Paul came over. He brought a packet of Bourbon Creams. As a household, we are a little obsessed by Bourbon Creams. He was acting only in our best interests. It was a really nice thing to do. People so rarely bring gifts when visiting nowadays. Whether he brought the Bourbons as a means of being more quickly accepted as “one of us”, or whether he brought them purely out of a selfless urge to please is not up for debate. The reason behind the Bourbon gift is not important. Only the fact of the gift matters. He brought the Bourbons into our home for us to enjoy. What a lovely man.
But when it comes to Bourbon Creams, there is a definite hierarchy, with Asda’s basic Bourbons vying for first place with Morrisons own yellow-and-white packaged offerings, and all others falling elsewhere on the ladder of Bourbon Greatness. Right at the bottom, under tumble-dryer lint and dry cream crackers, come Londis Bourbons. They are not even proper Bourbons. They are from the school of “Custard Cream-shaped Bourbons”, which some biscuit-makers believe is acceptable. These biscuit-makers are wrong. The true Bourbon is a rectangular affair, not a squat, pudgy “pretend” rectangle. It was Bourbons of the Londis variety that Paul innocently brought into our house.
Even from a glimpse of the packaging, we could all tell what he had done. None of us wanted to make eye contact, all of us hoping he had just got a bit hungry on the journey over here, and had absent-mindedly picked up the closest packet of biscuits to hand and bought them to eat on his way home. Glances shot around the room, willing him not to say the words he said anyway: I know you all like Bourbons, so I brought you a packet!
At this, we had to smile and say Thank You. We forced ourselves to focus on the gesture, not the faux pas. You could hear a pin drop. As a vegan, I was excused from the obligatory eat-a-Bourbon-gratefully scenario that followed. They are one of only two brands of Bourbons I’ve found that manage to be not vegan. I was thankful of my vegan-ness. Everybody else had to chomp away “happily” on the gift Bourbons.
It was after a small bout of this chomping that Paul realised the Bourbons he had brought were, in fact, quite horrible. He was the first to say it, which was a great relief to everyone else. They pulled hankies from pockets and spat Bourbon mush into them almost immediately. And then we laughed. And Paul apologised. And we forgave him. And we all laughed some more.
And then we sang this song:
Paul came over.
Paul is a nice guy.
But he brought the wrong Bourbons.
And it made us cry.
Paul came over.
He was wearing a vest.
He didn’t mean to bring bad Bourbons.
He was trying his best.
(Nobody actually cried, and Paul wasn’t wearing a vest.)