bookmark_borderTo shave or not to shave. Now THAT is the question!

Beards and soup are mortal enemies
Beards and soup, mortal enemies

It’s the start of summer 2020 and I’ve been avoiding my fellow (in)human beings since early March. Walking the streets of London these last few months feels like accidentally straying onto a Zombie movie set, where is everyone? The first time I really noticed it was when I was walking up the road and a woman nearly threw herself into the hedge trying to avoid me (the story of my life sweetheart, the story of my life!)  

My feeling is this is going to go on for a few years (!) and I’ve been thinking my usual left of field thoughts. I wish I was a Hamster and could hibernate, or go into suspended animation until a working vaccine is available. And then I was wondering, how come in SciFi movies everyone comes out of suspended animation clean shaven and not looking like furballs? I’ve stopped shaving as frequently, sporting the Werewolf look, what’s the point, and now I’m wondering why we actually shave?

Historically, shaving was simply more hygienic. Lice were rampant but washing in freezing cold water wasn’t something to look forward to. Alexander the Great told his soldiers to shave because it was easier to fight and avoid beard grabbing. Men who did not shave were considered barbarians.

But why do woman shave the parts of their bodies that aren’t pubicly – sorry publicly – visible? Social convention? Hugh Hefner and Playboy didn’t help, it seems to me that the big push came around that period (ouch!) but I’d love to know what the Victorians attitude was. Most of us have access to clean water for washing, so the lice argument is null and void and yet we’ve become accustomed to shaving frequently. On average men spend about 125 days per lifetime shaving and research by Emma Leslie of Escentual.com shows these surprising figures for ladies;

Shaving legs- 72 days a lifetime
Styling hair- 294 days a lifetime
Plucking eyebrows – 30 days a lifetime
Taking off your make-up- 52 days a lifetime
Applying fake tan- 12 days a lifetime
Dying your hair- 23 days a lifetime
Body moisturising- 44 days a lifetime
Painting nails- 20 days a lifetime
Exfoliation- 20 days a lifetime
Pedicures-11 days a lifetime

Of course this is from the very selective audience of a beauty products website so the figures are going to be VERY slanted, I don’t know anyone who spends 12 days, or even 12 minutes applying fake tan which reminds me of this little story.

A long time ago I was sharing a flat with a female friend. She was going through a dry run re: boyfriends but one morning I was having a shower and the shower pan started to fill up with water. I was puzzled and mentioned this to my housemate. She looked suitably embarrassed and said “Oh, I’ve got a date tonight – so thought I’d better get the razor blade out..!” Gross!

ANYWAY…. the interesting aspect of all this social isolation is it gives one time to really think and ruminate, to take stock and figure out what kind of person you really are. We never really get much chance to think and ruminate, do we? We start school and then it’s full on until retirement, study study study work work work boom dead! But now we’ve got time to think and ruminate, to really focus on the bigger life questions; where are you going, how is your life, what do you really want, what is the meaning of life, are you going to eat that last Rolo, you know, just the important stuff..

George Sands wrote “There is only one happiness in this life; to love and be loved.” I agree with this sentiment to some degree but George Sands has obviously never tried a White Chocolate Magnum ice lolly on a hot summers day! I think there are many many happiness spread all through our lives, just walking around the (now packed!) park yesterday listening to the children laughing/playing and the birds singing brings me and I’m sure everyone a sense of happiness.

As Philip Gould approached his final days he wrote movingly in the Guardian “I live by the day. Just sitting in the park, looking at the flowers thinking how beautiful they are. It’s almost … not hallucinogenic but it’s a much stronger feeling than previously. For me, at the moment, going for a walk in the park with Gail is heaven.” We, who can see this, understand this, it brings deep joy.

bookmark_borderBelfast 1976. Troubles..what Troubles?

I recently found the above video of Belfast from 1976. Goodness, that brought back memories! My friends and I were regular visitors to the city centre, mostly because the shops at home were crap, These days we are all used to Amazon shopping but to my 15 year old self everything of importance was in the mecca of Belfast, a range of comics, toys, gadgets and games that was impossible to source anywhere else.

To get into the city centre we had to go through security barriers, these barriers surrounded a two mile wide section of the centre so it was stop and get searched, everyone, old, young, babies as well. The security people would wave an electronic magic wand over your body that apparently detected explosives! Then it was into one of the large department stores but again checked at the entrance, the ladies would have their handbags checked again. After a while this just became instinctive, it became a matter of life, a habit, you could only enter a store via one door and you’d automatically raise your arms to be searched at the door.

My first trip overseas (well, to us the Isle of Man was overseas, we had to get a boat there!) was a revelation, I walked into Marks & Spencer and stopped by the door waiting to get searched, the customers behind me walked past me, it was very strange NOT to get frisked when entering a large store. Old habits..

Even when I moved to London it took me quite some time to get out of the reflex of looking for the security guy to frisk me, it’s interesting what becomes ‘normal’. Walking around in Belfast you’d become oblivious to the bombed/firebombed shells of stores, life went on. Every five years or so the IRA would place car bombs in our local town and blow up the Co-op, Woolworths and Wellworths, there was a rhythm to it and we all just got used to it.

I know this may seem frankly bizarre to non-war torn cities but here’s two points to remember.

  1. On the telly there may have been a mob of rioters throwing stones and petrol bombs(!) at the police and army, BUT at the same time there were 1.5 million people NOT throwing stones and petrol bombs at the police.
  2. My friends and I were surrounded by armed police and army in ‘meat wagons’, loyalist and paramilitary groups marching around (when the coast was clear), frequently I watched controlled explosions of suspect devices, I was there when bombs went off in my home town and in Belfast, all this was happening; kneecapping, rioting, murders – but to a 15 year old living through all this, my greatest stress BY FAR was making sure I got my Maths homework in on time to Mr Macaulay, our dreaded Maths teacher! Life is strange, isn’t it?

bookmark_borderThe joy (and burden) of the sisterhood.

Ladies who do lunch

I was wandering around Sainsburys this morning when along came a little girl chat-chat-chat-chat-chat-chatting away with her dad. I watched them slowly go down the aisle with this constant chat between them. Everyone was smiling. It was super sweet to see, and yet just another reminder just how verbally stunted we men as a species are.

