A Case Of IGS*


*Imaginary Guilt Syndrome. I did warn you about these ‘conditions‘. I’m pretty sure this is a real one though and will be discovered soon. It’s like that time I told everyone that certain noises make me want to shove my head in a bucket of water or punch somebody and they laughed and they laughed and then BOOP – here’s Mysophonia. (That’s a real condition which causes the previously described behaviour. I didn’t invent it. Trust me, it’s Google-able).

I think we have all felt it. That sinking feeling in your guts when you are pretty sure you didn’t do something, but you also think maybe you did and suddenly you aren’t sure of anything any more and hand yourself into the police. IGS once saw me end up in a police station interview room saying “I’m pretty sure I didn’t but if I did, I am so sorry and will accept my punishment“. But that’s a whole different story.

This one’s more like the time I went to the cinema, alone, on a Sunday morning (YAY, my life!) with my own sweets in my bag. After buying my ONE ticket, and heading straight to the screen, the girl at door said: “You don’t want anything to eat? Not even a drink?“. And my heart raced and my face got hot and my palms sweated and I wanted to throw my hands in the air and scream “It was ME! I did it! Take me away!“. But instead I mumbled something about having a MASSIVE bowl of porridge with jam and then a banana and a coffee for breakfast and being so full I could explode.

I feel extra details make it more believable. I could be wrong though.

Anywho. I’m living in Germany at the moment. Hallo! Want to hear a funny German word? Nacktschnecke. That means ‘naked snail’. So essentially a slug. Isn’t learning fun? 

I’m doing an Integration Course. You know, making myself a functioning member of society and all that. I thank you very much. There are lots of people from all over the world joining me in this mission – from Poland, Syria, Slovakia, Turkey, Brazil, Thailand and more. Today we got to talking about cultural differences. It ended up focusing on how British people are overpolite, don’t interrupt and apologise all.the.time.

Sorry, but that’s just utter bollocks, if you’ll pardon my French.

Side note: why do we always blame France when we swear? Google says we basically just try to disguise our rudeness as another language. I guess somewhere down the line someone said, “I say old chaps, I would very much like to use profanities but I fear it’s not very Brit-like. I think we should pretend we’re not really sure what we are saying and say it’s, oh I don’t know, (plucking a country from his brain tentacles) French!” and the others all said, “That’s fucking spiffing Joffrey, if you’ll pardon my French!“. And they laughed and they laughed. (Lots of laughing and laughing today)

Now, I know that I apologise too much. But I’d rather cover my back than ever be accused of being rude. Selfish much. But I hadn’t realised it was quite such an obvious trait of us Brits, or I should say renowned trait. Maybe everyone else should join the movement and we all just walk around saying sorry for things we didn’t do. Wouldn’t the world be a happier place?

I’m getting off track. The point is, this came up in school today, just one day after my friend told me a story of a great example of IGS. Like, seriously.

So she’s taken her Chicken Pox infested (doesn’t sound nice at all. Chicken Pox ridden? Sick with Chicken Pox? You get it.) daughter out for a jolly around the shops to cheer her up and distract her from the red blobs (I am assuming this was the general goal).

She lives in Gibraltar. I’ve never been but I hear good things – except for the monkeys which seem to rule the land by stealing food and biting small children. I mean, if she’s happy, great. But Planet Of The Apes was a scary movie guys, just saying.

She told me: “I was in a shop earlier and the worker was full-on following me round.”

*Full-on. Not just a little bit followy (if that’s a word) but like, breathing on your neck – I imagine. Unless this is just her BA (British Angst) coming through and they were really just stacking a nearby shelf and she was like, “Oh shit, I look shady” (Sorry France!) or something.

“Obv (obviously*) I wasn’t going to steal. I had my daughter with me! But I felt like I had to prove it”, she said.

That’s right folks, she felt she had to PROVE that she was not stealing. I must admit, I have had these moments before. It’s not easy leaving a shop without buying anything, that awkward “Cheers then!“. Cheers? For what? Letting me parade around your stuff I don’t want?

She continued: “And so, in order to PROVE myself not to be a thief, I bought my daughter a doctors outfit. Out of imaginary guilt.”

She purchased something she had absolutely no need or lust for out of fear of being accused of being a thief because she didn’t want to buy anything in the first place.

Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous? I can’t think of anything that so perfectly sums up the British’isms than this.

However, I reckon there’s a good moral to this story (if it can be called such. It can because I just asked myself if it can and myself said yes.).

Open a shop in a British holiday spot so that word can’t spread around England (cus, you know, we love to drink tea and talk about shop signs) and stick a sign on the exit door* that reads:


Hire someone to follow people around and watch the money roll in.


*not the entrance because we don’t want to deter anxy Brits from coming in.



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