I was sitting at my desk today, doing some work and trying to mind my own business. Some colleagues sitting across from me were talking about Roman roads. I don’t know why, they just were.
Against my better judgement, I decided to elbow my way into their conversation: “Is that Roman roads you’re talking about?” I asked, rhetorically. “Do you know that substantial parts of one of Birmingham’s major ‘A’ roads – the A38 – follow the course of a famous Roman road? Between Worcester and Birmingham – and again between Lichfield and Derby – the A38 follows a route built by Roman invaders over two thousand years ago.”
There was a pause. I did that to prime them for the punchline:
“Of course, back in those days the Romans didn’t call it the A38. They called it the A XXXVIII.”
The sudden outbreak of silence distracted everyone.