The longer I walk this planet the more time I have to observe life, and more importantly, re-form my opinions!

This has been happening quite a lot these last few years. I’m becoming increasingly aware of the differences betwix the two sexes and increasingly envious, yes, envious, of almost every women’s ability to communicate, to network, to be part of such a big collective, a sisterhood, in ways we men can only imagine.

Despite constant and pervasive historic neurosexism, modern neuroscientists have identified no decisive, category-defining differences between the brains of men and women. In women’s brains, language-processing is not spread any more evenly across the hemispheres than it is in men’s, as a small 1995 Nature study proclaimed but a large 2008 meta-analysis disproved.

So it’s a mystery to me (and the subscribers of Nature) as to why women are so expert in communication (and the subtle nuances) and men seem to be real dullards. The current thinking is that the brain is no more gendered than the liver or kidneys or heart but women’s brains are thought to be wired for empathy and intuition, whereas male brains are supposed to be optimized for reason and action. Most of us remain strapped in the “biosocial straitjackets” that divert a basically unisex brain down one culturally gendered pathway or another

I watch family, friends and work colleagues chatting away ten to a dozen, and how important it is, how natural, how fulfilling, it’s that networking, the social oil between each other that makes me so envious. We don’t get that, we have to go to football matches in tribes to even get a glimpse of that comradeship that comes naturally to almost every woman I know. We men are walking this planet tongued tied and handicapped.

When does this difference start? A colleague thinks it starts at school, that great big melting pot of primary school is torn asunder with our tendency to split high school into boys/girls only. But I think it starts off even earlier than that, my own anecdotal evidence suggests right from learning the first few words of a language. Observing very young children it’s obvious that it’s the girls that do much more of the chatting, just like the little girl in Sainsburys this morning. Boys tend to be much quieter and when the dreaded puberty and high school hits we shut down even more, resorting to grunts. If you’ve ever had the (mis)fortune to sit on a bus that’s just picked up a load of high school girls going home the clatter is almost deafening. That wasn’t how it was on our school buses, there was very little chat – apart from the sixth formers at the back, hurling the usual abuse at everyone, which wasn’t conducive to friendly chat!

As I get older, my overriding impression is that a women’s world is so much richer than a man’s, we walk this planet almost completely switched off. Of course, this is a generalisation, guilty as charged. There are blokes who can talk the hind leg off a donkey, I met up with two of them a while back and I just couldn’t get a word in edgewise, it’s like a competition between them. And the local drunks who stand outside the off licence seem to be engaged in constant seemingly pointless conversation between themselves – even if standing alone!

And I’m aware this can be a two-edged sword; woman seem to be more adept at the complexities of large group interpersonal relationships; who’s in, who’s out, and nuances that pass me by. We men only have the cello to play with but woman have the entire orchestra at their disposal. I know our lives are poorer for it.

bookmark_borderHey Good Looking..

Yup, I'm looking at YOU
Yup, I’m looking at YOU

In my bathroom I have the illustrated words, and every time I’m in there (which trust me, in my gathering years is more and more frequently!)  it makes me think. I put it in there not just for the boys but for me too. I imagine the boys think it’s directed at them and to a very large extent it is but it’s also directed at each of us, each and every one of us.

We are all loved, each and every one of us, and not just by family and friends but by God, the Creator, the Universe, the Source, call it whatever you like, but that feeling you have towards your children, that pure pure pure love, s/he feels the exact same way about all of us, every single soul on this planet, no matter how hairy we are!

bookmark_borderThe Meaning of Life?

 

On the very first day, God created the Ox. He said to the Ox, “As an Ox, you must go to the field with the farmer all day long. You will work all day under the sun! You will work hard to provide for your calves, they must always come first, and you will do this for 60 years.”
The Ox replied, “What? That’s kind of a tough life you want me to live for 60 years? Let me have 20 years, that’s more than enough and the 40 years I’ll give back to you.”
So God said OK.

On the second day, God created the monkey. He said to the monkey, “You will entertain people. You’ll make them laugh, do monkey tricks, be mischievous and do this for 20 years”
The monkey protested. “What? Make them laugh? Do monkey faces and tricks? Ten years will do, and the other 10 years I’ll give you back.”
So God was getting annoyed but agreed.

On the third day, God created the dog. God said to the dog, “You are to sit all day by the door of your house. Any people that come past, you will bark at them and pass comment of them and do this for 20 years.”
The dog objected, “What? All day long to sit by the door? No way! I’ll give you back 10 years of life!”
So God was pissed but agreed.

On the fourth day, God created man and said to him, “Your job is to sleep, eat, and play. You will enjoy life very very much. All you need to do is to enjoy and do nothing. For this kind of life, I’ll give you a 20 year life span.” The man objected. “What? Such a good life! Eat, play, sleep, do nothing? Enjoy the best and you expect me to live only for 20 years? No way, man… why don’t we make a deal? Since the cow gave you back 40 years, the dog gave you back 10 years, the monkey gave you back 10 years, I will take them from you!” So God, really pissed now, agreed.

AND THAT’S WHY….
In our first 20 years, we eat, sleep, play, get taken care of, have no bills to pay, no responsibilities, enjoy the best and get to sleep in as long as we like..
THEN for the next 40 years, we work our arses off all day long, do overtime, sweat in our chosen field, worry and stress and do what it takes to support our family.
THEN for the next 10 years, we entertain our grandchildren by making monkey faces and monkey tricks and make them laugh and giggle. They absolutely love us.
AND for the last 10 years, we stay at home, sit by the front door and bark at everyone coming past and pass comment on them.
That is the meaning of life.

Woof! Woof!

bookmark_borderHumans. MkIII

Screw British Airways!

I’ve been thinking (yeah, I know, it’s a habit I’m trying to get out of) about evolution and Darwin again. It occurs to me that humankind really are the model T Fords of the animal kingdom. Pigeons, tortoises, dogs, cats, cheetahs and a whole host of animals plainly and very obviously appeared after us.

