The story of Inky Jim Jinkers should be one known to every schoolboy in the land. It is a story of commitment, love and, in the end addiction. As tales go, it is both romantic and cautionary. By rights, Jim Jinkers should be as famous to British people as Sir Winston Churchill or Henry VIII.
Jim Jinkers was born in 1971 to Terry and Sheila Jinkers, both shepherds. Like many people of his generation, Inky Jim was of the last intake of school pupils to have an inkwell on their desk in the classroom. During a rainy lunch break early in 1977, a friend of Jinkers' made Jim a fateful dare - I dare you to drink that ink.
From that day, he was hooked. By the end, he was drinking up to 12 bottles of ink a day, but in the early stages (as is so often the case) it seemed like his ink drinking habit was manageable, sociable. The odd blue wee aside, Jim did not start to show any ill effects until his final year at university in 1992, when all his teeth fell out. A graduate position at Parker Pens in Newhaven, East Sussex, did little to help his condition. Now a helpless addict, Jim was dismissed after 18 months when he was caught mainlining ink cartridges during tea breaks.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy of Jim Jinkers' short life, however, was that his ink drinking drove many women away. Jinkers' lot was a lonely one, and after the death of his father in 2001, he found himself living alone and with no-one to reign in his baser drives. By 2005 Jim was bathing in ink and waking up with a shot glass of Quink on his bedside table.
Now heavily in debt and farting brown clouds, Jim Jinkers found himself on the street for the last 12 months of his life, rooting through bins for discarded ballpoint pens and licking free newspapers at the recycling dump. His growing ink blindness was what finally accounted for him, accidentally drinking a bottle of India Ink rather than his favoured water soluable brands, which turned his colon into a Rorschach Test.
There is much that we can learn from the sad, short life of Jim Jinkers. Chief amongst these lessons, surely, is that you should not drink ink.
"Inky" Jim Jinkers, 19th January 1971 - 19th November 2009.