Or – things I wrote on the train while half asleep this morning, following a weekend of heavy birthdaying. Mine, as it happens. I’ve been olded.
Trivia tourettes â€“ the compulsion to spout flimflam at inappropriate times. When being sent down by a magistrate, the young lag would shout ‘there is only one breed of cow indigenous to the Northern Ensweer peninsula’, or ‘Poldark wasn’t real, although his dog was based on a real dog’ â€“ as opposed to ‘that’s the third time you’ve sent me down, you rotter’. Which, of course, would be inadmissable as evidence. As would any of the trivia he recited. Unless he perhaps came across the trivia will performing his offence â€“ eg on reading the host’s New Scientist in the middle of a burglary, should he be caught short. Or becoming engrossed in Wikipedia while performing a Nigerian 419 scam or needing to refer to the 1996 Haynes’ Owner’s Guide to the Vauxhall Carlton in an attempt to hot-wire the vehicle.
Then the idea could be extended to Trivia Roulette â€“ who could come up with the most obscure fact while still remaining broadly on topic. And then we’d all be employed by Radio 4 and be chums with dead comedians.
Of course most men of a certain age are well used to Trivia Top Trumps, aka ‘Going to the Pub’. My twenties would have been immeasurably more, um, quiet, had I not known and been rewarded with endless amounts of completely pointless information. It probably said something about my ability to retain this information that my role in the pub quiz team was generally to offend members of my team and think of the team name, occasionally at the same time. In fact, so regular was my capacity to cause offence and or random outbreaks of giggles that the landlord created a special prize for me to win each week (generally the contents of a Kinder Egg). Without this incentive, who knows if such winners as ‘Default Horse’, ‘My wee smells of nuts’ or ‘Fiona’s repeated Question 4 so many times that I have lost the will to live’.
Which leads nicely on to that much loved pub staple: ‘Ten things I hate about lists.’ I’m hoping to publish it in time for Xmas. Oh, my mistake, I’m hoping to publish shit in time for Xmas.
Which leads me to a theory of surrealism. After all, surrealism is simply Thinking Tourettes. Let us take a fairly standard premise â€“ ‘you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’. Well. There are many riddler-me-this reasons â€“ the horse could be full, or the water may in fact be poisoned, or the water could be frozen. The correct answer, obviously, is that the horse is the reincarnation of Eleanor of Aquitaine, third wife of the fourteenth Duke of Burgundy. It is a well known fact (ok, it is a trivially known fact) that the Duke favoured throwing buckets of water over his spouse during foreplay, as he had been told off incessantly by his mother for wearing wet clothes as a child. Thus the horse associates water with aristocratic jiggery pokery. And lo and behold, fish.
Let us take another â€“ ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged that eighteenth century literature is much easier to dramatise because it is cheaper to sew corsets than to rent a Mk III Jaguar and drive it really fast round the wilds of Suffolk’. That is just pish – everyone knows it’s because the the authors’ are dead and you can’t be a good author until you’ve done a little dying. No-one liked Austen when she was alive. QED. AND she didn’t drive a Mk III Jaguar. Colin Firth be damned.
Which (finally, I hear you gasp) brings me on to Death. Or Life Tourettes, as I prefer to call it. Although sometimes that’s hiccups. Death by hiccups, the only way to go.
So, thought about death recently, stranger?