from the Thinking Strange Thoughts series
THE DIRK PLUNGER CLUB
I recently told you about when I was a young lad watching television for the first time. Now this got me thinking about an even earlier time when our main source of entertainment was the radio. We would all sit down in the evening with a mug of Horlicks and listen to great shows like The Archers, an everyday story of simple folk; Mrs Dale’s Diary, about a woman called Mrs Dale who apparently kept a diary, and my own personal favourite,Dirk Plunger, Private Investigator. Dirk was my hero, I think the word that best described him was “cool”and this greatly impressed me because at the time I was distinctly “uncool”. Now when you read these articles, you probably picture me as a very good looking, superb athlete, kind of guy and of course you are spot on, but believe it or not when I was young, I was one of those nerdy kids, not very good at sport. In fact I was so uncoordinated that I once swallowed my toothbrush whilst brushing my teeth.. Dirk on the other hand, remained “cool” at all times and always got the girl. I was a huge fan and tried to model myself on him. A lot of people said that there was a similarity, apart from the remaining cool in all situations and always getting the girl bit.
I remember in one episode, Dirk, as usual had beaten off all of the “baddies” single-handedly, but due to a slight injury he was forced to wear an eye patch. Even though it was on the radio, I could imagine just how “cool” Dirk looked in his eye patch, so the next day I started wearing one to school. This must have looked quite impressive but unfortunately it also affected my eyesight so badly that I got hit in the other eye with a cricket ball and had to wear a patch over that eye as well. Even Dirk Plunger would have struggled with a patch over both eyes and I must admit my school work suffered for a while.
Another thing I greatly admired about Dirk, was that whilst he would stand no nonsense from the lawbreakers, he always remained a gentleman. At the end of each episode he used to make a short announcement saying “Dirk Plunger here, remember kids, always be good to your mother and help old people and animals” I was very impressed with this and would always help old people to cross the street, even if they did not want to go I would just drag them across. I will always remember one old battler beating me frantically about the head as I struggled to remove my Dirk Plunger Club Membership Card from my trouser pocket with one hand whilst kindly guiding her across the highway with the other.
Soon the show was so popular that all of my friends were Club Members and if we passed each other in the street we would give the secret Dirk Plunger Club sign. This involved sticking the index finger of your left hand up your right nostril, whilst at the same time sticking your right thumb in your left ear. Occasionally, you would pass someone in the street who had never heard of Dirk Plunger but by an amazing coincidence, just happened to have their left index finger up their right nostril and their right hand thumb in their left ear. Obviously this could cause tremendous confusion.
When several club members met in the street we would often go off to our secret headquarters, which was in fact an old garden shed, here we would discuss the latest episode and show off pictures of Dirk we had collected from comics. Of course these were far more innocent times. Nowadays, if a strange man approaches you in the street with his finger up his nose and suggests you follow him to his secret headquarters to view his Dirk Plunger collection, I strongly advise you to resist the temptation.
Anyway this is Steve signing off, and remember folks, be good to old people and animals, unless of course you meet an old person with a pit bull terrier. Then its probably wise to just cross the street.