Sometimes I Can Be Too Geeky For My Own Good

In which FP measures himself up

A scene from office life: me and Big Dave, sitting at our desks, beavering away. Big Dave is working on building a website around some of the printed advertorial bumpf our PR people have supplied.*

“What’s this font? Any idea?” says Big Dave.

“That’s Gill Sans,” says I, “I’m surprised you didn’t recognise it. It was heavily used by British Railways before they switched to Helvetica in the late 60s.”

“Aaah,” Big Dave replies, “that’s why you know about it.”

Cut to: later on in the day, as I’m sitting in the local chinese takeaway waiting for my order, I’m doing a bit of naval-gazing, pondering the proportions of my body.*** And I suddenly realise that one key dimension of it**** is, roughly, 4 feet, 8.5 inches. The distance between the rails on most railway lines, in other words. Sometimes I really am too geeky for my own good.

* yes, we know this is a horrible way to go about doing things. Our PR people don’t, though. They see themselves as the fount of all design knowledge, and any criticisms** get ignored.

** like “but that looks bloody awful.” We’re not that subtle.

*** Not purely out of self-obsession, you understand, but for a bespoke DIY project I’ve been thinking about.

**** The maximum distance between my wrists, if you’re really bothered. Obviously it’s a rough estimate – I wasn’t sat in the takeaway with a tape measure – but going by Leonardo’s proportions it should be the same as your height (5′ 9″ for me) minus the length of both hands (6.5″ each).

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7 comments on “Sometimes I Can Be Too Geeky For My Own Good”

  1. vee says:


  2. Forest Pines says:

    Oi! I’m not a trainspotter.

  3. vee says:

    yes. you are.

  4. kate says:

    Yeah, but I’m not a grammar nerd, and I’m vaguely mystified by the lack of the second footnote! Like, it’s just a mysterious footnote, not attached to anything in the text!

  5. Forest Pines says:

    The second footnote is attached to the first footnote, though.

  6. Miranda says:

    Im a little moist. Its either because of your geekyness, or because Im now imagining just whats iinvolved in that bespoke DIY project…

  7. Forest Pines says:

    Oh, it’s something fairly simple – I’ll tell you next time I see you online.

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