A nervous disposition is the style to adopt if survival is your thing. Really. It's the counter-intuitive course. Even the jangling of keys in the pocket can contribute to the status quo, to enable the equilibrium to settle. Self-help books, which do not exist, other than as a proof of universal gullibility, say otherwise. They line the pockets of their earnest authors, who jump at the chance to appear on any breakfast tv show that will have them. There they sit, these brothers and sisters of mercy, clutching their books. Miracle cures, all. Telling us to seek the silence, wherever we can in our lives. Explaining the need for calmness, reflection, deep-breathing, repose. Emphasis on careful meditations, time scheduled for moments of serenity. Checking out of the race, turning off the blasted, cursed phone, unplugging the mind, taking out the worry-beads. Chilling, that's it, they will insist. Even for a few minutes each day. Look at us, obviously. Look at what we have become by following THE PROGRAMME. Imagine what you too could achieve by one or two micro-adjustments. Look at our shiny faces and clear complexions and drool. Imagine the possibilities.
So that's that. That's the alternative wonderful world out there. Shangri La awaits anyone prepared to dip in a toe. Simple life-transformation at the turn of a page. The shackles of Jacob Marley, cast off as easily as that. As easily as that, you say?
A nervous disposition, though. That's the reality of life, as I claimed. And I should know. Lots of keys jangle in my pocket, reminding me of the need for sound. It is in fact almost de rigueur. A badge of courage, a suit of armour worn by the willing martyr. A heavy burden carried around in the teeth of the storm. It can't be gotten rid of, for all the do-it-yourself tomes in the world. And here is a digressive thought while you ponder. Call it cynicism, scepticism, natural reservation, or mockery, but...... what the deuce? Do-it-yourself? Perhaps I miss a beat, but doesn't that mean someone else doing 'it' for you, us, them, all? Selling a product, mainly. Wrapping their magnanimity between the covers, sitting back and watching the queue form at the book-signing. Oh, isn't it a wonderful world where so many blind men are led by the hand over the edge of the abyss, by blind men. Roll up, roll up. See the amazing bearded-lady and her Siamese-twin partner. See them perform the astounding Indian Rope trick. See them turn dust into gold. See them disappear into thin air, a bags-full of your belief in their grimy fists. But that is the real trick, you see. Distraction tactics. You and I were so intrigued by the lady's beard, so fascinated (and yet horrified) by the conjoined freakishness, we missed the ruse. We missed the sleight-of-hand. Overlooked the con. Damn it all - we went along with it. Still do, in our sorry legions of misplaced hope. Desperation seeks it's soul-mate, possibly with romance in mind.
Romance. It's all romance. Thinking there is a way to swerve around nervousness, noise, clamour. Imagining that one day, if guided by some guru, the keys in our pockets will fall silent. Thinking that a lack of focus will somehow dissipate one day and lead to our collective passivity. And don't misunderstand. I enjoy a bit of romance as much as the next frazzled man. The problem is, most of it is romantic fiction. Adieu.....
A place of endless wonder without dragons. The home of the dodgy dialectic. A sanctuary for the frustrated and the terminally curious. Where debate meets damnation and humour lurks to surprise the unwary. From critical acclaim to diatribe. Don't be scared - come along for the ride.