Take pigeons for example. When I go to the bathroom there’s two exit points built into my body; one for liquid waste and one for solid waste. Pigeons just coo coo chuckle at that, they only have one exit point, both solid and liquid get excreted at the same exit, this vastly decreases the chance of constipation, haemorrhoids and a hole (oops! whole!) host of lower bowel conditions. What’s more, they get to fly everywhere. No walking for them, no traffic jams and no two hour check-in before boarding a flight to Spain.

And then tortoises and turtles. Hey, no having to work your ass off for 40 years to pay off your mortgage. Why bother when you carry your home around with you on your back. Provide your kids with a home, what..but they already have one! Want to go live in a nicer greener part of the town. Just take a walk and job done!

Dogs? They get to run a lot faster and longer than us mere humans. No tube or bus for them, they’re already at work! Clothing? What’s that for? They’ve got built in clothing. Sense of smell? A gazillion times better than humans. Yup, that lasagne is 100% off (but I’m still going to eat it!) and then I’m going to lick your face..

Cats? Stools, ladders, scaffolding…in cat world these don’t exist, just climb up the bleeding tree. Fall off from great height, don’t worry, they always land on their feet. Worst case scenario, hey, we’ve got nine lives. And you wonder why they sit at home judging us, thinking what bleeding dim humans..

Cheetahs? Bye-bye public transport. No excuses to be late for work ever again.

I can’t understand why I haven’t got a Nobel Prize for all this work!

bookmark_borderHumans. MkII

It occurs to me that when The Committee upstairs made humans they made one small but rather short-sighted mistake. They got rid of the tail. Now, I can see the logic in this, it gets caught in doors, it gets in the way of sitting down and clumsy clods can step on it, but I still think it was a mistake and here’s why.

I looked after a friend’s dog a while back and I never once had wonder if he was happy or sad, it was always obvious from his tail, was it wagging (thankfully usually always) or was it down betwixt his legs. And the thing about dogs and tails is, there’s no hiding emotions, there’s complete honestly all the time, you know if he’s pleased to see you or not, but with humans, well, we’ve become very adept at hiding our true feelings and I’m not sure this is always a good thing. I can see occasions when it is (particularly when dealing with children) but most of the time it’s not. A lot of people hide their true feeling, be it love, hate, irritation, fear, happy or sad and I wonder what kind of world we’d have if we could always tell the emotional state of those around us, if there was always truth in communication, like it was the most natural thing in the world (as it should be), dogs, cats, in fact most animals seem to get along fine with tails..

So I’d like to propose to the The Powers That Be that when we all blow ourselves to bits or a giant meteorite wipes out humans like the dinosaurs, that the next version has a tail and keeps it. Then there will be that honesty in communication; lovers, family, friends, politicians, we’ll be able to see instantly if they’re happy or sad, there won’t be any hiding of feelings. I realise that this will put everyone involved in the duster trade out of business because we’ll all have our own built-in duster but I think that’s a small price to pay for enhanced communication.

octopus

Actually, I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and have decided upon a few more improvements. I really don’t understand why we only have two arms and hands, I’d be much more productive with six or even eight arms …chat on the phone, use two keyboards at same time and scratch my bits all at the same time…and when it comes to rumpy-pumpy..well……….

Plus I’ve decided it would be really useful to have a USB port built in, this would make life simpler for a variety of ways, for starters I’d never lose my tunes, I’d just upload them into my noggin…and then files, documents, photos..all uploaded into my massive brain…but the really important function would be to connect to another person and have that complete connection, being able to communicate feeling and emotions completely without inaccurate words getting in the way…. and the icing on the cake, when I’m knackered I could just plug myself into a wall socket and recharge myself… win-win! You heard it here first God!

bookmark_border37 Rules For Life.

assholes

1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
2. Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often.
3. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.
4. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
5. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you’ve never tried before.
6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.
7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
8. A person, who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention! It never fails.)
9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.
11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
12. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.
13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.
14. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
15. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
16. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.
18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.
19. Junk is something you’ve kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.
20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.
21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.
23. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.
24. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.
25. It ain’t the jeans that make your butt look fat.
26. If you had to identify, in 1 word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, & never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be “meetings.”
27. There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.”
28. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
29. You should not confuse your career with your life.
30. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
31. Never lick a steak knife.
32. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
33. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
34. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she’s pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
35. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.
36. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.
37. Your friends love you anyway.

bookmark_borderIt’s more than just a car..

amadog

An unlucky lady drove into my parked car last week, mine and the car behind it. She was distracted, lost control and bashed into my car and then the car behind me at some speed. Fortunately she was totally unharmed, just shocked but all three cars were totally wrecks.The insurance man came, took one look at my wreck and said it was uneconomical to repair, it would be scrapped.

Now, here’s the thing. I’ve had that car for a few years now and it’s never let me down, it always started first time, everything works as it should (or did!) and I’ve travelled all over the country in it. It’s the most reliable car I’ve ever had. And now it’s going to be scrapped.

We men shouldn’t get attached to lumps of metal but here’s what it feels like. It feels like I’ve had a faithful dog, one that I’ve had for many a year, it’s been totally faithful, it’s never bit me, it’s never even peed on the carpet. It’s never refused to go for a walk and has been 100% obedient and loyal.

And then last Saturday morning it was sitting outside, completely minding it’s own business and a stranger came along and carelessly stepped on it’s paw and broke it. Completely at random, wrong place, wrong time. And then the vet has come along and said “Nope, I’m afraid I have to put him to sleep..”. And I protest but the vet says “it’s OK, you can get another one exactly like that..” but that just feels wrong, this dog never bite me, was innocently minding it’s own business and completely faultless but still it has to be put down. I looked at the car and it looked back with it’s big doleful eyes that said “what happened, I don’t understand???”

I feel bad for him. I’m not sure if cars have souls but if mine does then I hope he’s racing around some race track in heaven enjoying himself and having a ball. He was my best car ever.

bookmark_borderIs There Life After Birth?

life

A tale of two babies has made the rounds on the Internet. It made me smile, and I wanted to share it here.

The story is about twin babies who are having a philosophical discussion in the womb. Their dialog goes as follows:

Do you believe in life after birth?

