[It was Madame X's birthday the other week. This prompted recollections of my painful three-and-a-half-year rebuffed infatuation. Well, one recollection in particular.]
Pingu was in snowy black-and-white. Quaintly appropriate for a cartoon penguin. But her daughter protested. She missed the richly rendered hues of his igloo home, the jolly stripes of his knitted hat and scarf. A colourless Pingu distressed her, blighted her soul's joy with its hint of many other unfathomable not-rightnesses in the world she would grow into.
Calling one afternoon for tea - self-invited; as pushy as I dared to get - I applied myself to the problem of the TV set, the colour TV that showed only black-and-white. The remote control - product of illogical aliens, and profusely labelled in their arcane script - was a daunting puzzle. I tried this, and that, and the other thing. I tried everything I could think of, twice.
And then, through persistence more than cunning, I finally cracked the riddle. The screen glowed with colours again: little Pingu once more had a red bill and orange feet, and waddled happily beneath a blue sky.
The daughter was ecstatic. The mother offered me another cup of tea.
I wonder sometimes, will her daughter - the daughter that I craved for my own - one day remember me only as The Man Who Fixed The Telly?