How it ends

I’m sure many readers have found themselves wondering when my inevitable demise will spare them from further ruminations on my life and times.  A few may even have considered hastening this happy day – which seems a tad extreme as (I assume) no-one is forced to read this drivel.  However, if there is anyone dressed entirely in orange being subjected to this as an alternative to water-boarding then I apologise unreservedly.

Well, I am sorry to report that despite my “career” in forecasting, I am unable to provide a date and time when the author will shuffle off his mortal coil.  I believe this blindness on the subject of one’s own future is not uncommon among those cursed with the power of prophecy – I seem to recall Cassandra was similarly afflicted, and like me, no-one believed her doom-laden visions of the future either.

I have for some time known the most likely cause of my death: bloody-mindedness (mine, though another’s may also be involved) which whilst it may not be inscribed on the certificate as the actual medical cause of my demise will certainly have been the “inciting incident”.  Today, I discovered how I will physically prepare for the end.

Attempting to be a gymnast at my advanced age does mean that from time-to-time attempted manoeuvres go a little awry on the first (or even nth) attempt.  When one’s body is falling through space to an inevitable collision with the ground, I believe the natural response is to assume the foetal position to protect one’s vitals.  I have discovered that I do not do this.  So highly trained am I that I keep my entire body perfectly straight and rigid – a look not unlike that of a fleshy bean-pole – and maintain this throughout the fall (well, you lose points for bending or folding in the wrong place).  I also tend to close my eyes – for, as we all know, what you can’t see can’t hurt you.  (Yes, I know you can’t see gravity even with your eyes open, but it isn’t the gravity that hurts but the impact with the ground occasioned by its operation.)  So, whatever else happens it is reassuring to know that as I rattle my clack, my core will be fully engaged.  My nearest-and-dearest should invest in a full-length coffin as at my point of departure I will be at my maximum length and, unless promptly folded, rigor mortis will maintain me at that size until inhumed (or inflamed).

How big is it?

Before we go any further, can I ask you all to lift your minds out of the gutter – all I shall say on that subject is that my hands, feet and nose are significantly larger than average and leave you to draw your own, ill-founded conclusions.

Instead, we will start be considering my green credentials.  I am, in fact, really quite green and have been for many years – starting long before I knew what it was to be green (unless the phrase was used to describe a frog or leaf).   There are a number of reasons for my early adoption of this planet-friendly lifestyle which I shall now reveal.

Firstly, I think we must blame the parents (mostly mine, in this case) for insisting that I turned the lights off when I left a room and for closing doors after I had passed through them to “keep the heat in” (caloric being thought to be afraid of wood in those dark days).  Secondly, I might implicate my rage against the dying of the light and my association of over-heated homes with those who have substantially more than one foot (perhaps nearer 23 inches) in the grave.  Finally, I must perhaps admit that, like Scrooge before me, I am cheap and dislike waste as it’s my money I am wasting and I could probably think of something more pleasurable to waste it on then lighting empty, overly-warm rooms.  My fondness for the cold and dark may have been strengthened by some time living in the north-east of England and trying to fit in with the natives: though I never mastered the accent, I did learn to wander around in only a t-shirt in all seasons.

My thrift (not, I should clarify, the seaside loving pink flower) extends beyond my energy consumption, and I like to imagine that I am frugal with water – especially since “the man” has started metering it.  At the risk of wandering off-topic, I think we should all make the most of gravity while it is still free – it is surely only a matter of time before some wretch works out how to monetise Newton’s discovery – so get any falling in now before the price goes up!

This morning I received a bill from my purveyor of a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen in that most desirable ratio of 2:1.  This revealed that, on average, I get through 36 litres of water per day.  This seems an awful lot of the stuff for one chap to use: it would certainly be a lot of weight to carry back from the supermarket on my bike each day were it not to arrive so conveniently by pipe.  I couldn’t help feeling that either they had made some mistake, or that I was being profligate with my water in some way without realising it (did I sleep-bath perhaps?  Well, it could explain these wrinkles I keep finding…).

As so often with an isolated number, it is very hard to know if it is big or not – though despite this governments, corporations, the press and others continue to bombard us with context-free numbers which we have little hope of really understanding (well, unless we wisely listen to More or Less).  However, further examination of my bill showed that Southern Water has very decently provided some context – so snaps to them!.  Apparently, the typical flat-dwelling singleton without garden (into which category I fall) uses 173 litres of water in an average day.  So, it would seem that far from splashing out on unnecessary moisture (and let’s face it, there is plenty of the stuff available for free outside on a daily basis), I am in fact using only just over one fifth of the normal amount.  So, I now worry that I am using too little water – is my personal hygiene not all it might be?  Are people avoiding sitting next to me on trains and buses? (A definite plus!)  Am I missing out on water-based fun that others have been keeping to themselves?  I can imagine using a little more water, but five times as much?  How is that even possible?  Are most flats in the south owned by fish or dolphins?  Would the life-style supplements, if I read them, tell me that a water-slide is this year’s “must-have” accessory?

Once again, I find myself out-of-step with my fellow humans, at the extreme edge of another bell curve.  Still, I shan’t fret too much – being this desiccated in my habits is cheap and leaves more money to buy more pleasurable fluids.

Get me an agent!

I have learned today that Matt Damon and George Clooney are making a film set during the War (presumably the Second World one) in the nearby village of Duxford.  Actually, they are probably filming at the Duxford wing of the Imperial War Museum rather than the village itself which doesn’t shout wartime at the visiting film crew (or didn’t on my last visit which had a more late Medieval/early Renaissance vibe).

I can’t say I’ve seen either of the chaps in Budgens  or Fish’n’Chicken – but perhaps they have people to fetch them lunch (or make their own sandwiches before going out of a morn – something I have often intended but almost never succeeded in actually doing).  Apparently, they have even been spotted using a Cambridge municipal gym (not by me I should stress) – well, weight training without a “spot” can be a tad dangerous.

However, this lack of celebrity action is not my main problem with this news.  Why I haven’t I been offered a part?  As this blog has recently  revealed, I am quite the frustrated actor and I could be in Duxford in less than 15 minutes on my bike.  I can only assume that being away for most of May meant that I have missed out on my Hollywood debut.  Clearly, I need an agent to look after my interests when I’m otherwise engaged (or, for that matter, vacant).  So, who fancies representing me in my meteoric rise to the dizzy heights of A-list celebrity?  (Always an odd phrase that, surely meteorites are more famous for falling than rising?  Does the phrase pre-date Newton?  Or just represent a basic failure to understand the gravity of the situation?)