Of course. Everybody knows there is a life after birth. We’re here now because we have to grow and get ready for what’s to come.

That’s ridiculous! There’s no life after birth. What could such a life be like?

I don’t know exactly, but there must be more light than in here. Maybe we’ll walk on our legs and eat with our mouth.

Nonsense! It’s impossible for us to walk. And eating with our mouth? That’s crazy. We get our food through the umbilical cord. And obviously there can be no life after birth because the umbilical cord is too short.

Well, I think it’s possible. It’ll just be different from what we’re used to in here.

But nobody has ever come back after birth. Birth is the end of life. And frankly, life is just meaningless existence in the darkness. There’s no point to it, and we’re going nowhere.

No! I don’t know exactly what it will be like after birth, but I’m sure that we’ll see our Mother and she’ll take care of us.

Mother? You believe in Mother? And just where is she then?

Where? She’s all around us! And we’re inside her. We’re her children. In her we live and move and have our being. Without her we wouldn’t exist.

That’s absurd. I’ve never seen this “Mother,” so there’s no such thing.

I don’t agree with you. In fact, sometimes when it’s quiet, you can hear her sing and feel her caress our world. You know, I believe that we’re here to prepare for the life to come, and our true life starts after birth.

 

bookmark_borderNobel Prize #3

Extra body anyone?
Extra body anyone?

It looks like I’m up for my third Nobel Prize for Science; I don’t know WHY I didn’t figure this out sooner!

Ladies, do you use shampoo in the shower? Well when I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning,

“FOR EXTRA VOLUME AND BODY.”

…No wonder I’ve been gaining weight!

Facepalm!

Well! I have gotten rid of that shampoo and I am going to start showering with Jif scouring cream instead, its label reads,

“DISSOLVES FAT THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE.”

There, problem solved. You can thank me now. I wonder when I will get my Nobel Prize?

bookmark_borderTick Tock

dscf0100

My mother Doris passed away suddenly last week so I thought I’d pen a few thoughts. The over-riding thing I remember about Doris is her determination to do things her own way and sod the rules. The Doris I knew was completely unflappable, she played by her own rules whilst on this earth, she never worried much about what others thought of her.

The rules are that when you’re in your 80’s you should be settling down for a quieter life but not Doris (and Bob!), off they went to Australia to a wedding and of course there was a freak heatwave there and even the natives were falling to the ground with the heat but not Doris and Bob.

She spent a few weeks travelling around in the sweltering heat and then came back to a bitterly cold Ballymoney winter with frozen pipes burst in the home and the place a mess. I talked to her at the time and asked her if she was all right and she said ‘oh aye, sure, I’ve got Bob, that’s all that matters’ and it’s true, she had Bob by her side and that was the most important thing in her life.

She started having ‘issues’ a few weeks ago and needed an urgent operation. Having a medical background I flew over here last week to make sure that she got through her operation and past the danger-zone of the weekend. However, instead of finding Doris comatose in Intensive Care I found her sitting out of bed watching X Factor on Saturday evening telly. This was 24 hrs after a major op.

She was bright and sparkly and completely on the ball.

The rules are that when you’re on ICU you’re meant to be really sick but as usual Doris played by her own rules. The rules also state that when you’re 88 and just past a major operation you’re meant to be a bit fuzzy – but not Doris, she was able to tell me my mobile number quick as a flash on Saturday evening – something even I have difficulty remembering..

On Thursday evening, the night before her op I had a quick chat in private with her, I told her that she wasn’t allowed to die, that it didn’t fit in with my timetable, that it wouldn’t be very convenient – I told her that perhaps…. PERHAPS when I’m 65 and retired and she’s 100 then PERHAPS it would be OK then…

She roared with laughter and said that she’ll go when the man upstairs says it time and that’s the end of it!

Our last chat was an interesting one, we were talking about church and religion and she was trying to get me to go to church (as usual), lots of talk about Jesus, God and heaven and I remember holding her hand and telling her that I tried to be good, not because I wanted to get into heaven and not because I didn’t want to go to hell but because it’s the right thing to do, our motivation shouldn’t be the next world but trying to do our best for this world.. She looked at me and I knew she was OK with that and the subject wouldn’t come up again.

For 32,120 days Doris walked, strode, ran, swam, leaped, crawled and sometimes stumbled on this Earth. Not all of them days were good, some very hard, some were bad, some were a real struggle but in all the time I knew Doris I never saw her without a smile on her face.

And she told me that the last 2,258 days were the best because those where the days that she had been married to Bob.

bookmark_borderSuperheroes

superhero
When we were kids my gang and I used to play superheroes…like we were the only ones who could (and always did) save the world. This was way before the emergence of that strange new fangled interwebby thang, we had to use that other older system…now what was it called…oh yes – imagination…

We all wanted to be the hero, no-one wanted to be the villains so most of our villains were imaginary and if the worse came to worse we’d get shot/stabbed/arrowed/ray gunned/blasted/poisoned/disembowelled/nuked/pushed off a cliff  (always our choice) but have an heroic death – and our heroic deaths tended to last even longer than Hollywood heroic deaths which is saying something..

Advertisements at the time always showed rugged good looking heroic men rushing off to save someone life…Gillette Razors were masters at the genre and we would try to emulate them – even if we were too young to shave!

However, as I’ve got older I come to realise that Gillette and our gang didn’t have the hero market cornered, I’ve come across many examples of heroic people, the unknown heroes, the quiet heroes, the forgotten heroes who work away, slave away without thanks or recognition, simply getting on with the job as there was no-one else to do it and because of love.

I know a few mothers, struggling away to make ends meet, doing their best to keep a roof over the head of the children and just trying to do the right thing, trying to provide and be there when lesser souls would have given up the struggle..these are the real heroes in the world today, not me with my bedsheet for a cape and a stick for a raygun..although I have saved the planet from Vogons more times than I care to mention…pesky Vogns…getting grabbed by the Vogons always brought a tear to my eye…

People always think of doctors and nurses as being heroes too and to a degree it’s true but it doesn’t end there, I’ve cared for many patients were the wife (always the wife) cared for her long suffering husband through the many stages of cancer right up to the very end. And when I come across souls like that I always think wow, you’ve struggled all these years, many more hours than a full time job and no complaints, no cutting corners, no bitterness because it’s all done out of love.. real heroes..

