“I can see your problem. You can draw cartoons but you can’t think of any decent jokes.”
That was the very first thing I read this morning. And I mean: the very first. And it was directed at me…
And you might wonder why I sometimes struggle with confidence?
Yes, it’s Saturday and I *almost* got up in good mood. I’m back on the hayfever tablets after my afternoon of weeding/hedge clipping on Wednesday. I still suspect that having a beard makes hayfever worse but I’m not sure why. My eyes are back to being itchy and sore, my head slightly thick (no comments, please). I couldn’t risk allowing it to get any worse given I broke my quarantine yesterday and will now spent the next fourteen days thinking every cough is a dry cough (as I just did when I coughed, dryly). The hayfever tablets meant my dreams were deep and complicated. Too deep and complicated to repeat, even if I wanted to repeat them. They were probably thick with symbolic meaning from the week I’ve had.
And it’s not been a great one. I’ve been nursing my sister through a godawful bout of pancreatitis, which is particularly difficult because there’s almost nothing you can do to help except buy ginger beer and offer reassuring words that it will pass, eventually, like it usually does. The doctors are useless which is why we don’t bother going, even if we could go during a pandemic. Our GPs are still working from home, which makes it doubly frustrating when they force patients to go into the very building they won’t themselves enter… Not that they’d do much if they were there. They just book her appointment with a gastric expert and by the time the appointment comes around she’s over the attack. Then we’re stuck with an appointment – probably on the other side of Merseyside – with an expert who will just point out that since she hasn’t got a gall bladder these attacks will happen and since it’s gone there’s no need to do anything… It’s dire.
Yes, sorry about that. I realise my blog does run the risk of becoming a catalogue of my various miseries.
It’s funny (no, honestly it is) but I was thinking about that this week. As somebody who claims to like humour, jokes, cartoons, and generally having an optimistic outlook on life — I’m a very secular humanist who believes in our capacity to make progress — there’s a point at which maybe I stop being that if I just write miserable blog posts about my real life. It’s Marlow’s paradox at the end of Heart of Darkness — yes, my favourite bit of all literature which I always talk about — where he pretends that life isn’t meaningless even though he knows that it is. We all have to pretend, I guess.
So, more optimistically… This weekend I’m going to produce something new. Not sure what. In addition to the blog, I wrote three articles this week, which is one or two more than normal. God bless the silly season when all proper writers go away on holiday, leaving us aspiring types with a little extra room. It does mean, however, I’m a little written out.
I drew a new cartoon yesterday which I quite liked and the aforementioned comment has given me an idea for a very dark but hopefully funny cartoon strip which if I can write, could fire my enthusiasm. The point is, I want to use the next two days productively, even if for the moment I can’t think of any decent jokes…