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.