It's enough sometimes just to nod in agreement. You don't necessarily need to go to war, enact laws or shout from a megaphone to defend freedom as we understand it. Despite what those who came from the Dark Ages last Wednesday would believe you don't need Faith, just faith in humanity.
I've the man flu. But you won't find me going on about it. Come to think of it isn't the term man flu a bit, well, you know, sexist? If I told a female she'd only got a bit of girly flu there would be hell to play. But when a man is laid low, his pipes blocked, nose running, head pounding (I'm trying not to exaggerate here) it's a source of much mirth. Look at the fuss he's making over a sniffle, they titter.
It must be the cat. She's always pushing open the door and rustling around in the middle of the night. You can sometimes wake up and find her staring enigmatically into your eyes from inches away. You get the impression she's been studying you for hours.
My parents say they were clearing out the attic and found them in a corner. It is the matter-of-fact way they say it that surprises me. On the table is a collection of my late grandfather's war medals and in the middle the Croix de Guerre, one of the highest military medals the French can bestow. It's not far off the Victoria Cross for equivalence.
When I was 19 my father gave me a lesson on how to fold a towel over a handrail. I was back for a few weeks from university and stood before him astonished as he halved it lengthways, dropped it neatly to the middle of the rail and let the other half fall, perfectly matched. It was like a particularly dull challenge on the Generation Game.
What if the best thing you ever created was 38 years ago? Wouldn't that be a source of regret? That a peak point of your life was almost four decades ago. Wouldn't you always be struggling to recapture that moment, top it with something else?
My father nearly died laughing. I can still see him now on his hands and knees choking and retching uncontrollably, it being unclear whether my mother violently hitting him on the back is for dubious medical purposes or some sort of punishment for being so stupid.
I have a confession to make. I'm not really sure it's a wise move to confess it in this newspaper, but here goes. I never really got Van Morrison. When I was young, I took the road signposted punk rock, garage and New York, stuff like Talking Heads and Velvet Underground plus a lot of reggae. R'n'B, Caledonian/Celtic soul and all that sort of thing was another musical highway heading in another direction.
I spotted her in the new Marks & Spencers on the Lisburn Road. They've built a new swanky store where the old Co-op used to be. Amid the rest of us late-night, ready-meal hunters, with one hand she was distractedly popping shiny goodies into a basket slung over her arm.
I was in the cinema the other day watching an age-inappropriate film. It was 22 Jump Street, the American slacker comedy about two thick cops who go back to school to crack a drugs ring. I'd laughed like an imbecile at the first one (21 Jump Street. See what they did there?), so the thought of two hours of brainless fun enticed.
I missed my younger son's birthdays from the age of 12 to 17 because of work. I vowed never to do it again. It was Monday just passed and he's now 20. No longer a teenager.
Why don't we know more about Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon? After all, he is famous in Brazil and we are all over the place right now. You'd think we might have heard a snippet about him. I stumbled across his story this week. It's a page-turner.
I read the obituaries in newspapers regularly these days. It's a sign of getting older. The urge to appreciate the lives of the people commemorated, to follow their story arc, grows the more you start to imagine what your own might read like even though there's no chance of it ever being written.
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