Today, I have decided to share with you a couple of issues that have vexed me over the past year or so. You may of course think that my mildly maintained moans are nothing particularly new coming from me, but - occasionally I do have to get them off my chest.
Firstly, I’d like to be able to tell you that I have over the years gathered around me a fan club based upon the popularity of my writings in the MDB - but, that would be a lie. What I have attracted is not women (young or old) panting at my door, but a certain type of middle-aged chap who is obsessed by English grammar.
Although I have always been a pretty good speller, with the invention of the computer ’spell-check’ system I’m usually blameless in terms of spelling unless I succumb to the evils of linguistic Americanisms. This being said, I get regular lectures of my use of commas, semi-colons, apostrophes and my apparent “Wilful overuse of exclamation marks”!!! One reader even went as far as saying that I needed “shooting.” Without being unkind, who on earth would make a hobby out of checking my grammar when there are women to be made love to - bathrooms to be grouted and sunny Sunday walks to enjoy? I suppose this must be a distraction of sorts, a comfort blanket for lost obsessives who always march to the beat of another drum. Anyway, I suppose I should say that I’m grateful for their interest, but that would be a lie. Thinking about it; an over-reaction to mild criticism is also a sure-fire sign that a person is turning into a miserable old scrote. By the way, is ‘scrote’ an actual word I wonder? Oh dear, probably not - but I’m sure that’ll be worth at least half-a-dozen bizarre emails of admonishment.
OH HELLO - WHO ARE YOU?
How is your memory? If you are anything like me, it will be occasionally brilliant, sometimes sketchy and more often than not - selective. It is said that as you get older your long term memory becomes sharper and your short term recall more than a little hit and miss. Yesterday I was having a discussion with a certain female personage about the fact that we don’t have to even remember telephone numbers, as your mobile does it for you. Before you shake your head and exclaim “Really Frank?” in a sarcastic manner, I just wonder how many phone numbers we would remember if we didn’t have this facility - not many, I’ll be bound! Furthermore, I sometimes think that people turn up at quayside cafes, with the sole intention of making me feel bad for not recognising them. Take the other day, I sat in a cafe just behind an attractive woman, who on seeing me sat there alone, engaged me in a pleasant conversation as to how I was keeping, what I was doing with myself and was Julie keeping well? Panic! You try and continue a coherent, conversation, with someone you have not a ‘Scooby’ as to who they are. I found myself asking stuff like - “Are you still working at the same place?” - hoping this might give me even a slight clue to who she was. Another ploy was to ask innocently - “What are you doing with yourself nowadays?”
Nevertheless, this can and does go wrong on occasions, particularly when she says - “Much the same thank’s Frank - still your doctor.” To be fair, she did laugh and told me it often happens (with older patients!) and it’s probably all to do with context, as in… no stethoscope, or white coat and slightly severe, yet rather attractive glasses.
WAITING FOR INSTRUCTIONS
If I could be described as rather lacking in the memory department, alas my grasp of modern technology is perhaps equally hit-and-miss. For reasons that are not entirely clear, most men would rather nail their eyelids to the floor than read a set of instructions. It’s true I’m afraid and as a major offender in this area, I can’t really explain why this should be the case. I have had a mobile phone since they were the size of a house-brick in the early 1980’s and I am ashamed to admit that I have never once even glanced at the booklet that explains in some detail all the exciting things you can do with it. Nevertheless, I do have a sort of rudimentary knowledge of one or two of my iPhones limitless ability to do things, - but, mostly I use it as a… phone. When I mention to friends that I am not quite as switched-on to this sort of stuff as they might think, generally they like to patronise me by showing how to ‘do’ some of the trickier elements of modern technology.
Indeed, I am truly grateful, but - although I know I am being pathetic; but what makes it worse is when they show me how to do something in a very slow and deliberate voice as if I have the concentration scan of a gerbil on speed. I pretend that I’m listening, but I have no intention at all of wasting five minutes of my life finding out the complexities of a ‘stick’ thing you shove into the side of your computer for some reason. Sometimes I get swept up in a conversation with friends whereupon I do not understand a word they are saying. It is also true that it is mainly men who are obsessed by gadgets of any kind, women mostly have a life to live. In fact sit in a bar or cafe at any given time in any given male company, there will always be someone banging on about his new bit of kit, and yes, I do feign a certain amount interest. Because if I didn’t it would be as good as admitting that I’ve got a really small appendage wouldn’t it?