AWEI: Will Eat Itself

Writing a blog sucks. (And you thought reading it was bad.) On Friday, between making my way to OT, PT and neuro/psychotherapy, I pre-banked today’s post. It was about how much I’ve enjoyed writing and how much it’s meant to me over the past five months or so.

So, what happened? As former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson would say:

“Events, dear boy, events.”

Or maybe he wouldn’t. Well, he certainly wouldn’t. He’s been dead since 1986. I don’t remember much about him personally, given that he died when I was twelve. By this stage, Peter Cook’s characterization of Macmillan as decrepit old buffer had held sway in popular culture for over 20 years, and my all-knowing 12-year old self didn’t see much reason to turn it over. More recently, in Howard Brenton’s play, “Never So Good”,  Macmillan was “painted as a brilliant, witty, but complex man, tragically out of kilter with his times,  an old Etonian who eventually loses his way in a world of shifting values.” That, if nothing else, suggests an evening of satisfying tragic drama, so let’s go with that. Furthermore, as I researched this piece, I came across this extract from Macmillan’s maiden speech to the House of Lords, made during one of the formative eras of my young life:

It breaks my heart to see—and I cannot interfere—what is happening in our country today. This terrible strike, by the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser‘s and Hitler’s armies and never gave in. It is pointless and we cannot afford that kind of thing. Then there is the growing division of Conservative prosperity in the south and the ailing north and Midlands. We used to have battles and rows but they were quarrels. Now there is a new kind of wicked hatred that has been brought in by different types of people.

Heart-breaking, indeed.

Anyway, as I was looking into the “events” phrase, it turned out that Macmillan may not have said any such thing. According to a June 2002 article in the Telegraph, the remark has not been reliably authenticated. Although, I’m not not sure that the Telegraph article can be reliably authenticated, either. It’s just a bunch of Torygraph memes spliced together with the glue of inaccuracies and a hilarious lack of self awareness.  I mean, may be cobbled together without any serious fact-checking, but at least I occasionally consult a professional for some good academic materials when I’m working outside of the fields of ’80s-’90s British indie music and Doctor Who. (And, see? There’s the self-awareness.)

  1. Predictable swipe at the Grauniad ?”…. This was not because the column was bad, or because the Guardian’s leader pages were any more irritating than usual….”  Check (Swipe 1 of 3).
  2. Total lack of self-awareness, camouflaged in lazy claims to the contrary?”I always know when I’m using one [a particularly upsetting form of aphorism], because I generally find myself introducing it with the adverb “famously”…. [introduces of such aphorisms, before noting that] “using them is designed to convey a thin patina of learning.” Check.
  3. Reference to the sainted Maggie?In the form of a reference to her “there is no such thing as society” remark.  Yes, maybes those aren’t the exact words she used, but, damn straight you’re going to shear it of meaning and context before you refer to it and imply a thin patina of considered thought. Check.
  4. Massive misstatement of fact?”[The ‘events’ remark] didn’t appear in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations until 1999… which may explain why hardly anybody used it until three years ago.”Nobody referenced “events” until 1999? I simply don’t believe it. I’m pretty bloody sure i did. Any other old duffers care to corroborate my thoughts on this one? [Yeah, I’m counting on you not having the facts to hand. It’s how one writes a comment piece, apparently.  At least since 2002.] CHECK!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Events.  Well, on Friday, I had a bit of an asthma attack on the way home. I did my usual breathing exercises, but this time couldn’t quite put it to bed. So I had a wee puff of my rescue inhaler. That provided short term relief, but as often seems to be the case, appeared to prolong the symptoms. By the time we had reached Saturday afternoon, I had been short of breath for much of the day, and was quite distressed. Fortunately, my new practice of surrounding myself with doctors at all times paid off when Jon, Kathy and Arcadi ordered me off to either urgent care or the ER.

The urgent care center was closed. Having an MBA girlfriend, I’m going to suggest that being closed at casualty rush hour isn’t a great idea. I’d have that place open Friday evenings. Saturday nights, and sponsoring Old Firm games. And, if my Aneurysm Awareness meetings are anything to go by, weekend nights are prime time for intraventricular and subarchnoid hemorrhages. But, no worries, we headed back to my home from home, Methodist Hospital. Notwithstanding the pissy standing it has with many Slopers, I’ve already received life-saving care there, we love the doctors, our doctor friends say good things about it, and the ER even received plaudits in the legendarily bitchy FiPS the other day, after one of their correspondents ignored this blog’s advice and stupidly cut himself up with a knife. Well, a mandolin. Whatever that is.

Ah, that’s what it is.[Credit:]
 The secret to getting quick service in an ER, if you can’t fake a good – or preferably, really awful – cerebral hemorrhage, is to have an asthma attack. We were seen in short order. Even better, our doctor was one who had attended to my stroke. [Athena: Neal and Beth were discussing whether that made her the goddess of knowledge or war. “BOTH.”] She didn’t immediately recognize Beth, but after a quick reminder of my now legendary bleed, it all came flooding back.  Apparently on intake, they had to take my BP reading three times, on different monitors, because each time they thought the monitor was taking the piss. Then the conversation moved on to the subject of telling family members that a loved one is on the way out.

“I remember you were really upset.”
“You guys were trying to tell me that he’s probably dead.”
“Well, yeah…. But there’s always a chance that they might not die, so….”

Well, this night wasn’t so bad. Neal rolled up, and he, Beth and I had a grand old time as I sucked on my nebulizer, took my drugs, waited for my scripts for various types of steroids, and recuperated in time to be home for another less than gripping installment of Doctor Who. Other than the lovely, Scottishy, Willoughby-yHide“, we seem to have been in a period of entropy since Christmas that makes Series 18 look like an explosion of energy and animation. That’s one for Will and John, there. The rest of you, if you read about the concept of entropy and Series 18, like, a bunch, there’s a joke in there. I promise. As another sneering tosser might say:

“The jokes are there. Some of you just have to work a little harder.”

I’m not promising it’s funny, but….

More importantly, all’s well that ended well.  Yesterday, I was able to participate pretty fully in our move, and most of this was composed late at night in the Waterfront District. Hooray!

… apoplectic optimizer widget … running … ’80s/’90s British music references…TWO … Doctor Who references … TWO … ad hominem attacks on the saintly Maggie and other British Conservative figures and institutions … THREE … references to complex, misunderstood concepts in a way designed to convey a thin patina of learning … SYSTEM NEARING OVERLOAD, EVEN DISREGARDING CARELESS USE OF “AD HOMINEM” … total lack of self-awareness, camouflaged in lazy claims to the contrary …  EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN !!!

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