Looking back over what I can remember of my chequered career, the incidents which stand out with the greatest and most appaling clarity are the ones involving the highest degree of buttock-clenching embarrasment.
The one which stands out particularly as being the sort of incident which - if I wrote it into a sitcom script - would be most obviously cut as contrived and implausible, happened when a student couple, both of whom I knew well, split up.
I was in my flat attempting to deal telephonically with a terrible crisis which had befallen a language student friend, and to cope with which I had to buy them a plane ticket home from their 'year abroad', when there was a knock at the door.
It was a tearful young lady - let us call her Beatrix for the sake or argument - who informed me that she had just chucked her boyfriend, an acned youth (let us call him Rodney) whose relationship with the sweet and extremely pretty Beatrix was a mystery to all. "Go and have a seat in the living room", I told her, "I'll be with you in a moment."
I then reapplied myself to the intricacies of coping with the multiple-choice button-pressing telecommunications nightmare that was the BA booking line in the early 90s, when I was interrupted once more by a knock at the door.
I gurgled helplessly as Rodney strode in, saying "I've just split up with Beatrix, I need a drink..." and made his own way to the living room. It was a good 10 minutes before I could join them, during which I gather silent recrimination was the order of the day.
Both eventually forgave me, though never each other, curiously enough.