Saturday, March 20, 2010

Even the weariest river

A load of bulls

Why is it (and before I go any further, I'd better say that this is a rhetorical question), why is it that every Sunday morning, the second I sit down to my typewriter, my cell instantly turns into Euston Station? I get every oddment and weirdo at my door asking silly questions and generally getting on my wick!

Twiggy arrived - "Hey! Frank! I'm doing fish and chips later on for tea, no bones, they are fillets!"

"I don't care, go away, I'm busy."

Albert arrived - "Hey! Frank! Have you got any milk open?"

"Do I look like Tescos? Bugger off!"

Rob arrived - "Hey! Frank! Is it too early to play snooker?"

"Right!" said I, getting up and going to the door. "I'm locking the door now, goodbye."

So, now I am locked in my cell with the racket of the day going on outside on the wing and I have no idea what I intended to write about. The mind has gone blank - apart from well-filletted fish playing snooker and drinking semi-skimmed milk.

I had a letter from my solicitor yesterday and he seems to have missed the whole point of my attitude toward the CSCP course and the assessment for the same. Yes, I agreed to do it but I never said that I wanted to. I am doing it entirely unwillingly and under protest, but I will do it, much against my better judgement. I do no want to, I HAVE to, to get a tick in the right box - no other reason. Obviously the fact that I want no part of it clearly means that it is all a waste of time because all I will do is point out the stupidity of it all at every opportunity I get, and that won't help anyone. It is insanity to attempt to force any courses of any sort onto people because they will only see them from a resentful standpoint which means that it is all pointless.

Having made a few enquiries into the course (this CSCP lunacy), I can only say that I am not surprised at the high failure rate. As far as I can find out the only purpose served is to give some of the participants nightmares about the violence which the silly trainee psychologists encourage youngsters to boast about. These young men, segregated from female company, these young eagles, the macho crowd, think that they can impress the young women with their tales of heroic violence, most of them not even true! Why the hell would I want to be dragged so far backwards in my personal development? I left all that sort of thing behind me a long time ago. I won't go back for anyone and certainly not for a tick in a box. To be fair, it HAS been said that I will probably be found unsuitable for the CSCP course, because of my age if nothing else, but my general attitude and demeanour clearly demonstrate that I do not need anything like a CSCP course. I hear the participants laughing and joking about it, taking the piss out of the young girls whilst at the same time lusting after them. Why would I be seen as suitable for such insanity?

It's not a case of me being better than anyone else, nothing like that at all, but I do see things differently than the young men see them. Young men see things very differently than us old boys - I know, I used to be a young man and now I'm an old one. I KNOW how time changes things, which is more than the young psychologists can say. They ARE young, they DO still think as a young person and consequently can never understand the changes that time will bring. It's called experience.

I'll finish with a story:
Two bulls in a field, a young bull and an old bull. In the field next door are a herd of cows. One day the young bull says to the old bull, "Hey! Let's take a run at the fence, jump over it and have a bit of fun with one of the cows."
The old bull looks at him and says, "No. Let's take our time, walk round by the gate and have a bit of fun with all of them."

Ah! The wisdom which only comes with experience and age as opposed to the impetuosity of youth. Well, I'm too old and too tired to even walk round by the gate...

The weary river

Charles Swinburne once wrote:

...even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea
It is part of a poem of course - and I'll just mention the fact that Charles wasn't Swinburne's first name, his first name being Algernon. Mind, if my name had been Algernon I might have refused to use it too.

It must be great to have a good name. Why do parents never seem to give any thought to what they saddle infants with as a name? Mr and Mrs Gordon called their son Michael Unwin and wondered why their little boy never had any friends or had difficulty with girls when puberty arrived.

I have always wanted a good name, something interesting like... Rudyard. That's a great name. Or Aloysius. How can anyone fail with a name like Aloysius? Having said that, you wouldn't want either of them if your surname was Taylor - Rudyard Aloysius Taylor, better known as The Rat.

Names have a lot to do with our progress and success or failure in life. I am a firm believer in that.

So, now we come to name selection. Personally I think that each child should, at birth, merely be given an interim name, a sort of family nickname, much like the Russians with their patronym. Then at a certain age, say sixteen, the child should be able to pick the name they want to go through life with.

This brings me to the current practice amongst the youth of today to take on what they call their "street" name, and there are a few beauties amongst them. We see a lot of them in jail, names like "Killer" or "Sniper" or "Nat West" (an interesting one - he got that because he robbed the Nat West Bank - all I can say is that it's a good job he didn't rob Mother Care), "Danger", "Nuke" , "Bullet", and so on - all interesting, I suppose.

However, all of that is completely beside the point. Once again I have let myself get sidetracked. To get back to my original theme - that even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea. It sort of connects with an Arthur Clough sentiment about the tired waves vainly breaking. Well, I am tired, there can be no doubt about that, I am totally and completely dog-tired. I am, in the words of the great philosopher, cream-crackered. A man can only beat his head against a brick wall a finite number of times before he has had enough of the pain. 

When I say I am tired I don't mean that I need a good night's sleep. Oh no, I am not that sort of tired. The weariness I am feeling is that which impregnates deep into our very souls and bones - the tiredness Hercules must have felt at the end of the seven little jobs the Gods sent him to do. But I am still breathing so I am not quite ready to hand in my locker room key, not just yet. I've said it before, they can knock me down but they'll never get me to stay down.

I've just passed my twenty-fourth anniversary in jail - one more to go for the quarter-century, and not a day justified. I wonder how far from the sea my weary river is.

The Voice In The Wilderness

No comments: