Monday, February 19, 2007
Living Longer In A Sea Of Red Hot Pawn
It's a grumpy old man day today. To misquote an old Ian Dury song "reasons to be miserable are 1,2,3,4" First, it is a miserable day outside. It is flat: just like someone has spilt a tin of bile-duct grey paint over everything so that you can't see where the grey trees end and the grey sky starts. It thinks it might rain but hasn't the energy to decide. On days like today I normally retreat into my fantasy life but a quick glance at my Google Weather Chart tells me that the weather in Ventura, California (where Amy and I have got to on our walk from Los Angeles to New York) is wet and unseasonably cold. Second, I have come to the realisation that I have been removed from the gene-pool of corporate DNA. Until this weekend I simply believed that I had been ditched from the public sector body I served on as part of the natural turn-over of talent. But I was at a meeting in London last week and I heard a senior civil servant refer to the need to keep some people within organisations undergoing radical change as "the need to retain some corporate DNA". I was very impressed with the phrase (I wrote in down on one of those anonymous pieces of paper they always put out at meetings). But on the train back up north I started thinking about it and realised that I was not part of the corporate DNA which is being preserved. How sad can you get? Third, I was happy last week because I discovered a newspaper article which claimed - as far as I can remember - that the life expectancy of males in the UK increases by 4 hours 50 minutes per day. This was a revealing statistic and one which sent me rushing for my pocket calculator. If things go according to plan - and if I have pressed the right buttons on the calculator - this means that I should live until at least the age of 108. For days this made me feel better until I was telling someone about it this weekend and they asked to see the newspaper article in question. I then discovered I had lost it. Without proof I began to think that I had imagined the whole thing and this was like having 8 years of your life pulled out from under your zimmer frame. And four - there is the pawn. A visiting friend recommended I try a web-site for chess players. Her husband is a great fan (but there again they live in the middle of nowhere) and the site is called "Red Hot Pawn". I signed-up and ever since I have been bombarded with e-mails headed "Red Hot Pawn Challenge" from strange sounding people challenging me to a game of chess. I feel self-conscious about all of this. Every time someone comes near my computer I feel duty-bound to explain "errr it is a chess game ... pawn ... err p. a. w. ...". By now whoever it might be is looking at me as though I am a madman. Eventually I discovered a setting I can use to stop this obscene tide of challenges. It is the "on vacation" button which seemingly tells other players that you are not about at the moment. So from now on I will be on permanent vacation. Fellow chess players will look at my listing and envy my life which will appear to be one long holiday. But in reality I will be sat in the greyness of my home, nursing my redundant DNA, and mourning my lost years. Now that is sad.