We were one man down this Tuesday in Housmans; Derek having taken the night train to Turin. No, it’s not another euphemism like; ‘he’s fallen off his perch’ or ‘he’s pushing up the daisies’ – he really had gone to Turin. He was on holiday.
Ordering our beers, we enquired if our absent friend had left money behind the bar for his round before departing for Italy. The barman has heard this ‘joke’ before; every time in fact one of us goes AWOL, and is immune to our pathetic attempts to obtain free beer and food. To his credit, he still managed an indulgent smile, though he was probably wondering why these old gits keep repeating the same old stuff. The answer is of course, that it’s the only way we remember anything!
Not that any of us is in our dotage or anywhere near it, you understand. No, being an ‘old git’ is more of an attitude than an age thing. We’re not angry old men exactly, just rather forthright in our views at times and yes, I admit it, a bit grumpy. This was brought home to me recently, when my daughter pointed out that – horror of horrors – I was sounding more like my father every day. All men have this charge levelled at them eventually, either by their wives or their children: my son lives in mortal fear of the day he finds himself plumping up the sofa cushions like his old man, but I still found it hard to accept. Not that my father was a bad man or anything, quite the opposite in fact, but in old age he could be very forthright in his views and well, how can I put it, just occasionally, I mean hardly ever really, just a wee bit grumpy.