Are You Sorry You Never…?

Yes. and no. When I consider the possibilities of what I might have done…or had done to me…I figure it is about a draw. I have never been as happy or as miserable as I might have been. Not that I did not try.

We can all remember chances we could have taken that would have resulted in vast wealth, fabulous sex, and untold acclaim.  The land we could have bought for a song, the partner we could have bedded, the position we could have stood for and won. But we have to be honest – if we pass the same period of time through our memory we can also list junk bonds and properties that we passed by, people who have turned out really rotten, and ventures that have proven to be toxic to all concerned. If we missed some, we at least avoided the others.

It’s been a constant meme that the saddest phrase is ” If Only…” but this is a crock. The wise person remembers the mixture of events and benefits greatly from the warm glow – in some cases of nostalgia and in the other of burning wrecks. In both cases you benefit from being far away and long after. Just remember the dumb thing and do the smarter thing next time.

But, but, but…what if there is no next time? What if you fetch up on the wrong side of 70 and all the bikini girls are 18? And what if there is no more land in Dalkeith for 5 Pounds? And you have retired from the Association Of Veeblefetzers long before you could become president and reap the bribes? How can you stop the gnaw of regret? Easy. Remember then, if you wish, and then look at now realistically.

Talk to an 18 year-old. If you can get them out of their iPhone long enough. Ask them about music or the movies. Be prepared to grit your teeth and/or other parts of your anatomy at some of the answers. Let’s face it – you’ll be lucky to resist the urge to order the kid off your lawn!

Fabulous land bargains? They come with fabulous land taxes and/or dealing with contractors to develop the dirt. They are the start of decades of worry, culminating in the fear of capital gains tax. You’ll get a six-foot plot of land soon enough…

Position and power? Over whom? The sort of people who have meetings, seminars, and workshops? The committees and subcommittees? The Annual General Meeting? You could wash out stale yoghurt containers and have more fun than occupy most powerful executive positions.

So do not regret. Leave that to others. If you enter into the thing at all, opt for being the person who makes them sorry for it all.




Reconciliation – Or What To Do When Crying Fails


We all have to face a problem in the end…sometimes we cannot have what we want. The job, candidate, possession, or love that we desire is denied us and no amount of outrage, passion, complaint, or demand will deliver it. We are out of luck. SOL, as they say in Medicine Hat…

Some go into a real decline over this sort of thing. They give themselves over to a lifetime of complaint and sadness and never seem to recover well enough to lead functional lives. There are volumes dedicated to this sort of thing in the Victorian Novel section of your library. They are very sad.

Others realise that futility is…well…futile. They may not drop their desires but they do stop making ineffectual gestures. They stop drawing the attention of the cheap press and…not surprisingly…stop drawing the contempt of the general public onto themselves.

The best types respond with a realisation that they may have to change their desires. New ideas might have to be formulated if they are to get back into the swing of things. They might even come to the conclusion that some of the things they thought they wanted were wrong – and not getting them is a boost their future.

Is this me? Is this you? Is it your friend on Facebook that has been moaning for the last three years about something?

Well, I’m going to ditch the desires that will never come true and go for the ones that have a chance. I’m not ashamed of wanting the things I once wanted, but if all those desires are ever going to be to me is a source of future pain, I would be a fool to keep grasping them so tightly. So…good bye to them. I will make friends with the things I can actually do, have, and achieve.

That’s a load off the mind, eh?

I Think That I Shall Never See…


A poem lovely as a Pharisee…

Hang on, that can’t be right. Let me check my notes.

No, here it is. Clear as a cow horn. Pharisee.  But Wiki says they were members of an ancient Jewish sect who were very strict and had superior sanctity. Can’t see how that would…oh, wait…the next line is applicable to modern-day; it says that the term refers to a self-righteous or hypocritical person. Well, that’s OK. Now we’re on track. Now the poem is fine. Pharisees are indeed lovelier than poetry. I know – I have been looking over the books of poetry in the secondhand bookstore recently.

I didn’t go there for poetry initially – I went to see if they had any P.G. Wodehouse books in. I gave away a seven-volume set of them once and have regretted it ever since – they were a textbook of instruction for etiquette that Emily Post cannot touch. If I ever wanted to know what to do in any social situation, I would consult Jeeves or one of his colleagues. Indeed, if ever I win Lotto I will resist all temptation to spend money on motor cars or yachts and instead will invest in a good manservant. It will not make a gentleman of me, but it will make being boorish bearable.

Back to the bookstore. No Wodehouse right now. No Dashiell Hammett. No Kinky Friedmann. No Ernst Jünger or Anthony Trollope. No naked girl books. It was a desert of paper and I was driven by the hot wind to the poetry section.

Now I like a good poet normally. Ogden Nash. Ulysses S. Grant. Benjamin Disraeli. Something you can get your teeth into, or if you are in the dental trade, someone else’s. But I made the mistake of picking up a modern poet’s work. I cannot say who it was because they appear to still be alive and may have lawyers, but it only took two pages of the book to bring me to the sort of despair that generally drives people to win Medals of Honour. Quite frankly, there would have been no human fate worse than continuing to read that poetry.

I put it back on the shelf and gave the man in the bookshop a small smile. He looked at the title and he knew. He knew. He knew what was on that shelf.

Come to think about it, I think the poem was written by a Pharisee. Probably to punish us for our sins. After reading it I think I am in the negative sin column and can go out and lust or covet or murder a bit to bring things back into balance.