Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Big Tex Is Dead

It’s not the ending to 2008 I wanted, but at least Forrest Gump didn’t turn up on my doorstep and wave a box of chocolates in my face. Or anywhere else.

Maybe, like me, you’re planning on waxing reflective today, wondering how to transform yourself into a better person without recourse to plastic surgery or a total personality graft, reflecting on the good and bad times you’ve seen and looking forward to your next BOVI-Burga (The Burger You Can Trust) — or whatever.

It’s a good thing, isn’t it? To take stock, mix in a couple of herrings and whup yourself up a Stargazy Pie of speculation and resolution? I’d like to think so, but deep down (just above the elastic of my Whirlo Socks) I have a couple of reservations about the whole business of grand resolutions:

1) It’s a fucking waste of time.
2) It’s a fucking waste of time.

So, here’s what I’m currently thinking. As I began making my way through the mountain of papers, power tools, tropical fish and drawing stuff constituting all the tangible remains of my late Dad’s life, I came upon this photograph. Actually, I came upon loads of photographs, most of which I’d never seen before — of my grandad in daft looking trousers, my aunts and uncles in the black and white Skeggie beach gloom some time before the war (or probably during, if all the dark clouds looming o’erhead are, in fact, smoke), and my Dad’s grandad, who, it turns out, stood a full 6' 7" without his cap. Anyhow, what struck me about the photo below is the way my Dad is striding into a future he couldn’t possibly know. A future full of computers and religious extremists, cheap flights to despoiled Hungarian wastelands and exactly the same Queen. Think of anything you like after the late fifties when this photo was probably taken and those are all the things he couldn’t possibly have known about. And me, of course. Nearly fifty years’ worth of times, people and things — good and bad, taken and given.

I can’t think he’s out to change the world and he doesn’t have the look of someone too intent on changing himself, and it may be that the person taking the photo isn’t (as I suspect) my Mum, but the ringleader of a gang of Teddy Boy thugs that terrorised the caravan parks of Great Yarmouth till the price of hot dogs drove them away, thus rendering my whole life a sham, BUT, right now I’m seeing a quality in my Dad’s stride that speaks to me. Granted, it was probably a sunny day and I’d be very surprised if umpteen bags of delicious properly cooked fish ‘n’ chips weren’t lurking off camera within a couple of yards, yet there’s no mistaking what this photograph is actually about.

If I’m to do anything different in 2009, it has to be done this way — preferably with a similar steam of merriment rising in wisps from my smile as I swing my feet into empty air. So thanks for that one, Dad.

Oh — and whatever they’re saying now about 2009, remember: it hasn’t happened yet.


writtenwyrdd said...

That's a lovely perspective from that candid shot, Whirl.

And I agree that resolutions are a waste of time. We seldom last and it's peer pressure/social pressure to make them in the first place, so they don't come from a place of meaning within but from without ourselves.

I love your last comment. 2009 hasn't happened yet. Yay for that! :)

JaneyV said...

I made resolutions last year and I'm still a fat lazy git. I think that taking stock is a good thing because it can help you see all the stupid things you do to impede your own progress in life. But then you say to yourself [and by that I mean, myself] - the thing is I like food and lying around in my jammies as much as I can get away with, so am I really in need of resolve?

I love the picture of your dad [a handsome youngster he was too] and I love the way you interpreted it. This doom and gloom shit that's going down around us is the biggest crock I've ever heard. Life's what you make it!

Hurrah for 200andnine [my nine key is bust] and all it's possibilities.

I'll raise a glass to your Dad later to thank him for bringing Whirl into our lives. Happy New Year Whirl, Girly of Whirly and Son of Whirly. xxx

fairyhedgehog said...

It's a great picture, Whirl, and I love what you've taken from it.

I've done the trawling through the tangible remains of someone's life (Nanna, Dad, Mum-in-Law) and I must say I found it very sad. I don't know whether looking back is good or bad but sometimes it seems to be inevitable.

I don't do resolutions though. For me, the right time to do things usually doesn't coincide with the calendar.

