Can you do me a favour?

I hate this expression, it fills me with fear and dread of what is going to follow.

A favour is a request, probably unreasonable, by someone who wants something and either doesn’t want to pay for it or can’t be bothered to do it themselves.

A favour is different from someone asking for help, help is generally given to friends without condition and won’t be expected to reciprocated. The favour somehow carries a light hearted notion of it being an entirely reasonable request, and to refuse is a social faux pas – That’s the difference.

The human race is split into two camps. Askers and Doers. Askers ask favours and a Doer somewhere will end up doing it, in the Doers spare time, probably costing the Doer something.

Askers request favours from Doers like me because they know from my nervous and indecisive personality that I can be guilted into pretty much anything short of armed robbery.

I don’t want to go to B&Q and buy a spade, so I’ll just borrow one from a Doer and not bother to return it, which means it’ll still be there when I want to use it again. Then when the Doer needs to use it on a Saturday afternoon and reasonably requests it back for the fifteenth time, I won’t answer my phone or I’ll raise my eyebrows and make him feel like a petty minded cunt.

That’s it, Something for nothing.

Jesus! Are you still banging on about that poxy drill you lent me god knows how long ago? If I realised it’d be this much hassle I’d have brought one myself

And there we have it.

The word Favour is banded about all too liberally and for some it slips off the tongue effortlessly with the stream of lies which it accompanies.

Hey Alan, listen buddy, can you do us a favour and sort this out on our website. If you sort that favour out for us then I’ll consider that quote you sent me last week.

Notice the use of the word ‘us’ and ‘consider’. Note also that fucking tedious ‘Business’ trick of offering something at the end of a request. In this scenario the favour is free work, and the return favour will be to ‘consider’ a quote for the very work he’s asking as a favour. When I suggest that the favours maybe turn into paid work – Tumbleweed, the cheap pinstriped Asker with the stupid white teeth and cheeky loveable grin moves onto the next Doer.

Any freelancer will be familiar with the ‘Business Favour’, photographers, designers and especially musicians.

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You know you wont get it back, but you do it anyway.

It’s not like the favour will ever be repaid because Doers don’t ask for favours. They’ll just do it themselves. This means that the Asker never have to repay those favours, all they have to do is continue to explore the pool of Doer mugs who will oblige through fear of offending.

I used to hang about with my then girlfriends Uni crowd in the mid 90s. There was this one Asker, ended up getting a job on Virgin Trains, borrowed £40 from my kind and generous Doer girlfriend. He just didn’t want to pay the money back and justified his actions by pulling that stupid face where the chin drops back, the eyebrows raise and the head rolls sideways in a circular motion. Selfish fucking student hippy, never brought a round, crossed his legs and smoked Cutters Choice.

And the final nail in the favour coffin, and a killer of an irony, is that by doing a favour I always end up feeling awkward. Worried that the favour won’t be up to scratch, concerned about how I appear when I ask for that not insignificant sum of money back that I couldn’t afford to lend in the first place.

The stupidity of the Doer is laughable, especially to the Asker who revels in the decent but foolish naivety.

Askers suggest that the Asker is the eventual winner and that’s just the way it is in the natural order of things. Maybe that’s true, but I’m not going to stop being a Doer through fear of becoming an Asker.

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