RICHARD ORD: When it comes to news, I’m number 2

There’s a shout across the newsroom. It’s one of my work colleagues: “Hey Richard, this will be perfect for you …”

 I pull my pen from behind my ear and whip out the notebook. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 20 years in this game, it’s that the news industry is an unforgiving beast. There’s no such thing as second place. You’re either first with the news or you lose.  

 There ain’t no prizes for runners up baby, unless you’re a collector of P45s. Well, are ya?

 “Hit me Gary,” I shout, already putting on my coat and scrabbling in my pocket for my car keys. “What gives?”

 Gary’s eyes race across the newswire copy, his news antenna twitching with every fact that bombards his retinas.

 Gary’s brain, honed by years of news ferreting, has already dumped the junk and honed in only on the salient points. He processes the information in a matter of seconds. You can almost hear his synapses fizzing like bonfire night sparklers, before he spits the story out in clear, unfettered newspeak.

“… they’ve opened a poo museum.”

 Terrorist attacks in France! Get John Snow on the next plane outta here; A minister resigns! We need Robert Peston in the studio, now! The Bank of England’s collapsing! Hit me with the double-barrelled news whammy of Kay Burley and Adam Boulton, forget make-up Godammit just turn the colour contrast up to 11. A museum that puts animal excrement on public display! … sounds like a job for Richard Ord.

 “I saw this and thought of you,” says Gary, pointing at a photograph of a man holding up a steaming pile of elephant dung.

 Some people might take offence at that.

 Not me. I’m drawn to the banal like a moth to that old woolly jumper in the back of your wardrobe. Not like a moth to a flame. Old jumpers and flames are equally attractive to a moth, but the jumper is far less dangerous.

 So, like a moth to an old woolly jumper (Not a common expression I grant you, but more accurate. And, in the news world, accuracy it everything), I’m drawn to the weird and not so wonderful.

The National Poo Museum is both.

 I’m surprised it’s taken so long to come into being.

I feel like the last 15 years of my life has been dominated by the stuff. Not so much my own, but my children’s.

 While most people have cherished memories of their child’s first steps, I have a place in my heart for the day my two boys could finally go to the toilet without dad having to clean up after them.

 There is nothing more liberating than children who can wipe their own bottoms.

 On the bottom wiping front they did, however, fall between two stools (so to speak). They either didn’t use enough toilet paper or way too much. There was no happy medium.

 The result was either underpants you had to pick up at arm’s length with a pair of tongs, or a toilet so full of paper you could barely get the toilet lid down.

 Honestly, children’s toilet habits could take up a whole wing of the National Poo Museum.

 I’ll give them a ring and pitch the idea to them. It’s nothing to be sniffed at …

 Wait, there’s Gary again. “Reuters are reporting that the stuffed chimpanzee in a hat and tie stolen last week may have been found.”

 Sounds like a story for you know who …