The Card

Hearing test day today so I’m rather nervous. Not for me, you understand. My Mum has never wanted a hearing aid and we’re not entirely sure how she’s going to take to it. Her dad wore two most of his life after being left deaf after being a gunner in the Great War. Friends I know whose own parents wear aids tell me they’re great and make life better. I’m praying that’s the case. This is step one in my program of small steps aimed at solving the current problems. Next week: another eye test.

Whilst tidying up for this big event, I found a tiny envelope behind the front door. It was like we’d been visited by elves in the night. In this case, it was the shallow vacuous elves who shop at Hallmark.

It was a “thank you” card from the neighbours. The “thank you” was their way of telling us that they’re moving. That, admittedly, gives me a moment of trepidation since I hate getting new neighbours but also realisation given the fact that we never really spoke to the current lot. I suppose the card was indicative of modern life: so much style and bugger all substance.

I was brought up to have that neighbourly spirit which is pretty much absent these days. People live in their bubbles and really don’t need the people living adjacent to them. Perhaps I increasingly do the same but it’s notable how, even before COVID, nobody really bothered about anybody else. Or perhaps it’s just that they don’t bother about me.

[Pauses for a second to consider that possibility and the gives a cold shiver…]

I used to do all manner kind things like take their bins in for them, take in parcels, and generally be a good neighbour. At some point, though, I realised what a sap I was being. Every time I saw the neighbour, his godawful little dog would go crazy trying to attack me and he would just laugh and offer platitudes. I was probably less platitudinous since I’m generally scared shitless when dogs go crazy, having been savaged by an Alsatian when I was a kid – I got away with a bite on my arm but a lifelong fear. I can still remember being dragged down the road.

So, anyway, they’re off and I’ve no idea if they’ve even sold the house. My fear is it will be bought by a bald muscled gym owner (I don’t know why “bald” is significant but it always features in the stereotype) into mountain bikes and holding garden parties late into the night for local members of the mob.

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It’s a cool domain name and it was available. Yes, I know. Available. Crazy, isn’t it?


Yes. It also helps that it’s also my favourite satire written by Alexander Pope, one of the most metrically pure English poets who also knew his way around a crude insult or two. If you’ve not read it, you should give it a try.

So this is satire, right?

Can’t deny it. There will be some. But it’s also an experiment in writing and drawing, giving work away for free in order to see how many people are willing to support a writer doing his thing. It’s the weird stuff that I wouldn’t get published elsewhere in this word of diminishing demands and cookie-cutter tastes.