I had lunch with the washed-up former hack Richard McComb last week, who recently surrendered his shorthand notepad back to the subs desk at this venerable organ.
It's sad to see how quickly those predisposed to infirmity go downhill when they suddenly leave the life they're accustomed to of hard work and daily penitence.
Some purchase a motorbike. Some choose to "find themselves" (urghhh) in South East Asia. My trusty Economist Style Guide tells me not to beat around the bush and declare it as it is: a mid-life crisis.
And so begins poor Dickie's. He's become a suburban vigilante, fighting street crime at night in Harborne. Sadly, I'm not even joking.
He tells me that every week, with almost clockwork regularity, he confronts a gang of assailants who wreak mess and havoc. They attack in the night; anytime between dusk and dawn. They relentlessly rip open bin sacks and strew refuse over the neatly-edged lawns and pavements. They're almost animal.
No wait, Dickie informs me. They actually ARE animals. And, despite my knowledge of his unsoundness of mind currently, I believe him. He's not hallucinating. As I've experienced it too.
Anyone who lives in the suburbs will have heard the strange howls at night. But this ain't some Conan-Doyle mystery (although I'm sure bored housewives throughout the city would welcome me reminding Benedict Cumberbatch *yet again* that he's always welcome round for tea...)
It's urban foxes. That makes them sound glamorous. Edgy. Like they should be running a pop-up street food stall wearing Wayfarers and a ridiculous hat. But they're not. They're just a bloody nuisance.
I live in Sutton Coldfield and see the mess they leave weekly. Countless half-finished Waitrose ready meals, nappy bags and once a whole pineapple -- a putrid, rotten pineapple -- pepper the streets.
In fairness to the city's binmen, they do an admirable job at dealing with the debris. But the problem could be solved by wheelie bins.
I just don't understand the vitriol people have to their introduction? I've listened to the arguments against them and it just leaves me biting my tongue so I don't tell them to fox off.
* David Kuczora is principal consultant at Clive Reeves PR and regional chairman of PRCA FrontLine. He sits on the City Centre committee of Birmingham Future.