Chasers of penguins

April 27th, 2008 at 7:26 pm by james

The Army taught me to sweep. Well, in truth the Army taught my Father to sweep and he taught me which I suppose is not quite the same thing. Many of my generation missed that particular life-lesson, but I didn’t. The Army also broke my Father’s front tooth so that he had to stick it back in with superglue before a speaking engagement when I was 17 so really I’m rather glad. That I missed that particular life-lesson I mean. I’m sure if the Army had taught me to drink my taste wouldn’t run to the kinds of fine red wine that it does. I don’t know whether that would have been a good thing or not. I have a friend who spent considerable time around the time I was born setting up radio outposts in the Far East whilst a member of the One Tonne Club, drinking a hundred pints a week. Would I feel culturally deprived? Would I feel anything at all? Probably not with my body mass.

Missing things is intriguing. I miss a lot of different things, usually in a very non-specific longing sort of way. Some are things that happened to me, some are things I made happen, some are things that never happened. Very occasionally I miss a person. I miss different things on different days. Most days I don’t miss anything at all which makes me wonder if I’m ever missing anything.

What I miss most today is going down the pub to watch the World Cup. An entire nation of fanatics would pack into that pub every afternoon. We’d groan together, hold our breath together and jump up and down screaming together. A school chaplain once taught that that sort of behaviour is OK – just not in a group. He didn’t understand football.

I have had cause over the last few weeks to think a little about what we chase and why we chase it and whether, while chasing our tails like itchy dogs, we’re perhaps accomplishing something that might be objectively considered to be useful. On the side. By mistake as it were. I don’t think we are. I think if we want to achieve something useful we have to mean to. And then if we really want to achieve something useful we have to.

One Response to “Chasers of penguins”

  1. Ben Says:

    A watershed moment I wonder?

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