Last week I had lunch with some old pals I’ve known for fifty years and more. Such gatherings are now bitter-sweet affairs in the sense that – after decades of what some might accurately describe as each of us generally ‘ageing’ at different/varying speeds in terms of body shape, hair retention and/or colour and mental capacity – we have arrived at that stage in life where we all look ancient and spend most of our time cracking jokes about our poor memories and lack of sexual potency.
One of our number told two stories about our times at school which featured outrageous incidents in which I was a protagonist. I can honestly say that I didn’t do or say whatever it was he said I did, or that – if I did – I genuinely don’t remember them.
This sort of thing tends to happen more and more often as you get older and I suspect it is just an inevitable part of one’s slide into senility.
People tell stories about you that may or may not be true and, because they do so with such conviction – and you’re both struggling to decide whether or not they happened and also have been told so often by third parties who know you that your memory is shot to pieces – that in the end you just metaphorically lie back and accept that they did (even though inside you’re 100% convinced they didn’t), basking in the resulting laughter as part and parcel of some false legend about you that will live on long after you’ve popped your clogs. Such is the nature of life and I suppose always has been.
The showstopper of our meal was Pete, who out of the blue – during a discussion upon the passage of time – dropped the bombshell that his grandfather had been born in 1850.
Apparently [and here I may have got the exact dates wrong but the gist of what follows is correct] said grandfather had produced Pete’s father in about 1908 and then died in 1920. In turn Pete’s father and produced Pete in 1952 and then died in the early 1980s. The tale sounded like something straight out of that stalwart of unlikely facts Ripley’s Believe It Or Not but – when you think about it – is at least theoretically quite possible.
More soon from the whacky world of seniority when there is some …