But a lot of times the even bigger hero is missed, it’s the person with the cancer. By the time one gets past fifty one tends to know at least a few people that have passed over due to cancer and it’s these people that are the real superheroes. The souls I’ve known that have succumbed to cancer, they’ve always been very stoic, no raging against the unfairness of it all, no shouting at fate and God, no destructive benders, usually it’s quiet acceptance with lots of dignity, very quickly an acceptance of how things are going to be followed by trying to get as much living done in the so so so short time remaining. For me these are the biggest heroes, not the one’s on the cinema screen in 2D but the real life heroes, the souls that manage to open their eyes one more morning, even if it’s just for one more day.

To misquote Mr Bowie, we can all be heroes..even if it’s just for one more day…

bookmark_borderI might just get a dog..

babemagnet

So… been trying out internet dating again for a while and it’s been an interesting experience. Almost immediately I met up with a local inmate who described herself as ‘athletic’ but it turns out emailing is fattening, extremely fattening and she had put on a huge amount of weight in three emails. Next please… next was ..well actually just best to list them

  • Lady who didn’t mention she was about to bugger off to Australia for a month..tomorrow! but wanted to keep chatting! (But why are you on a dating site when you are away off for a month?)
  • Lady who said about three words and then told me off for filling in the conversational gaps (again…why are you on a dating website?)
  • Lady who berated me for holding the car door open for her, apparently she’s QUITE capable of doing her own door..
  • Lady who was very obviously closer to 60 than 50
  • Lady who was ‘technically’ separated but still living with her husband..and sleeping in same bed
  • Lady who was really living in St Petersberg, not London

There’s been a few more, some of them even nice and sane but no one who was sticky..is that the right term…no-one I wanted to stick around with…  It’s been interesting…did you ever watch Ray Mears doing his survival program…he goes into the bush, picks up a few twigs and some dry grass, rubs them together and ever so gently, sooo gently blows softly on the smoldering grass..until it bursts into flames.   That’s what it’s like with dating, you have to find someone with that small spark and you have to gently try to look after that spark and try your best to fan it into a proper fire..

OR…you can cheat.

A friend of mine was in work the other day visiting, she’s on maternity leave and she brought in her two month old son. It was really interesting, as I held him there were about six or seven woman in the office and they all came over and coo-ed over him..and I realised two things…

1. A babies world is just full of smiling people…everywhere he looks people are just smiling at him

2. Babies have this smell that women can’t resist..the baby smell..I could smell it quite clearly and as the other girls got close I realised this was what they were smelling too…it’s a unique smell and if someone could bottle it into aftershave they would make a fortune as woman can’t resist it..somewhat ironically I’ve realised that babies are real babe magnets..

bookmark_borderA Word to the Wise

Young King Arthur was ambushed and imprisoned by the monarch of a neighbouring kingdom. The monarch could have killed him but was moved by Arthur’s youth and ideals. So, the monarch offered him his freedom, as long as he could answer a very difficult question. Arthur would have a year to figure out the answer and, if, after a year, he still had no answer, he would be put to death.

The question?…What do women really want? Such a question would perplex even the most knowledgeable man, and to young Arthur, it seemed an impossible query. But, since it was better than death, he accepted the monarch’s proposition to have an answer by year’s end.He returned to his kingdom and began to poll everyone: the princess, the priests, the wise men and even the court jester. He spoke with everyone, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer.

Many people advised him to consult the old ugly woman, for only she would have the answer.

But the price would be high; as the woman was famous throughout the kingdom for the exorbitant prices she charged.

The last day of the year arrived and Arthur had no choice but to talk to the old woman. She agreed to answer the question, but he would have to agree to her price first.

The old ugly woman wanted to marry Sir Lancelot, the most noble of the Knights of the Round Table and Arthur’s closest friend!

Young Arthur was horrified. She was hunchbacked and hideous, had only one tooth, smelled like sewage, made obscene noises, etc. He had never encountered such a repugnant creature in all his life.

He refused to force his friend to marry her and endure such a terrible burden; but Lancelot, learning of the proposal, spoke with Arthur.

He said nothing was too big of a sacrifice compared to Arthur’s life and the preservation of the Round Table.

Hence, a wedding was proclaimed and the woman answered Arthur’s question thus:

What a woman really wants, she answered….is to be in charge of her own life.

Everyone in the kingdom instantly knew that the woman had uttered a great truth and that Arthur’s life would be spared.

And so it was, the neighbouring monarch granted Arthur his freedom and Lancelot and the ugly woman had a wonderful wedding.

The honeymoon hour approached and Lancelot, steeling himself for an horrific experience, entered the bedroom. But, what a sight awaited him. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen lay before him on the bed. The astounded Lancelot asked what had happened.

The young beauty replied that since he had been so kind to her when she appeared ugly, she would henceforth be her horrible deformed self only half the time and the beautiful maiden the other half.

Which would he prefer? Beautiful during the day….or night?

Lancelot pondered the predicament. During the day, a beautiful woman to show off to his friends, but at night, in the privacy of his castle, an old ugly woman? Or, would he prefer having a hideous woman during the day, but by night, a beautiful woman for him to enjoy wondrous intimate moments?

What would YOU do?

What Lancelot chose is below.

BUT….make YOUR choice before you scroll down below. OKAY?

————————————————————————————-
harrison_guinevere

Noble Lancelot said that he would allow HER to make the choice herself.

Upon hearing this, she announced that she would be beautiful all the time because he had respected her enough to let her be in charge of her own life.

Now….what is the moral to this story?

The moral is…..

If you don’t let a woman have her own way………….. things are going to get ugly!

bookmark_borderLife. Chapter One. Page Two

Exactly.
Exactly.

There’s a Greek expression which I’m sure you’re all familiar with, it goes like this – na ise kaliteros anthropos apo ton patera sou– and what it simply means is ‘be a better man than your father’. I quite like that expression – can’t pronounce it as well as Peter from Fringe but being a better man than my father wouldn’t be difficult as he was a complete shit. My boys on the other hand have a slightly more difficult task because I give them a lot more input than my father did to me – which was 50% of my DNA and ummm that’s it.

