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Leaving and What’s Left Behind


To be in an age; not of it.

A relatively long life has given me many things. Friends (a handful is sufficient, thanks). Experiences aplenty and, fortunately, many of them have been shared with the friends just mentioned. Possessions, to be sure; I’m knee deep in stuff, but they present their own special problems. What I value most at present are the questions proposed by life each day—each day that I’m willing to engage it, that is. Twilight sharpens their focus, somehow, into matters both of leaving and of what is left behind. That’s what happens when there is more sand in the bottom of the hourglass than the top. I’ll need a little more time to work them out. In the meantime, consider the finale of “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life”:

Lady Presenter: Well, that’s the end of the film. Now, here’s the meaning of life.

[She is handed a gold-wrapped booklet.]

Lady Presenter: Thank you, Brigitte.

[She clears her throat, then unwraps and examines the gilt booklet.]

Lady Presenter: Well, it’s nothing very special. Try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations. And, finally, here are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to hopefully spark some sort of controversy, which it seems is the only way these days to get the jaded, video-sated public off their fucking arses and back in the sodding cinema. Family entertainment? Bollocks. What they want is filth: people doing things to each other with chainsaws during tupperware parties, babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay presidential candidates, vigilante groups strangling chickens, armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats. Where’s the fun in pictures? Oh, well, there we are. Here’s the theme music. Goodnight.

I have had several experiences of late that have brought me low; into that range where I should, by any sensible measure, be prevented from access to devices like this. Indeed, I have achieved that level of down-ness that I’m likely to write a letter. So be very afraid that your address is in my rolodex.


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