As I write this, or, more accurately these days, type this, onto a screen, I am mindful that I have just celebrated my 58th birthday. A day out in Whitby with the family and fish and chips. The fish and chips were lunch, I should explain, not extra guests. Life is passing far too rapidly these days. It will not be too much longer before I have lived in Yorkshire longer than I lived in Kent, the county of my birth. I have worked in Lancashire for most of my working life, missionary work, of course, but moving North had never been part of my grand design, it just happened, I was busily doing nothing when life and the passage of time caught up with me and moved me along with not so much as a “Nothing to see here, move along now please!”
As I reflect on my life I realise that time has been accurate in her statement, too. There is nothing to see here, I have been busy doing nothing for the last 58 years. The best of it is, no one else has noticed my sham, I seem to have got away with it. Do you want to know the secret of my success? Simples! As a particular meerkat might put it. I have always been quite good at role play, I would say excellent but that would suggest I had practiced the art and had not been busy doing nothing all this time.
Even as a baby I could play the role of angelic younger brother to my two sisters, a role I still play to this very day. Of course my father dying when I was just six meant that I was presented with one role that was impossibly difficult to perfect. At that age hearing that “Daddy’s gone to live with Jesus!” simply left me thinking “OK, so when do I see him again?” I must admit this is one role I still struggle with over half a century later.
I busked the role of schoolboy all the way through infants and juniors at primary school, even rising to the dizzy heights of captaining the junior school football team when I was in the top juniors, year six as they call it nowadays. then I played even more of a blinder at secondary school where I managed to get both O and A levels while being busy doing nothing. I even became school captain of basketball, which, when you take into account my incredible height of five foot six, shows you what a minority sport basketball was at Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School for Boys, Rochester.
I have to admit that, after leaving school and being on the dole for the summer, I was nearly caught out by having to find a job. Mum did find me out, while I was busily doing nothing that glorious ashes season summer, she showed me the newspaper advert asking for library assistants, I was caught out.
“You could do that until something better comes along,” she said. I was forced to agree with her and, by busily doing nothing, here I am forty years later still waiting for that something better to come along.
I’ m not sure that I have perfected the role of dutiful husband, however. I have had to make two attempts at that role so far . One ten year stretch to begin with and I’m currently serving a second stretch that has been twenty six years so far. I did get one year off between the two stretches, time off for good behaviour? I should, perhaps add, just in case my current wife should ever stoop so low as to read this, that the second stretch has, of course, been an idyllic pleasure, not a role at all!
I have never been called upon to attempt the role of father, but then who would want that responsibility? It’s enough trouble being a dog owner but at least they have the decency to die after ten or fifteen years. It is interesting that at least six families I number among my family and friends have thought me responsible enough to ask me to be Godfather to their children. I carried out my duties to the full here, by busily doing nothing and leaving them well alone. After all, they had difficulties enough growing up normally in today’s society without the burden of my advice and interference to hamper them. I consider this a hard job very well done on my part, which borders, almost, on doing something positive, not just being busy doing nothing.
Now I’m content to await the presentation of my state pension, though the government have moved the goalposts here and I shall have to do nothing for longer to achieve this aim. You see, if the powers that be had adopted my policy I could have been content a year earlier, as it is I still have another eight years to await this delight. While we’re on the subject, why does the government have to inflict change on us every five years? I just get used to moaning about one set of suits and almost recalling the name of the prime minister when they insist on changing it all over again. Why can’t they just do nothing and leave both us, and themselves, in peace? After all, nothing ever changes after a generalised complexion. If I wasn’t so busy doing nothing I would instigate the “Don’t Vote, It Only Encourages Them Party.” It’s just too much effort, though.
Dear reader, I hear you enquire long and loud “But that surely can’t be everything behind your great success? There must be more to it than simply role playing? Surely you can’t get by, let alone become the success you are on role play alone?”
And, dear reader, you are right. Behind all the role playing lies sincerity, sincerity is the key to it all. Without sincerity what is there left in the world? So my final piece of advice to you is simply this. Look to your own heart for the deepest sincerity you can find. Once you can fake sincerity the world is your oyster!