinton have lists of people who have wronged them. Picture: Getty
Bill and Hillary Clinton have lists of people who have wronged them. Picture: Getty
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IMAGINE being the kind of person who writes a shitlist. I apologise if the vulgarity of that term offends you, but that is its name and so I use it.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, please allow me to enlighten you: it’s a list comprised of people who have in some way done you wrong so that when the time comes to smite them – and by that I mean say something a bit catty on Twitter, rather than, you know, hire a hitman – you have the information at your fingertips to allow the implementation of a carefully planned and brutally efficient take-down.

A new book has revealed that the Clintons, Bill and Hillary, have just such a list. It’s made up of all the people who’ve hindered them during their long political careers. And this is no tipsy scrawl on a beer-stained napkin, either. It is a spreadsheet on which the scale of the offences of those who are perceived to have traduced one or other or both of them are ranked from one to seven, seven being the worst. Serious stuff. And maybe a little bit weird.

I had been sharpening my pencil in order to let rip about what a miserable, bitter existence one must endure if there’s the time and inclination to compile such a document. What a sad waste of effort. Worse, if such a list must be created then surely the appropriate accoutrements are a fountain pen and a Moleskine notebook, not a spreadsheet? Unforgivable. I didn’t get very far with this argument, though, because I couldn’t stop thinking about who would be on mine.

The guy who sold me a chair for a grand when he knew that I would never, ever get to park my butt in it because the company had gone bust, would get a big, fat seven. Major offender.

The ex-colleague who, along with another ex-colleague, (both men in their 30s at the time) made my life miserable by sending homophobic emails about me to my co-workers would be sixes.

The swine who stole all three of the bollards I had fitted to a parking space I once used would get a five.

Every plumber who’s ever fleeced me – a three.

You see how easy, not to mention compulsively enjoyable, this is? Go on, try it, you’ll like it.

There does, though, remain one crucial difference between me and the Clintons (well, let’s be honest, a few more than one, but in this particular regard, one significant difference) and that’s the level of organisation and detail behind Bill and Hillary’s shitlist suggests that they do actually plan to mete out some kind of retribution (traitors may be forced to listen to Bill’s ­saxophone playing on a loop until they repent and promise to fundraise for Hil in 2016).

That’s where I fall short. I might quite enjoy writing my list. I might revel in a smattering of self-righteous indignation about how I’ve been done wrong, but as for doing something about it – nah. Revenge isn’t a dish best served cold, it’s best scored off the menu altogether. It’s never, ever worth it.

IT HAS been called the disease of kings, but given that Dick Cheney is a sufferer I think that description might need a rethink. I’m talking about gout and apparently incidence is soaring. Between 1997 and 2012, prevalence of the problem rose by four per cent every year. More than one in 40 adults now has the condition, a type of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid in the blood, from which Pavarotti, Ansel Adams and Leonardo da Vinci all suffered. Boozing and being overweight don’t help, but nor does the fact that it’s viewed as a “comedy” condition. This means sufferers can struggle to get help. Come on, people, show a little sympathy.

SO, HERE’S a question: what would make you do your child’s homework? I don’t mean help your child with her or his homework – that’s a parental duty. I mean actually do it, all of it. New research suggests this is precisely what is happening in one in six homes – mums or dads are sitting down of an evening, pencil case, protractor and presumably a large glass of pinot noir in hand, to do their kids’ school work.

Apparently the main reason given was that cracking on with it was less stressful than persuading their children to do it. But come on, can that really be true? The last time I tried to do long division, within minutes it was clear that running over hot coals would’ve been less painful. Parents, just say no. «

Twitter: @Scottiesays