Men aren't, as a rule, good at remembering anniversaries and birthdays. Most of us struggle to remember what date Christmas is. I've forgotten anniversaries in the past, and the birthdays of various spouses. Actually, I've got Jenny's birthday down pat: the problem is I occasionally forget to do anything about it. Knowledge and actions - if they don't go hand in hand, then neither's worth squat.
Today is an anniversary for me, and I don't think I'll ever forget it. It was twelve months ago today that I was made redundant. December 3rd, 2008. I've actually forgotten the name of the guy who delivered the axe-blow that decapitated our wealth - Stephan something - but I retain my sense of betrayal. There you go. Not, of course, that TRN did anything wrong, or anything they should feel shame-faced about. Heaven forbid that such a thought should occur to you. No, they were all honourable men, acting in thoroughly honourable ways. And anyway, it wasn't personal. It was business, that's all.
So far it's cost Jenny and me around a quarter million dollars. But I guess I've learned something: a catastrophe like this needn't cost you everything. We've learned who our friends are (and we've been thrilled by their caring. And I've learned the value of a truly excellent marriage.
Almost worth it, really. No - it is worth it. There's nothing "almost" about it.
But I can't help thinking, every now and then, of chucking a rock through a TRN window, and following it up with something hot and flaming.
LISTENING TO: "I'm Not There". It's the soundtrack to the movie of the same name... all Dylan music (oddly enough, given the subject matter of the movie...), and all performed by other people. It's superb.
READING: Comic Book, "The Preacher". Very, very good. As good as "Transmetropolitan".
WORD OF HE DAY: Bastard. Stephan Wossname, that is. Blame the hatchet-man, that's me. Very mature.
Arthur’s voice drowned the politician’s, and Weatherby glared back across the square, and held back his smile. He could have cheered.
On the day that Arthur shot his first man, he also shot 18 rats. And every time he shot a rat with his RSMLE (his Rifle, Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield, model 1907) he thought of that humiliating moment. Everyone has a turning point in their life, and that moment, when he had seen Weatherby’s lips curl into a smile, had been Arthur’s. And he despised himself for it.
Tim Copthorne, bright and eager, had turned his head at Arthur’s call, and waved his arm. “Arthur! Ain’t it grand?”
“No, it’s not grand, you young fool. It’s madness, and that’s God’s honest truth.”
The crowd had turned their attention away from Weatherby, and he drew them back. He harrumphed, raising his voice again. “Is that the conchy Arthur Tomlinson I see over there, the coward who shows his true mettle by skulking behind his anvil of iron rather than stand in the recruitment line where New Zealand’s true heroes stand? Is that old Gerald Smith there, the same old coward who refused to help his nation when it needed skilled farriers and ostlers in the adventure against the bloody Boer? Take no note of them, young Copthorne. Here is where your destiny lies. Here is where you show yourself to be the man your father knows you to be!”
Arthur, anger misting his eyes, pulled a shirt over his shoulders, and strode out into the square. “You’ll take young Timothy over my dead body, Weatherby. He’s a lad, just a lad. He’s not yet seventeen, and you hope to lure him into war? You dog, Weatherby! For shame!”
“A pup of sixteen, is he, Tomlinson? And already twice the man you are. Conchy, ladies and gentlemen. Conscientious Objectors: another name for coward. Arthur Tomlinson, I would give you the white feather, if not for the fact that it would shame the chicken the feather was plucked from.”
Weatherby hated Arthur Tomlinson.