Mar 25th – Little things I should have said and done, I just never took the time.

I have been slow to act on Keith’s advice and he has not been shy in letting me know. The truth is, I have been reluctant to open-up to him. Even him, after all this time.

“Accursed creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even YOU turned from me in disgust?”

I find it difficult to articulate quite how it is that I recognise the validity of the point he makes, whilst still wanting to cling on to some of my old ways. I know I need to change, but it’s as if there’s an old version of me, to whom I wish to remain connected – even though I suspect that he’s something of an arsehole, still cast in the mould set by his father.

When, today, I finally made an effort to explain my back-story to Keith, all this seemed to be confirmed, as I heard myself speaking in my progenitor’s rhetorical style: a sort of condescending, faux-intellectual, strained allegory, which had no bearing on the story I was trying to tell, and could only really be understood by me.

It might just as well have been him, tossing crumbs of enlightenment to poor Keith, as I delivered the story of my best days. Oh yes, people, for some reason I decided that it was time to share with him the details of my glorious birth, and all that came with it.

I’ve told you about it, haven’t I? How, on the day that I was born, instead of enjoying the first born of the new generation, the male members of the family, asked after my weight, and on discovering that it was 8lbs 4oz, fucked off down the bookies and backed all the horses carrying 8 stone 4lbs that day. There were four of them, and they all won. And every one of them had a name connected with my own. One of them was even called Offspring. So from that point onwards, I was declared to be something of a Yankee doodle dandy, guaranteed to tread a gilded path through life.

At the end of it all, Keith just says’ ‘That’s why you’re so lazy, is it?’

I must admit that I was hoping for something more declaratory of my innate genius.

I said nothing.

‘What is it about that story that makes you think you’re lucky?’ he asks, and so I embark on the back-up anecdote about the time that I correctly guessed all the different noises various things made, even though I didn’t know them before the teacher asked us the question. It being but one of many instances of when I knew something without having learnt it. Like that time I know that The Garden of Earthly Delights was painted by Hieronymus Bosch.

‘You know a better interpretation, don’t you?’ he asks.

To be perfectly honest with him, I don’t. I know but one interpretation, the correct one. The one that was handed down to me, the person to whom it happened, on its first telling.

He milks the moment, as usual, and just when I think that I am going to have to give in, and start begging, he says, ‘Have you ever considered that perhaps you used up your life’s ration of good luck within its first twenty-four hours?’


I am using this space to indicate the reverential silence with which I greeted his revelation. Gulp.


Now you’re talking. That explains things a little better.

Within no time at all I’m telling him the story of the time that I was the only candidate for a job and still failed to get it; and the other time when I’d been promised the job in the interview and the offer never came. Oh yeah, and that other time, when I worked for free but still got the sack.

Suddenly I see that for a negative type of person I’ve been far too optimistic.

‘You see,’ he says, ‘I have only to put up a counter argument to yours and you capitulate. You have no faith in your own.’ It is to re-make the point that he was making the other day. He considered the thing about using up all my luck, already settled, in a single sentence.

Unborn boys owe an enormous debt to all bachelors.

It seems that there are several factors at play here. The first, is that until just a few moments ago I have always believed myself to be blessed, incapable of being touched by the vicissitudes that make less important lives so difficult. And this, in turn, led to the condition with which I have been saddled my entire life, to wit: that everything I think I know is based on a sort of lazy, complacent, incurious acceptance, having become intellectually careless. To which you must add a third – the point Keith made last week – that by a lack of essential self-belief, I consider everything I hold true, to be worthless. The net result, is that I have managed to create a conceited, yet easily cowed, ineffectual mind, that is yet, out of control and now holds dominion over the rest of my senses.

I am not to worry, Keith says, because there is an expedient and guaranteed solution waiting for me. The mind, it seems, far from being a complex machine, who, with time on his hands, uses the enormous facilities at his disposal to find a way to amuse itself, or better put, persecute its owner, is in fact, lazy. And not only lazy but a simpleton, to boot. Without a mind of its own, you might say. I did. But Keith refused to laugh.

Apparently, to get it back in line, you have to persuade yourself to think simple, nice and positive things. Things which you believe to be true of yourself, or if you don’t currently believe in them, to pretend you do for a while, until you get your stupid mind on board with the idea. The simpler the better, and the more often repeated, the even better (;-)))). Honestly! According to Keith, your mind is an absolute fuckwit.

neuralink brain-chip technology can now show the process of cognition in the adult male mind, as it actually happens.

And that’s not the good part. Get this: it only wants to please you. That’s why negative cogitation is self-fulfilling; your mind, the fucking idiot, thinks that you want more of what you keep thinking about, and keeps serving it up, like a faithful dog. It is perfectly happy to do the same with self-serving praise too – you’ve just got to get it into the habit.

Further, it transpires that it is not the cleverest of us who are persecuted in this way. This was, until recently, the accepted explanation; that the higher intellects have greater capacity for thought, and being surrounded by the uninspired and uninspiring, were inclined to feel constantly disillusioned with their lot. No! Not at all. Quite the reverse in fact. Clever people can always find something to do. It is the merely bright, who have active and unoccupied minds. You know, upstart Boomers and their derivatives, who acquire a sense of unlimited potential, based on no more than their own relative judgement of the minnows with whom they swim. The conceit inherent in the malady burdens them with notions of enterprises au dessus de leur gare, for which they lack the wherewithal to aspire to, let alone reach, and thus eventually turn into the disappointed, feckless and demotivated victims of what is essentially a malaise of their own emancipation. Folk like me.

There’s an immediate appeal to the argument that your mind is as thick as pig shit when you think about it. How many of us have encountered one or more of those rapacious parvenus, who we know to be semi-retarded oafs (as I know Eggo, for example), incapable of grasping the nuanced arguments with which we constantly wrestle? The public space abounds with them. Yes, real talent may lie beyond our horizons, but the success of these people has, until now, confounded us.

Keith tells me that if I am determined to make a success of this cure, that I must make prompt cards with one or two simple messages written on them, which I can force myself to read and repeat every day, until it becomes the go-to response of my lazy, and eager to please mind.

In my current state, I struggle to come up with strongly reinforcing messages. They seem to me to be too boastful, and definitely not earned. Keith seeks to persuade me that they will soon but I am not sure, it’s too great a leap, and too falsely aggrandising.

That was a couple of days ago, and since then, I have applied myself to the issue, and now, I have finally come up with something that I’d be prepared to commit to a prompt card to read and repeat every day. It will help me leave the past behind; it is something that I can commit to; it is a mantra that I can train my mind to adopt, and it will hopefully prevent me, finally, from lingering too long on the wasted years that seem so close behind. I’ve saved it to reveal to you for the first time here, so that I can get your honest reaction to it.

What do you think?