Too much too young

June 27, 2014

I was very pleased to get a copy of ‘The Oldie’ for my birthday, but one thing worries me: am I too young for it? I hope so; there are not many experiences I am too young for these days. If I keep worrying about this, maybe I will mysteriously start to feel younger.

I shouldn’t be doing this! I’m too young, I’m too young! Much too much, much too young

Yes, that’ll work.

The issue I have been given may become a collector’s item: it was the last one edited by Richard Ingrams.


‘The density of accident and circumstance’

June 26, 2014

It was my birthday yesterday. Here are some thoughts on the age I have reached:

He had come to that moment in his age when there occurred to him, with increasing intensity, a question of such overwhelming simplicity that he had no means to face it. He found himself wondering if his life were worth the living; if it had ever been. It was a question, he suspected, that came to all men at one time or another; he wondered if it came to them with such impersonal force as it came to him. The question brought with it a sadness, but it was a general sadness which (he thought) had little to do with himself or with his particular fate; he was not even sure that the question sprang from the most immediate and obvious causes, from what his own life had become. It came, he believed, from the accretion of his years, from the density of accident and circumstance, and from what he had come to understand of them. He took a grim and ironic pleasure from the possibility that what little learning he had managed to acquire had led him to this knowledge: that in the long run all things, even the learning that let him know this, were futile and empty, and at last diminished into a nothingness they did not alter.

From Stoner, pp. 184-5. One page further on, we find this:

He was forty-two years old, and he could see nothing before him that he wished to enjoy and little behind him that he cared to remember.


‘The power of burger’

June 25, 2014

‘Kweek – ze poweuurrrh of beurrrgeeeuurrrhhh’. That is a rather alarming slogan. Especially when you are listening to it over and over again while on hold to the company’s HQ. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last five minutes.


Working from home

June 23, 2014

I suspect anyone who works from home will be able to relate to this:

… my entire daytime social circle is comprised of Jehovah’s Witnesses, fish sellers from Newcastle, postmen with packages for next door, charity muggers holding clipboards and reformed criminals selling dustcloths.*

I had a visit from some Geordie fish sellers just last week. Luckily I’d noticed their van earlier in the day, while I was taking my son to school, so I knew it wasn’t worth answering the door. It was quite a half-hearted knock in any case. I could tell they weren’t really expecting anyone to be in. Although this may be because our house looks as if it has been abandoned for many years. When we die, ‘haunting’ photos of the interior will probably appear in a national newspaper.

This list could in fact be much longer; it could include people wanting to ‘persuade’ you to change energy supplier, cut down some trees for you, put in new windows, insulate your loft… who says working at home is dull and lonely? Every time you answer the door, a new adventure could be just about to start.

How to be a husbandTim Dowling, Fourth Estate 2014, p79


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