Monday, June 16, 2008

The Temptations Facing An Elderly Criminal

Well, nearly there now. Less than 24 hours to go and I will be sixty. So much has been happening these last few days I have been just too exhausted to sit at my desk and compose blog postings (you try carrying home 28 bottles of malt from your birthday party and you will see what I mean). But as I now relax in the afterglow of Saturday's momentous party, I will attempt to catch up with the news. I will get around to the party and the second of my "things to do before I'm fifty" wish-list shortly, but first of all I feel the need to confess.

To the best of my knowledge, I have only ever broken the law once in my life. It was a sad story which I don't particularly want to go into in detail now, but it happened when I was a wild teenager back in the swinging sixties and involved a non-functioning rear light on a bicycle. Back in those days, as my friend Harry will tell you, policing was a more flexible occupation without the need to fill in endless paperwork, so the constable involved let me go with a telling off and the promise - on my part - to get a new bulb first thing in the morning.

Other than that my record is clear. Now you might think that an almost clean criminal record by the time you reach 60 is quite an achievement, but I must confess I find it just a trifle disappointing. Am I going to pass this great milestone in life without ever having experienced the illicit thrill of having stepped over - however briefly - the great dotted line that separates legality from illegality, right from wrong, the mundane from the felonious? Until this morning I thought I was, and then through the postbox fell my elderly persons' free bus pass. A day early!

Some people shun old age knowing that it is the handmaiden of infirmity and decline. Others look forward to being able to give up work and spend more time with their begonias. For me, the attraction has always been the prospect of a free bus pass. The introduction earlier this year of a government scheme by which such bus passes provide free travel throughout the UK has simply made me relish the onset of decrepitude with even more eager anticipation. Couple this longing with the fact that the pass has been delivered a day early and you will understand the troubled nature of my soul. Should I nip out and catch the bus down to Brighouse and hope that the driver doesn't notice the expiry date and that he or she isn't blessed with a mathematical mind? Should I play Russian Roulette with the law at this late stage? Or should I stay at home and alphabetically file my malt whisky bottles? Who knows? Beelzebub and Jehovah are still locked in a battle for my soul. I will let you know the outcome.

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