The Benefits Of Wisdom


With the passing of years vigour gets bored and leaves your body. Fatigue, your newest and closest friend says “Hello” nearly every afternoon, and suggests it join you for a nap. Your eyes, with regard to the opposite sex and food, tend to be much larger than your ability to quench any remaining appetites, and you are left with nothing to offer the world but your wisdoms, garnered over seventy-four years of possibly sober and reflective living.

However sober and reflective living are not the factors which brought me to my current “Glory-hole” or small bed-sitting room, complete with tired furniture and a bed, which would creak if I had anyone to creak it with: I have lived largely without the company of prudence. I have been married twice, arrived at through a surfeit of manners and guilt, but managed to avoid love on both occasions, so that wondrous belief in the gentle acceptance of a person’s eccentricities, other than your own, has been denied me. It is while under the influence of a much slandered liquid that I’ve gathered many of my best experiences, but that insight is no longer welcome in an age where longevity is more valued than fun

I did experience love once, with my closest friend of the time’s wife, somewhere during my second marriage, and thought magic had overtaken my life. It turned out, as it happens, to have been more a case of the northern lights: beautiful, transfixing certainly, but ultimately without the warmth which gives the heart cause to beat again. I have her photograph, smiling at the photographer, not me, and I look at it sometimes when I feel the need for company. I provided her, I like to think, with a sense of the wealth present in the intangible, which awareness he lacked, while he supplied her material comforts, but finally comfort won over artistic sensibility robbing me of my one true love and my best friend in a single scandal.

I am not a repository of wisdom but more a warning sign to those who seek to follow a path like mine, full of raucous laughter, dancing, a lexicon of careers and a failure to keep an address book so that all those faces which become dearer over time live only in my memory. I am an example of how not to live a life if you want to retire in comfort admired by your peers. I am a barely living example of what might happen if you do not approach each decade with a battle plan. I am a burdensome responsibility to my local council who scan my health chart for longed-for signs of failing health, but there, again, I continue to disappoint. The good die young, apparently, while we more careless beings, hang on: the grim residue of a feckless existence.

I have little sense of moral or material responsibility, except for a feeling of guilt, and no means of paying for anything apart from my state pension, but I have a sense of fun. If some adventure-rich breeze would flow under my door, and pull me toward one last unlikely tryst, or bout of singing badly out of tune while under the influence of that precious liquid, I would grab it.

My only advice is not to heed advice: to burn the candle at both ends and somewhere in the middle; to cause scandal at any opportunity, but most of all, not to relapse into pious stagnation. While there is drink there is the apparition of hope, and if a girl smiles at me, almost regardless of age, I will return the favour. Not to do so would be rude, and a man without means can seldom afford to act without manners.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Peter Wells, Romance and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to The Benefits Of Wisdom

  1. What a beautifully written piece . . .moving, heart-wrenching and a delight in equal measure. I feel I have just peeked into your very soul. Wisdom is something which seems to visit us just after we most need it!

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  2. Thomas says:

    Great stuff. Feel a little wiser after having read it.

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  3. So many exquisite turns of phrase, Peter. I love ‘managed to avoid love on both occasions’ and ‘in an age where longevity is more valued than fun’ is a sad truth about modern life.

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  4. Al says:

    “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we blog!”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like that he’s content with the result of his life. How many of us can say that?

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  6. I particularly loved this. It flowed seamlessly and gently. Joyous

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  7. Not the worst way to live a life, I would say. The part about disappointing doctors with no sign of deteriorating health hits home today. My husband woke up with a cold today and was, as usual, convinced he has throat cancer. Rather than talk him down from his perch (my seeming lot in life) I said “Congratulations! You finally have cancer.” and left the house for work.

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  8. elizaberrie says:

    I don’t know what to say. On one hand I want to pity this person for seemingly taking every chance to close his heart to the possibility of love….about his two marriages, “managed to avoid love on both occasions.”

    And the one person he did see as his true love, he let go- yes he let go…. “comfort won over artistic sensibility robbing me of my one true love” If there is something we want/need, then do what needs to be done to get that thing that makes you happy…..it is called passion.

    This guy had the choice to rise to occasion and make something of himself or be as he always was and loose the girl. I think the object of his affection made the wiser choice here.

    But on the other, it actually raises the question, should we run from love? It makes so few people truly happy for very long. So live, live live….maybe he isn’t so wrong after all.

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  9. This is a beautifully written piece, and captures the wistfulness of a man who has reached a certain age. May he eat, drink and be merry and encounter at least one more adventure-rich breeze. Janet

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  10. ksbeth says:

    acceptance and an eternal ray of hope. perfect.

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  11. gotham girl says:

    It always amazes me how you can put an entire life story in one short piece! Wonderful!

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  12. Beautiful. Thank you 🙂

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  13. I can wisdom when I hear it: “My only advice is not to heed advice…” The problem is, should I take this advice or not? 😉 Perhaps I’m not old, er um, wise enough to figure that out!

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  14. We are, it would seem, what we are, and whilst, at times, the grass may seem greener, we can but be true to ourselves. At the end of the day I suspect that your character was not to unhappy with his lot. An enjoyable read, Peter.

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  15. Ina says:

    Maybe getting an adressbook would be a good idea … 😉

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  16. Oh you are a star at these relationship/love/non-relationship/hapless character pieces Peter. You keep on delivering and never disappoint; quite the opposite. When is book 3 coming?😄

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  17. Excellent, Peter, as always.
    you must be writing stories inside your head all. day. long. xx
    Or…
    perhaps this is all NON-FICTION!

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  18. LRose says:

    Echoes of my father. His melancholy and his writing.

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  19. Scarlet says:

    And on that note, I am well overdue a night out (or several) on the tiles.
    Sx

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  20. nelle says:

    Live life true to the callings of your soul. Hello, Natalie Clifford Barney. 🙂

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  21. Awesome and Wonderful thanks for sharing.

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