Friday, September 10, 2004

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Last Christmas, I watched (or tried to watch) a show on BBC2 called "Grumpy Old Men".
Hmm, I thought, a bunch of comedians waxing lyrical on the issues of the day, should be fun.

Well, (like the men featured in the show), I was disappointed, as the show did exactly what it said on the tin. A bunch of middle-aged codgers (Bob Geldof included, but, as he was an angry young man, the transition was seamless, if unseemly) rambled on about how betrayed they felt by the modern day.

These men, we were told, were once assured of a bright and glorious future, replete with high-speed trains, Lunar cities, recyclable paper clothes and rocket packs. The subsequent lack of arrival of said items had apparently robbed them of their joie de vivre and left them all saggy and moany.

Of course, the fact that these men had enjoyed their heyday in the '80s and were now seen only on silly football quiz shows or sillier anti-Euro ads, coupled with their apparent irritation at any of the real advances of our age, probably would have meant that had their promises been fulfilled, they would have stomped awkwardly around Luna City, bitching about the low gravity and the appalling mileage of their rocket packs.

This is why I am so delighted by the ennui, the basic cynicism of our times. Think of it, we are the end product of the '70s Oil crisis, the recession and "Me, Me, Me" attitude of the '80s and the downsizing/dot-bomb culture of the '90s. We are used to being stomped on, warned, frightened, chastised, disappointed and lied to. We expect together be fired, drowned, ripped off or a combination of all three. Now, should any one of these things NOT happen to us, we can revel in having dodged the bullet. We shall skip merrily to our friends' houses, knock on their doors and exclaim with fulsome joy: "I didn't get testicular cancer!!!" and the two of us shall hug and dance around like mad things!

Cynicism shall set us free. The certainties of doom and gloom, that so disfigure our pre-middle age existence, will fall away in the face of the characteristic doubts of the latter years. Be-slippered fathers shall be seen wandering about mumbling happy little phrases to themselves like "Hmm, the house HASN'T sunk entirely into the ground and I still have a lot of my hair..." We shall be a new generation of irritatingly positive old farts, a shining beacon of irrepressible joy created by the incredulous relief that we will feel when we don't all get cancer from mobile phones.

And the best thing is, you can start on it now, be as infuriatingly upbeat as you can. Irritate your co-workers, your family and your dog with random exclamations of joy:

"Woo-hoo, red wine is good for you."

"Yippee, the post arrived and there's no bills!"

"Yes, my hair may be grey, but it's still on my head."

So, go forth, be of good cheer and remember there are only two things that you can count on in life: death and taxes, but hey, death only calls once.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Yaay! I'm wearing odd socks, but they're approximately the same colour anyway so nobody else will know!