I’ve realised quite a while back that we live our lives as examples to other; to people who come into contact with us no matter how fleetingly, to our long time friends and most importantly to our children, no matter what we do – we can’t help but provide examples to everyone on how to live, how to behave, how to be.

And it’s very easy to forget this (and try not to get too paranoid here) but everyone is watching you for cues on how to live, they don’t realise this but it’s true, we are constantly providing examples of how to live to those around us. So even if someone has treated you badly, treated you unjustly, treated you like a shit, it’s still no excuse to lower your standards, rather it’s best to see the bigger picture and do something to be proud of, something you hope will bring them up to your level rather than you come down to their level. Remember, everyone’s watching.  But sod off boys if you think you’re getting the car keys!

bookmark_borderOn Death and Dying. Chapter 1. Lesson 01.

holding handsIt’s the ultimate irony that an atheist will never know if they are right, (that there’s nought after death)  but those that believe in celestial spheres will never know if they are wrong (that’s there’s nought after death), I think this is why some folk hedge their bets and believe in something after death, after all, what have they got to lose?

It’s a generalisation but once a person gets past 50 then the usual turn of events is that people around us start falling ill and dying. Generally, and I stress generally, most of us make it to our 50’s without having to attend too many funerals (I know some young folk who break this rule). But then it seems body systems wear out (helped along with crap diet, smoking, drinking, lack of exercise and living too close to a friggen nuclear power station) and suddenly the damn bursts and one hears about colleagues falling ill and passing away suddenly. One of my colleagues, an Irish friend passed away suddenly last week, totally unexpected and quite a shock to us all and a part of me is wondering about the atheist/believer scenario. I wonder where she is now – apart from six foot under of course.

Death seems to be a taboo subject in this society and I think it’s because it’s so unknown, no-one seems to have definite proof of what happens (unless you’re an atheist of course) but after working for a long time on a major London ICU I think I have slightly more insight than the average bear. Having held the hands of the dying on so many occasions and watched them slip away, I’ve learnt two important lessons.

1. Nature is not cruel. As the time of death approaches I’d say none of my patients felt any discomfort. Yes, we would be failing in our job to let anyone feel pain but there’s another physiological reason why people tend to pass away peacefully. Towards the end your systems tend to break down; your liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, nervous system etc start to fail and so does the oxygen exchange in your lungs. What this means is that your brain also starts to fail, it’s not getting an adequate supply of oxygen plus all the toxins (natural by-products of metabolism) and CO2 build up and the brains ability to function efficiently is severely impaired, and this goes for the ability to feel pain signals via the nervous system, the nerves don’t work effectively and the brains ability to process those signals is hampered as well. It’s like trying to drive a car with polluted fuel and blocked air-intake/exhaust, the engine is not going to run effectively, it’s going to eventually stall. It was obvious to me that as death approached the person progressively withdrew from this world and became unable to feel any sensations at all.

2. My mother believes emphatically in a Heaven and Hell so the following is going to annoy her greatly. She thinks everyone who hasn’t accepted Jesus into their heart is doomed to eternal fire and brimstone for eternity. I think even the modern day church has moved away from such views. Personally, I have absolutely no doubt that we come from a place of complete and total love and we all return to that place, all of us, no matter who we are, because quite simply, there is no where else to go. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote in 1955 ‘we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience’. This is a fundamental truth and each and every soul returns home to a place of love love love, where there is no blame, no fear, only the unconditional love that a parent gives to a child.

Having said all that, I hope when I die that somebody holds my hand.

bookmark_borderFirst world problems

1stWorldWater

Was surfing the net last week and came across #firstworldproblems.

“First World Problems, also known as “White Whine,” are frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences.”

Thought I would list some of them here;

  • “I have caviar stuck in my braces.”
  • “Every time I download a language learning app in order to be able to order food ‘authentically’ at my favorite ethnic restaurants, the waiter asks me to confirm my order in English.”
  • “I have to turn down the bass in my car to look in the rear view mirror.”
  • “I need to go to the supermarket but the Viagra hasn’t worn off yet.”
  • “I know more about how my meat was raised than the meat did.”
  • “I’m not sure which side I’m supposed to be rooting for on Downton Abbey.”
  • “The increased legroom they have in First Class means I have to stand up to get my inflight magazine from the seat pocket in front of me.”
  • “Just spent 20 minutes tucking in my shirt and making it all perfect. Now I have to take a dump.”
  • “I tried to unlock the wrong Prius today. Twice.”
  • “It’s nap time and my housekeeper is not done cleaning. How will I sleep?”
  • “My Porsche is too old to be new, and not old enough to be classic.”
  • “I accidentally gave a homeless man a Euro coin. I was going to use that on my trip to Vienna next week.”
  • I have no idea how to reheat my leftover omelette, so I guess I’ll just have to drive to the restaurant and order another one.”
  • “The jazz music playing in this cafe is drowning out the sound of me typing on my laptop. Now how are people supposed to know I’m working on my novel?”
  • “I live rent free in a three-bedroom house with a garden in North London with easy access to Central London, but I hate the wallpaper in my bedroom.”
  • “My internet-capable fridge only connects to Twitter, and not Facebook.”
  • “My gardener’s suggestion that my cilantro peach salsa is not “authentic” has me wondering if he really is from Mexico.”
  • “Our nation’s parks and wildlife preserves are woefully under-equipped when it comes to Wi-Fi signals.”

358qra
1stWorldWater3rdwrldWe won the lottery being born in the West, didn’t we?

bookmark_borderSuch is life when lived

gateway

Occasionally surfing the web you stumble across something that succinctly expresses feelings that you’ve never managed to put into actual words, fermenting, condensing, distilling those feeling hovering in the back of your mind for ages until at last they make some sort of sense, it’s like the Universe giving us a helping hand.

It’s hard to avoid the feeling that an awful lot of people in this world have a padlocked gate around their heart, it’s there because they have been hurt in the past and had their heart broken more than once, it’s a matter of self-preservation, they’re unwilling, even unable to go through all that heartache again.

