Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Well, the postcards have been coming in thick and fast all day, I even had one addressed to Amstelligidnad which I think was from the Readers' Digest mailing dept.

An E C from Maryland writes that communication between two individuals even from the same speech community is but a remote possibility as..."We are, still, at our base liars and spin artists because the communication comes from a brain wrapped in a psyche that seeks, first, self preservation. The moment we open our mouths, we are, therefore, doomed.

There is only one answer:

alcohol, sex, and laughter

generally speaking, in that order."

The moral of this story is...never offer to buy just one drink for Jessica.

A Brigadier J F-S (retd) offered the observation that the sooner "Johnny Foreigner learns to speak the Queen's English, blah...blah...blah..."

Several communications referred to my hovercraft being full of eels and I received numerous invitations to "come back to my place, bouncy-bouncy."

And I also had no idea that people who write in green ink could be so erudite despite their being rather overfond of words beginning with the voiceless bi-labial plosive...pompous, pretentious and piffle being three that regularly caught the eye.

And a B M from England tells me that seeing as how it was my choice to "piss off abroad after taking advantage of the numerous benefits our once proud country has to offer" I deserve everything I get. He's right of course, but not quite in the way he thinks he is.

It was my choice after all, but I don't think I've tried to make a virtue out of it. Strange how we do that sometimes, isn't it? To ascribe qualities and values to the choices we make to allow us to feel in some way superior to the rest of the common herd. One question that immediately springs to mind is, how many of the choices did I make myself and how many were in some way inevitable and another is to what extent do I allow myself to feel smug about them?

Even as a child I remember visiting other people's houses and being appalled that in their bathrooms there should be a different brand of toothpaste or disinfectant than the obviously superior varieties we used at home. The most generous feeling I could ever summon on these occasions was one of pity...forgive them, for they know not the error of their ways.

And then at school and our choice of second foreign language. There we all were, sitting in our German class feeling all progressive and radical compared to those hidebound reactionaries stuck in Latin.

And so it went, Mods or Rockers, Levi's or Wranglers, Stones or the Beatles, Puma or Adidas, at each stage defining ourselves with a precise discrimination as to where we fit and in all of our eyes, we were each of us at the apex, looking down with an ill-disguised disdain at all those unfortunate enough to have made the wrong choices.

And then I grew up and left such childish things behind...or did I?

Well, I'm not so sure. All that I think has changed is my ability to rationalise my choices, to reason my way to superiority. I don't think that my driving a VW Passat Variant (Diesel) makes me in any way a more admirable individual than those peasants in Vauxhalls but it does manifest itself in so many other ways. Let's take political affiliation as an example. Do I think that my being a socialist (even of the champagne variety) and believing in equality of opportunity makes me a better person than those of a bluer hue? Damn right I do. But is my justification for this any different than it was all those years ago when I was confronted with Izal instead of Domestos? I wonder.

Anyway, some choices are just so automatically superior to the alternative as to leave no room whatsoever for argument. I shall sleep soundly tonight in the sure and certain knowledge that I am in all ways a cloth of an altogether finer cut than at least 50% of the entire population of Sheffield. Up the Blades!

Tally ho!

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