Hey guys. Barbara Tresemmé’s the name, a failed career in public speaking’s the game. You might remember me from the riotously popular article ‘The Secret to Success’. Well, it’s been two years since then, and I still don’t have your bloody answer so stop bloody asking me, okay? What I do have is a sorry tale to chill your bones…

I was sitting morosely in the print room café, dragging my toe across the floor with wanton idleness. I had just been bodily thrown out of that hotel opposite IOE for trying to deliver a lecture on how it was aliens what done the pyramids to a group of disgruntled historians. It looked like the final nail in the coffin – or dare I say, sarcophagus – of my career as a motivational speaker.

When lo, my friend, Schnitzel Schauser scuttled up to me. “What?” I said. “Guess what?” said Schnitzel. “What?” I bellowed. “I’ve got just the thing to cheer you up,” he said. “Biscuits!” This was good news. Good news indeed. “What kind?” quipped I. “Blackcurrant puffs and party rings,” said Schnitzel. My face darkened. “Those are the two worst choices in biscuit you could possibly have made.” Young Schnitzel cowered. “I know,” he said. “I was in a rush when buying them. I panicked.”

Hob Knobs. Jaffa Snakes. Anything – anything would have been better. I put my head in my hands and shook it repeatedly. After about forty minutes of this, Schnitzel piped up. “Barbara, you are not a very good friend,” he said. Then he turned on his heel and departed.

That was the last I ever saw of Schnitzel. His parting words made me realise something: I am not a very good friend.
I’d been career-less for some time. I was often biscuit-less. But I had never been Schnitzel-less until then. It made me realise how much I needed him and how much I had failed to ’preciate him. Thus ensued my annus horribilis. I bounce atop my rock bottom, calling for Schnitzel, yet he cometh not.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is, no matter the turbulence that will come this year, don’t lose sight of what really matters. Don’t be like me (Barbara): too tied up in my quest to spread tired conspiracy theories whilst also motivating the masses to realise their dreams that I shunned my only friend.

Yes, maybe all he had was blackcurrant puffs and party rings, but those humble biscotti would have been a life raft through the steaming hot mug of failure in which I’m now drowning.