Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pensive mood

"When oft I sit in pensive mood..." as the poet would have it - a state of affairs, incidentally, which I find myself in at the crack of dawn every morning. I get up at some ungodly hour every day for no other reason than that my eyes are open. I normally make myself a cup of tea and a fag then sit there listening to, and completely ignoring, Radio Four. Well, it makes me feel a bit intellectual and I find the drone somewhat comforting.

This morning was no different. I crawled out of my pit at six-fifteen ack emma and, after I had completed the tea-making ceremony (it'll never catch on in Japan), and had my fag going at a satisfactory level (I do it for the coughing you know), I found myself staring out of the window while some female on the radio told me about black-faced sheep running around the Yorkshire hills. I wasn't actually seeing anything out of my window - there's not much to see beyond the sky and a steel fence. Still! The sky is a long way away - how far does anyone need to see?

I got to thinking about days of yore - I do that a lot. In fact I think it is a common trait - the older we get, the more we think on the past. Let's have it right, we are comfortable in the past - we know what happened and no surprises. The future we are not so sure about - there isn't much of it for a start.

So, there was I, thinking about the past. I got thinking about those I have known and who I will never see again - and before anyone starts to think that I am going to go off on some maudlin or mawkish trawl of misery, I'm not. I just mentioned that in passing because it took me to mistakes, bad decisions and poor choices, stupid ideas and even sillier remarks and actions. 

Let me put it this way - I've made mistakes. But who hasn't? In this life our mistakes are the only things we can lay full, undisputed claim to. Show me a man or woman - or the ambigous come to that - who hasn't, at some stage or point, said to themselves, "If I had known then what I know now..." and I will show you a person with all the regrets that I have myself. On the other hand, show me someone who says they have NOT said that and I will show you a bleedin' liar.

We all make mistakes. From the moment we begin making decisions the mistake count starts to rise, and goes on rising until the day we hand in our dinner pail and they nail down the coffin lid. We can't change the past and, as I have said before many times, not even God can change the past. All we can do is our best for the future, whatever time may be left to us.

I'm sixty-four years old this year and I could shuffle off long before my allotted three score and ten. On the other hand, I could live well into my nineties, who knows? But however much longer I have got, I hope I can keep my mistakes and poor decisions down to a bare minimum - and hope that I don't cause too much misery and upset as I do it. All things being equal I should be okay and hopefully not make too many errors in judgement. I've learned a couple of things over the years. I have a certain amount of experience in the game of life, shall we say.

Of course I can't factor in certain things such as the actions or decisions of others, that's always a problem. But - and with me there is always a "but" - one thing I have to be aware of at all times is my old girlfriend Lady Luck. She of the big boots and habit of swinging her handbag at passing pigeons. All of my life that ould bag has been lurking and hovering in the shadows, waiting for me to feel complacent or good about things. Then she simply polishes up the ould toecaps, takes careful aim and... WHAM! Right in the testacularities. Then, as I writhe in agony on the floor, she gives me one of her smiles and says, "Oh good, I thought I'd missed!"

Well let me tell you something, petal, you've never missed, not once in sixty-three years have you missed. Haven't you got someone else you'd rather kick? The novelty must be wearing off a bit by now.

Finally I will finish, as I have done before, with a perfect description of my luck:

If Dolly Parton had triplets, and I was one of them, I'd be the one who got the bottle.
The Voice In The Wilderness

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