I like to think of you stepping boldly into 2009 in your fluffy, stripy socks. I hope your new year is as good as it can be.

Kiersten said...

Your two reservations made me laugh.

And that is a wonderful picture and an even better sentiment. Is it weird to say that your dad was a very handsome young man? But you're right--if we could all have that look on our faces going into the new year, we'd be better for it.

Natalie said...

Happy New Year. Resolutions are a strange tradition, perhaps a way for us all to perpetuate the culture of guilt.

I'm not really a fan, but I still find myself making them mentally. I never write them down though, that's too much work.

AC said...

Your dad's photo brought a smile to my face--what a handsome, confident-looking guy! I love your comments about him and what the photo means.

Also, I agree with Written. That last line about 2009 is perfect! It'll be my motto when the doomsayers at the office start moaning about all the supposedly dark days ahead ;)

blogless troll said...

I make my resolutions sporadically throughout the year when I need to change something. They're easier to keep that way. Jan 1 isn't always the best time for change, especially if you have a hangover.

Mom In Scrubs said...

Ditto on the sentiments about Resolutions - New Year's or otherwise. I've never subscribed and never will.

I don't often take the day to reflect either...I'm not big into looking back; I guess I'm not too sentimental. Maybe someday I will be, but right now there's just so much to look forward to!

Great picture, and I love your interpretation. He does, indeed, look cock-sure and free-spirited...and handsome as well. That's one to frame for posterity.

Happy New Year to you and yours...and resolutions be damned!

Whirlochre said...

And so, that sensation of Indiana-Jones-temple-turning-into-dustiness begins creeping its way along the back of my heels and I begin trilling my toes in the direction of the great unknown, teetering back and forth on the see-saw of my instep (physiologically, this is bollocks, of course, but I don't care).

This time last year, I counted not a single one of you among my twinkly stars, and it seems odd now to have spent so much time prior to that living under a rock.

So I'm very glad you all choose to drop by here.

Do, please, return in 2009. I have absolutely no idea what bollocks I'll end up writing.

JaneyV said...

Yes Whirl but your bollox is in a league above the rest!

Whirlochre said...

That'll teach me to go bunjee jumping with a scrotal harness.

writtenwyrdd said...

I should mention that your dad looks so familiar in that picture. I don't know who he reminds me of, however. I'll let you know if I ever figure it out!

Kiersten said...

With comments sections like this, how could any of us resist? I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering what life was like before you were in it. Well, computerally speaking of course.

Robin S. said...

I'm with you about the resolutions.

JB and I are gonna go to a small, casual party tonight, but we're coming home early.

The whole revelry thing was good stuff in my teens and twenties - it was a great excuse to party, after all - but I'm now thinking things like...holy crap...another year gone by...and..if I have a hangover, I'll screw up my edits on Chapter 19. Apparently I'm now jaded and boring, but that works for me.

Whirlochre said...

I thought about that jaded and boring thing but so much alcohol has gone undrunk over the past week, I decided to drink it. Plus, I ate a stack of cheese. Computerally speaking.

What was I talking about?


Kiersten said...

Best. Comment. Ever.

Whirlochre said...

And I live to tell the tale. Not only that, I've had a brainwave regarding my difficult "Backstory Chapter 2" which is currently 1600 words (and none of it dialogue). I'm rewriting it even as I comment, incorporating an exciting new beginning and combining it with another small snippet to create...something decent.

fairyhedgehog said...

Re-writing and commenting simultaneously! That's some serious multitasking. Do you type one handed for the comments and use a pen in the other hand for the rewrites?


Whirlochre said...

And the Venusian stiuckleback juggling. Don't forget that.

Robin S. said...

Ha! I thought something was screwed up when I saw your comment stop, and then I scrolled down and found the rest. What a scream you are, in a very good way.

Don't go anywhere! I didn't know most of you guys before 2008, but I absolutely don't want to not know you ever again.

Whirlochre said...

So — are you saying 2009 would be the worst possible year for us all to be abducted by aliens (unless we were all abducted by the same aliens)?

Mary said...

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.

Robin S. said...

Yes, babycakes, that's exactly what I'm sayin'.