thief of time

Saturday, September 25, 2004

False Signals

I went to my son’s Year 12 graduation the other night and it was really quite a pleasant evening, all things considered. The usual things were said that should have been said and it was all properly nostalgic.

One thing should be noted by everyone that makes speeches, however. If you’re making a series of points in your speech, it’s always a wonderful thing for the listener when they hear those magic words “…and finally…”.

It’s also promise that should not be made lightly to an audience that has been listening to a number of speeches and is likely to have to listen to a number more before they’re through. The mounting frustration that results when the promised end-in-sight proves to be nothing more than a mirage tends to negate many of the, no doubt, telling points you are in the process of making.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Stories from the Past

We can sure learn a lot from people that lived generations before us, if we stop and listen. We can also catch glimpses of a world that is long gone and often spoken of very nostalgically.

I was chatting to a lady I know who grew up in Europe before the Second World War. She mentioned living quite close to a market in her youth and how she always avoided one side of the market because that’s where they sold pigeons. I was expecting a typical childhood reaction to their killing, but when she told me how they did it, I was absolutely horrified.

Apparently they inserted a funnel into their brain and poured boiling water into it. She said they also used to kill frogs the same way at another spot in the market.

The things we do to “lesser” creatures is quite horrifying.

I certainly hope this doesn’t still go on, but it makes you wonder what other things may go on behind our backs nowadays that we don’t know about. Then there are the things that we carefully ignore, like battery hens.

I guess we can justify just about anything.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Well, I’ve finally shaken off the tail end of my son’s flu/cold. It finished a lot sooner than his did, but I have to admit that it was a good one while it lasted.

I spent most of the weekend in bed and then did the same for the week that followed, except that I did go to work, crashing very early every time I came home.

There’s something about not being well that tends to distance you from what’s going on in the world. First of all, I didn’t tend to read the papers, because that took too much energy and concentration. I couldn’t even be bothered to listen to the news on the radio very attentively. I know the election’s coming up soon, but it just doesn’t feel terribly real, or that what I do about it is going to matter a hill of beans in the long run.

I feel that way about everything just at the moment—getting the necessary done and forgetting to go the extra mile for anything else. I sure hope this clears up soon. Getting rid of the physical aspects of an illness should be enough to get rid of the mental fog as well. It feels very self-indulgent.

Probably all I need is a good boot up the backside. I’m flexible enough to do it myself, but honestly I can’t be bothered yet.

Friday, September 03, 2004


My son came home last week with the plague. Well, if it wasn’t the plague, it was something that made me want to cover him with a sheet, give him a bell and have him call out “unclean, unclean” as he approached family living areas. No matter how much I tried to discourage it, he insisted in breathing in the same room that we were in.

My mother-in-law doesn’t believe in germs—at least, not in the family. I think she thinks I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive to worry about such things and maybe I am.

I come by it honestly, though, as I have inherited this morbid interest in my health from a long line of almanac and horse doctor consultants. Well, maybe two doesn’t count as a long line, but they must have come by it somewhere, so I think it’s definitely in the genes. I first noticed this in my grandfather who loved to try all kinds of home remedies. My dad is also very conscious of health issues and is always interested in following the latest health news and taking note of the correct vitamin supplements to use to combat all kinds of illnesses and conditions.

When I was a child, I noted this with a mildly benevolent eye, and dutifully took the vitamin supplements I was given and indeed experienced extremely good health for the most part, except for the inevitable childhood diseases. I’ve been similarly blessed in my adult life, even with taking vitamins rather sporadically at best.

Expose me to flu germs however, and my inner hypochondriac shows itself in full force. All this week, I’ve been monitoring myself for the slightest indication that something’s awry. Wednesday, I came over all headachy—not a definite sign, but certainly an indicator in my eyes. Now today, I’m getting an aching back and my throat is becoming increasingly annoyed with me. Still not proof positive, because I might have done something to myself and I might have aggravated my allergies, but even so, I feel an increasing sense of satisfaction that my worst fears have been justified.

In any case, it becomes a bit tiring to be on constant red alert, so I think I’ll make an early night of it and see how I feel tomorrow morning. With any luck, I’ll be able to kick this thing over the weekend and be back at work on Monday, even though my son’s been sick for a week. I’ll just have to hope that it’s the weakness of this younger generation. It’s time to get out my dad’s megadoses of Vitamin C and hope that natural resilience will do the rest.

Then I can get back to my normal state of not being terribly concerned about such things. Even when I come across such colds at work, as you do, it usually doesn’t worry me very much (though I don’t take unnecessary risks) because I’ve been lucky (unlike the rest of my family) to mostly be able to resist them. Bring it up close and personal in the home, however, particularly with Doberman barking, and I become hyperconscious of the danger.

Maybe I’m a bit like my mother-in-law after all, only in reverse, in that it’s family germs that I’m particularly conscious of.

PS If you’re reading this, boy, stop it and get back to bed or you’ll never get better! It’s bad enough that you’ve infected the one that cooks and cleans for you without getting the rest of the household involved as well. I like to alone in my misery so I can get the proper amount of sympathy.