Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Unwelcome Question.

Another little disaster today. I can’t be bothered to elucidate. Suffice it to say that when I aborted the shopping trip and returned to the domicile to effect such repairs as were possible (with moderate success, it has to be said) the question which none of us likes to ask because it makes us feel like a wimp ingratiated its unwelcome but inevitable presence anyway:

Why me?

I’ve had four unremitting years of this – four years next month to be precise – and it’s getting on my nerves. Accordingly, the dear old blog was doomed to remain torpid until I found a nicely apposite passage in Slaughterhouse 5 which I should like to quote:

The protagonist, Billy Pilgrim, has been abducted by aliens and taken aboard their spaceship. He’s asked whether he has any questions. He asks ‘why me?’

‘That is a very earthling question to ask, Mr Pilgrim. Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is. Have you ever seen a bug trapped in amber?’

‘Yes.’ Billy, in fact, had a paperweight in his office which was a blob of polished amber with three ladybugs embedded in it.

‘Well, here we are, Mr Pilgrim, trapped in the amber of this moment. There is no why.

I like this book.

On a mostly unrelated note, I have to say that I’ve also grown to quite like certain aspects of American linguistic idioms. I’ve even taken a few of them on board. One exception that seems to have been universally adopted these days is that habit of serving you with something (like a YouTube upload, for example) and then inviting you to ‘enjoy!’ One word. It doesn’t sound like an invitation, it sounds like an order. It’s cheap, smug and patronising, and I don’t like it.


Madeline said...

"There is no why" has to be either the best or the worst part about our existence.

Happy British New Year. Let us know how 2015 looks, it's still 5 hours away from us.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I agree. I hate being told to "enjoy!" I feel like saying in return "Buzz off!" And in regard to "why me?" I worked with a doctor who would answer his patients with "why not?"

Happy New Year, Jeff! Enjoy!

Best wishes from N.

JJ Beazley said...

Hey! (American, see?)

Ladies, I’m seriously gratified that you chose to comment at the appropriate hour. I truly am. Thank you.

As it happens, tonight’s little woe has finally convinced me that something has to change with regard to my domicile (note the careful use of noun as opposed to the more usual ‘home.’) Maybe it will mean I’ll have to leave my rural idyll, since it’s anything but idyllic these days. Maybe it will mean cooking somebody else’s goose. Maybe there’s a third way, I don’t know yet. It’s all a bit depressing, but I suppose you could say that having the acceptance switch finally thrown is a breakthrough of sorts.

Nevertheless, I reciprocate your best wishes for 2015 with all my heart – to you both, and Mr K, and the Pousses K. You are much valued. Shame on me that I shall probably be asleep at 5 am.