My 53,698 Olympic tickets

The Jewish Chronicle Online, 25/03/2011

Although my Grandpa Harry was a professional runner (as in bookie’s) I’ve never been the sporty type. So nobody was more surprised than me that when Big Ben struck midnight last Monday, I was in my pyjamas hunched over the computer, clicking onto the Olympics ticket site at the very second it went live.

I hadn’t believed the organisers when they said tickets weren’t being allocated on a first across the line basis: it’s the Olympics!

That’s what the whole thing’s about, isn’t it?

I typed in my password: ‘rejected’.

I tried again: ‘not recognised’.

I spent the next hour in an unsuccessful attempt to get recognition.

I finally went to bed but I couldn’t sleep.

“Why? Why? Why me? Was it antisemitism? (Have I been reading the JC too much?) Was my password, Goldenbergerfeldersteiner, too Jewish?

I went downstairs again. I got accepted and suddenly I was in the world of the Olympics.

Three hours later, exhausted, I just made it to the checkout counter to find that somehow I’d applied for 53,698 seats in the Olympic stadium. My total bill was just over £5million.

” I got carried away,” I told my daughter, Lily, on the phone.

“It’s addictive. I just kept clicking on ‘add to shopping cart’. I didn’t even know what that meant; I never go shopping. But I did manage to get us 1593 tickets for taekwondo.What is that by the way?”

“But what if you get the lot!? You do realise they’ll make you pay for ALL of them?”

I didn’t know that.

I rang the Olympic ticket office.

“We’ve been wondering where they’d all gone”, Kevin said.

“I just got caught up in the Olympic excitement, Kevin.”

” I think you’ve just broken the record, sir” he said.

“Any chance of a medal?”

” I’m afraid not .”

He said I could withdraw my order.

“Please wait a week or two before trying again, sir…just to give other people a chance first.”

Later I showed my friend Lol my printout.

“Why didn’t you just book the whole stadium and sit there all by yourself? Why no Royal box?”

“It wasn’t available.”

“You do know that I know the girl who’s running the whole thing, don’t you?”

“You know the woman running the whole Olympics and you never mentioned it?”

” I’ve known her since she was 4. She did Beijing. Um, not Beijing…the one before Beijing, she was involved with Beijing a bit, but she did everything for the one before that one.

“Lagos? Was it Lagos? Anyway, she’d do anything for me.”

“Great!.. so you can get me the tickets?”

“Oh, I don’t know about that.”