Passing through a point in time – a point made all too accessible by advancing age – where every ‘ping’ of the mobile phone heralds news of illness or untimely death, I have found myself becoming (you may have noticed) increasingly introspective. I have been writing this blog now for four years: originally once a week, then twice, thrice and occasionally four-ice and five-ice and I have grown accustomed to the ebb and flow of it all. It has always been labelled ‘Humour’ even on the occasions when I knew that it wasn’t funny. I do try, but occasionally I have to get things off my chest. Like Ray Alan, I need to vent. Posting regularly means that I don’t have much scope for writing things that I don’t use. Whatever comes out of my head will find its way, in time, onto your screen. It’s not always ideal, but the only thing I have to offer you, dear reader, is me, and I am very often disappointing.
In order to lift myself from this recent slough of despond (literally shed skin in a lake) I have decided to take a closer look at why I started doing this thing in the first place and also why, as I seem unable to write a decent joke these days, I still do it. The obvious answer is vanity: the narcissism of a man who believes that everyone else wants to know all about him. (Do I mean narcissism or is that a little yellow daffodil?) If I’m honest, if you piece together everything I have written over the last four years – although God knows why you would, you could far more profitably pass your time with a jigsaw of The Haywain – you will find that you know far more about me than you would ever want to know. Having written over half a million words during my tenure – far more than even Jeffrey Archer would lavish on a single subject – I wonder what there is possibly left to tell.
Well, let’s see: I don’t eat meat, I eat far too much chocolate, and the only way you would ever stop me from eating a roasted peanut would be by painting a cute face on it. I drink far too much wine, ditto gin, ditto whisky and I drink far too little water. I am sixty three years of age, frighteningly adjacent to sixty four if I’m honest, and most of my clothes, like my beard and my temper are becoming ragged. I am, none-the-less blessed with huge patience and more empathy than you can shake a stick at – as long as neither is put to the test. As I write this piece I have something in my eye. I can’t see it but it feels like a six foot section of 3”x2”. The only way I can stop it from hurting is to fasten the lid down with a length of sellotape (which I presume should be pronounced seal-o-tape) giving me the impression of being permanently mid-wink. I think the only cure is wine – but, if I’m honest, it is probably the cure for most ills. I have a friend who swears that it is the best cure for a hangover, but I have never dared to try it. Imagine hitting your good thumb with a hammer to cure the fact that you’d just flattened the other accidentally. I am gullible, but not that gullible. (Actually, I am.) I am also the most easily distracted person I know, with the attention span of a… what was the blue fish called in Finding Nemo?
I love people, but am uncomfortable in company and panicky in a crowd. I am very competitive, but I do have a tendency to give in when I’m winning. I love silence outside and hate it inside. Left alone in a house I will often have different music playing simultaneously in three or four rooms, with my mind seemingly able to keep track of them all at the same time. I am tone deaf like Donald Trump is unpleasant (e.g. very). I am what I write and what I intend to write here on in will be happy and definitely not introspective – it will possibly be outrospective – because, I have decided, introspection, like the door to a pub, sucks.
And my favourite word is probably widdle.