Sometimes, just sometimes, someone can reach in through the gate and touch the heart with the tips of his fingers but it’s not easy, he has to stand on his tippy-toes and really stretch himself to barely touch it. That’s not how it’s meant to be, how to really live.

A ship is safely protected in harbour but ships aren’t designed to remain in harbour, they’re built to travel the seven seas and ride out storms. If one wants to be happy then the only way to live, to be truly happy, is to throw open the gates to our heart and let everyone in, not just the select few; not just our children, not just our closest friends but everyone, we have to have a ‘gates wide open’ approach, living via your heart.

Very few souls are willing to risk this, they prefer the safety of the harbour, but I stumbled across this recently and thought this sums it up perfectly, B D Gulledge hit the nail on the head with this;

“I used to sit on the banks with a raft and watch the water roll lazily by. One day I pushed my raft into the shallows of the water and found the water moved swifter than I thought, but my raft was actually a little rowboat. Then, after some time I rowed my little boat into deeper water. There were great storms, mighty winds, tremendous waves, and sometimes I felt so alone. But I have noticed my little rowboat is now a mighty ship manned by my friends and loved ones, and beautiful calm seas, warm sunny days, and nights filled with comfortable dreams always double after a storm. Now, I could never go back and sit on the bank, in fact, I search for deeper water. Such is life when lived.

bookmark_borderWe find comfort in familiar things

meerkatsA few years ago I watched a wildlife programme on the BBC about Meerkats. Off they would go hunting and foraging early in the morning and return late afternoon to the great delight of the remaining group. There was much rubbing together and re-establishing bonds as the clan was reunited. I was reminded of this the other day when I came back home from my trains planes and automobiles (and hiking boots) holiday as I re-established bonds with my family and friends.

Although it’s lovely (and a privilege) to go away on holiday it’s good to be back home. It’s said that familiarity breeds contempt but I find great comfort in familiar things, for me familiarity breeds contentment, for example;

The embrace of our family and friends
My own bed and pillow
My favourite chair
My favourite cuppa tea done just right
The usual talking heads on the radio
Reaching out through habit for something in the kitchen and knowing it’s there
The purr of the cat as it settles beside you
Walking the dog in familiar woods
The sounds of my home
Seeing familiar faces on the way to work
Even the neighbours arguing as usual

It’s lovely to go away on adventures but it’s good to be back home on terra firma.

bookmark_borderIf I was God or Mark Zuckerberg..

ohdeargod

I was at a funeral of a close friend yesterday, it seems kind’a ironic that the word funeral starts with the letters f-u-n.  The mid 50’s isn’t the right time to die, it seems like it’s the prime of your life – although my mother Doris says 85 is the prime of your life – co-incidentally the age she is at now.

I’ve never quite got my head around this whole life and death thing. If I was God then I think I’d make a few changes to the system, an upgrade so to speak.  Instead of letting people die and having to replace them with new ones, wouldn’t it be much better to keep the one’s we have? It seems a terrible waste of resources (and souls) to have to keep replacing them with new ones, this whole built-in obsolescence that we have with modern cars and gadgets seems to have extended into souls as well.

I think I’m going to have to update the Wikipedia entry for Obsolescence;

Obsolescence is the state of being which occurs when an object, service or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order. Obsolescence frequently occurs because a replacement has become available that has, in sum, more advantages than the inconvenience related to repurchasing the replacement. Obsolete refers to something that is already disused or discarded, or antiquated. Typically, obsolescence is preceded by a gradual decline in popularity.

The thing is, my recently departed friend didn’t experience a gradual decline in popularity, much the opposite really, and it wasn’t like she was less productive or useful, in fact like most souls she got better and better at this whole ‘life’ thing and it seems to me to be very inefficient and bad management to replace her with someone brand new and completely incapable.

Of course I’m not saying that we shouldn’t replace anyone, there are certain souls that deserve to be sent back to the manufacturer and reset back to blank factory settings; Hilter, Stalin, Mao Ze-Dong , John Wilkes Booth amongst others but my friend didn’t do any harm to anyone, quite the opposite, she brightened up everybody’s lives and really, isn’t that the sort of soul we should be holding onto rather than letting go?

Chris Rock once said that instead of trying to outlaw guns wouldn’t it be a much better idea to increase the price of bullets so that each bullet costs a million dollars, that way when someone was shot then everyone would think “well, he must have deserved it, at $1m a bullet then he must have REALLY deserved to be shot” and the same goes for Hilter etc, if someone dies under this upgraded system them we’d all think ‘wow, he really must have deserved to die!’ and we won’t be so sad.

Of course the consequence of not letting people die and having to replace them is that the few new souls that get born to replace the tyrants of this world will be extremely precious and that can only be a good thing. I see babies born in the third world and suffering and many dying because of lack of care and attention but if the birth of a baby was such a rare event then it would pretty much wipe out child poverty… every single child would be cherished beyond belief, the way it should be now.

If I couldn’t get this new system past the celestial committee then I’d like to make an alternative suggestion. I’d like a Facebook update. I’d like Facebook to be extended to Heaven. I think it would be nice to get status updates from my friends who are there and let them know I’m thinking about them. You’d think that with all the money Mark Zuckerberg has got since Facebook was floated on the stockmarket then this wouldn’t be so hard to do. It’s a win-win situation for Facebook because it means once they reach 100% saturation point here on earth and all seven billion of us are signed up, well, I suspect there’s an even bigger number of souls waiting in heaven, all clamouring to sign up and let their friends and family down here on earth know what they are up to. I’m sure my dearly departed friend will be first in line.

bookmark_borderA Pregnant Pause?

Pull my finger..
Pull my finger..

I’m in my 50’s now and suddenly there’s a whole rash of friends whom are becoming grandparents. Fifty’s a bit too early to become a grandparent, I don’t think one should become a grandparent until you’re 80 and look the part; the round glasses, cardigan and rocking chair.. and maybe a pipe.  I’m keen to have a few years between the time my two beasties move out to University or fulltime work and eventually produce kids.  (I hope you are paying attention boys!). I want to enjoy empty-nest syndrome, I want to travel the world, meet interesting people and blow them up (sorry, old joke!) but if grandchildren pop out before I’ve had a chance to do all that then I’m going to have mixed emotions, happy and sad at the same time.

