Guest Post: The Prime of Mr Joe Ribton – By @gringojoe96 / @josieaefinlay

By Joe Ribton   Josie Finlay


Guest Post: The Prime of Mr Joe Ribton

This week I commissioned a biographical piece from none other than established journalist, fitness icon and meme queen Josie Finlay. I was prepared to write a heartfelt scab about returning to touch rugby this week after several years side-lined with a pretty shit injury. A real descent from 16 year old athlete to relatively unfit 21 year old, preparing to make the come back of his life so far. Josie has that cutting journalistic tone that gets straight to the truth, concerning herself with every detail of my life up until this very moment, everything herein is based on fact, and fact alone…

And there I was, lifted high in the air, fist punching the winter skies, fifteen bulky men screaming my name in ecstasy. My whole body aches, I’m drenched in sweat, and god it feels grrrrrrreat!

**Record scratch**

Yeah, that’s me. Joe Ribton. Touch rugby pro, Egyptologist, and co-creator of Penfold the Predictor, the pension campaign that transformed an entire generation’s financial future. You’re probably wondering how I got here. Well, it wasn’t always this way. Even famous and hot winners like me have to start somewhere.

Let me take you back to the heart of Wimbledon in 1998. A suburb, a front room. It’s just after lunch. A young boy is drawing. (This is me I’m talking about by the way.) Two years old, the world at his feet, a mischievous glint in his eye and really great legs! This particular day is a Tuesday, and it’s raining.

What I drew that day, I would later realise, was my first meme.

This was a visceral response to my mum having served me marmite on toast for lunch, a food that I hate to this day. To be honest I still can’t believe she dared to put the stuff anywhere near me. I’ll be the first to admit that the meme is primitive, but this was before I’d even heard of Comic Sans so you can’t really blame me. Also, I was two. Anyway, I showed it to my mum and needless to say, she wasn’t best pleased.

‘How dare you!’ she fumed, crumpling up the meme into a tightly packed, egg-shaped ball. ‘If you don’t like the food in this house, then you can bloody well go out and buy your own!’ My mum liked to encourage us to be independent from a very young age but even for her this was a bit of a stretch. Pushing a two year old out onto the streets into the wilds of Wimbledon, I ask you! But if it weren’t for that reckless punishment I wouldn’t be the man I am today.

Because as she shoved me out the door and lobbed the crumpled meme after me, the captain of the Wimbledon rugby firsts just happened to be passing my front door. He watched as I one-handedly snatched that hard copy image macro from the air, and he knew he’d seen something special. ‘Good lord, that toddler can really catch!’ he breathed, before getting down on one knee and recruiting me for the team.

And the rest, as they say, is hist. I like to say I was born that wet Tuesday. Every day I thank all the Greek and Egyptian gods for my angry mum, for rainy afternoons, and for memes – even in their most basic form.  

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