Late Life Crisis - January 2019

A correspondent to an etiquette advice column complained that whenever she attended the theatre with a man over 60 he would fall asleep, and she sought advice on what to do. The expert suggested packing a small bottle of smelling salts, pungent but apparently still legal, and wafting it under his nose at the critical moment. Those of us of a certain age should take note.


Which moves us nicely on to the subject of ear hair. At my excellent local barbers I now have the ear waxing procedure done when I go in (not of course that I have great need of it.......). On my most recent visit, we had a new chap doing the job. For the uninitiated folk, the process involves the wax being applied to the ear region, left to set, and then whipped off at the end.

The degree of discomfort generated by the last part of the treatment depends on one's pain threshhold. As the barber, highly competent, did his whipping off, I experienced 110 per cent of taking off a plaster, so no problem. How good did I feel when the barber remarked that I was tough and that his last customer screamed at the removal point? Is this what it is to be a real man?


I confess that in my historical research Masters studies I am discovering new words. The latest is "teleological", meaning relating to or involving the explanation of phenomena in terms of the purpose they serve rather than the cause by which they arise. I am trying to find appropriate contexts for use of the word eg a hangover happens to warn you of the danger of excessive drinking rather than on account of what you have drunk the night before. I feel that I still have some work to do on this.


I met my younger daughter for lunch near her office in the City. She took me to an excellent vegetarian self-service place. There was a large central counter with an array of delicious offerings. But nothing was priced. I stood there in confusion. My daughter said," Daddy, I know that you get stressed in these situations. Just leave it to me and if you choose what you want I will sort out your plate at the counter".

The food was lovely. Only over eating did my daughter explain that the establishment, ingeniously, charges by the weight of the food on the plate (something which must be much easier to work in a veggie place). If I had looked more carefully, I would have seen a board at the entrance explaining all this. And this was the man who was once seen to his children as the expert on everything in life...

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