So I was thinking the other day, if I was God, (or Morgan Freeman – some folk claim they are one and the same), then there’s another change I’d like to make to the current system. I know the previous suggestion was a bit radical but this one’s not so radical. If I was God then I’d give womankind a large ‘pregnant pause’ button, a pregnancy hibernation mode.

I think it would be good to be able to fall pregnant but crucially be able to pause it and carry on with it when circumstances change.

With all my friends whom are grandparents or about to become grandparents, only one of them was planned, all the others have come about because of carelessness and some of them are out of work or not in a position to give a child the best start in life. So wouldn’t it be good to be able to press a pause button and carry on with your life until your circumstances improve and when you feel it’s right then carry on with the pregnancy..

You see, there’s another angle to this, the only sure-fire way a woman can know she can have kids is to actually have one, it’s kind’a a major thing “oh yes, hurrah hurrah I’m pregnant, I can definitely have children..oh crap..I’m pregnant and I’m way too young!”   A relative of mine spent about ten years trying not to get pregnant, and each month there was this tension, pregnant or not pregnant…  For ten years she and her partner took precautions but when it became time to have kids they tried and tried for a few years and then were told that they couldn’t actually have kids and were too old for fertility treatment. So if they had tried getting pregnant at the start, safe in the knowledge that they could go into pregnancy hibernation mode then they would have known there was an issue and could have started fertility treatment earlier and maybe be a happy family by now.

So, upgrade time, a ‘diapause’ if you please Morgan and yes, you can google that..

And other thoughts occur to me, if I was God then I’d mess around with men’s hair loss. I am blessed with full head of hair but I think it’s interesting that men lose hair from the crown outwards, so they have a growing bald spot on the top. Wouldn’t it be more fun if it worked the other way, men lost hair from the sides and it receded upwards towards the crown. Then they could grow it longer and not have to bother about comb-overs. Of course it means that the Beatles MopTop hairstyle will come back in fashion and for some it’s going to look like the genie out of Disney’s Aladdin..but at least the top of their head would always be warm and they wouldn’t have to wear hats all the time…and we’d see the end of comb-overs..

bookmark_borderIf I’d known my life was going to be a comedy, I would have dressed differently.

Jeez..I can't wait!
Jeez..I can’t wait!

When I was growing up in Ireland we had our own version of the National Rifle Association, it was called the Sunday Observance Committee. With a title like that one would think they sat around and spied on everybody (but only on Sundays).. However, they do something much more stupid, they made sure everywhere was shut on Sundays. This was before the Sunday Trading Laws were passed, so if you ran a store you weren’t allowed to open on a Sunday, Sunday was a day for family and attending church according to the powerful SOC. If you tried opening up on a Sunday then they would lobby the council very noisily and protest outside the shop in large numbers until the shop closed. Council members knew they would be chucked out of office if they crossed the rich and powerful SCO.

Generally this meant all the large chain stores were closed on a Sunday but the local shop around the corner was open. So, rather stupidly, this meant that one could buy Playboy magazine on a Sunday (apparently!) but couldn’t actually buy a bible because the local corner shop didn’t normally stock them, only the chain stores would have them. It also meant that the pubs were closed but hotels couldn’t be, so one could go to the local hotel and buy a drink there. Going to the local hotel (which also happened to be quite plush) was no hardship, in fact it was a good excuse to drop in there and it kind’a made a mockery of the law and the SCO.

And whilst I’m on the subject of religion and silliness – breaking news – Jesus gets tossed out of a darts match!

Nathan Grindal, a darts fan was forced to leave a live televised final because he looked like Jesus. He was ejected for distracting players when the crowd started chanting “Jesus” at him during a match earlier this month.

Personally, if I was him I’d never have to work another day in my life, I’d simply hire myself out to the church! Can you imagine how popular I’d be at the Popes Christmas message, there would be a riot…especially if I denounced the Pope. Even better, pitch up at someone’s deathbed, we’re talking about 100% conversion rate here, get some billionaire atheist and ‘repent and leave all your cash to the church and you will get into heaven’, I can’t understand why the Church of England isn’t beating a path to Nathans door! The opportunities for mischief are endless! Imagine sneaking into Richard Dawkins bedroom when he’s sleeping and he’s woken up by Jesus shouting ‘UNBELIEVER” at him, his next book would be ‘The God Conclusion’. And speeding tickets, who would give Jesus a ticket…”you will burn in the fires of Hell” has extra impact when it comes from Jesus… and parking tickets…forget them… And then there’s sex…would the missionary position have extra frisson when it was Jesus doing it?

Yes, I know, I’m going to hell…

bookmark_borderCenterfolding

I was chin-wagging with a friend a work today.. I know, surprising, isn’t it, that I actually still have friends, especially after being so mischievous. However, she’s around the same vintage as me, recently out of her marriage and was chatting away about the 25 years she was married to Mr Useless-Waste-Of-Space. Whilst she’s giving out about the problems and issues she had during her marriage it suddenly occurred to me that she spent the entire 25 years trying to fold herself to fit the life and partner she had chosen.

Obviously not everyone but I suspect a lot of us are guilty of that, we spend our lives trying to fold ourselves around and in between the lives of our partners and our families. And when we look back with the benefit of hindsight we realise just how much we have folded ourselves, how we have twisted and pulled ourselves, contorted ourselves into tiny spaces just to keep everything together in one piece. No wonder it’s so uncomfortable towards the end. And it’s not a healthy situation to be in. Obviously.

Folding ourselves didn’t work. Folding ourselves doesn’t work. What we should be looking for, at this ripe old age when we have gained a modicum of sense (please!) is for someone with whom we might unfold instead, within and beyond attraction, with whom we feel the compromises work both ways, the sharing is mutual, trust reciprocal, enjoyment palpable, the connection strong, deep and sure.

It sucks that I had to wait until 51 years of age before I figured that out. And sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.