It's disconcerting to turn around on a busy tube train, in the pursuit of a fresher source of air, to find yourself confronted by a version of... well... you.
On the Jubilee Line last week, one of my fellow commuters had a badge pinned to her bag which bore an uncanny hand-drawn likeness to yours truly, Miss Jones of south-east London. It gave me quite a start. Not exactly like looking in a mirror – I have a Dickensian pallor, this much is true, but my face isn't actually grey. These are minor details, though. I firmly believed it to be a deliberate portrait of me.
Now, of course, if my life was a film, the camera would pan with me as I slowly turned round to see another badge with my face on it, several feet away, perhaps on the lapel of some emo kid's beaten up blazer. I turn some more, and see myself on a cotton resuable shopping bag. Another 30º, and there I am again, and again, on a bobble hat, on a satchel, on a scarf. I. Am. Everywhere. Everywhere, there is me. The world is me.
Sadly, my life is not a film, and I think we all know that is Hollywood's loss.
Still, someone had seen fit to create a badge with my face on it. That means that the person who I stood very near to last week is attempting to create some kind of Cult Of Miss Jones. It wouldn't appear to be going massively well since, currently, no one else seems to be sporting the official Miss Jones badge, despite the fact that she has almost certainly – no, definitely, most definitely – made 500 of them and, at the time of manufacture, was keenly anticipating a repeat order. Probably there is a box of them in her hall which she bumps into every time she's putting her coat on as she leaves for work, all of an a.m. hurry. Probably she lies awake at night wondering when the others will see the light – and also see her elaborate city-wide poster campaign featuring my face and the words 'She is coming to save us' – and join her. Come to think of it, I haven't even seen those posters, so she really needs to roll her sleeves up and crack on with the mass publicity.
It's probably a good job she didn't turn around and see me. Who knows what would have happened. Exultation? Speaking in tongues? I can barely have a wash and do my own jeans up first thing in the morning, let alone deal with a weeping fanatic falling at my feet in a train carriage somewhere between Westminster and Green Park. What I – and she – would really like to know at this point is this: why EXACTLY isn't the Cult Of Miss Jones catching on? Why does she have 500 unused badges in a box in her hall? Why, as cult figures go, am I a cult figure? I am a cult figure squared, and I don't much like it.
I think I need to perform some kind of miracle to truly build my profile. But what? Hmm. I can't swim, but maybe that's because my natural inclination when it comes to water is to walk on it – and I just never realised before. Do let me know if you have a miracle you would like me to perform in order that I can join the ranks of more high-profile cult leaders. You will win a Cult Of Miss Jones badge, and your chosen feat of amazement actioned.*
To be continued.
*You will not win this.