Thursday, 5 February 2009

Win some, lose some

It’s good to be quiet. Away from all the briefers and advisers and assistants who want to brief me, drain me, tell me what to do.

Now there’s just me. And the TV. And a match to watch.

The only trouble is I want a drink. But then I always want a drink. That’s how it’s always going to be. I’m going to be wanting a drink but can’t have one. Because of all that trouble all that time ago.

Now it’s ‘just say no’.

Dad’s so painful about all that. So superior. So ‘told you so’.

And of course so damn high and mighty. And he was always like that, even before. He was always going on about how disappointing I was. College. The drinking. The business troubles. Each time he came up with a bit more money, or his friends did, but it wasn’t exactly free. He’d make me pay with all his talk, about how anyone could make money with all the advantages he’d given me. How could I lose money. Again. And then there’d be the new job in the new company with the new money and the whole thing would start over.

No wonder I need a drink. With memories like that, you’ve got something to drown. Haven’t you? Anyone would want a drink. Wouldn’t they?

Boy! I suddenly remembered. There’s an icebox in here. It’s built into the wooden panelling, next to a bookshelf. Just over here. Yes, here it is.

And look at that. Just like a hotel minibar. A couple of cans, looking fresh and tempting. And some nibbles too, on a shelf.

Wow. Looks good.

What the hell.

It can’t do that much harm. Just once. They’ve left me to watch the match. You can’t really watch a match without a can in your hand.

I’ll have just one of them.

Hey. Just pulling back a ring pull. What a great feeling. It brings it all back. Brilliant.

And the taste. The kick. It’s just a beer and a pretty feeble one at that, but when you’ve not had anything with any kind of kick in such a long time… well, you feel it.
Now I can watch the game properly.

I’m feeling good.

But of course they’re going to find the can. And there’ll be hell to pay again.

It’ll be like when my daughter got into trouble. ‘Like father like daughter’ my Dad said. ‘So what makes you think I’m not like you?’ I answered. ‘You are, son, you are.’ But I know what he meant. The same but not so good. The same college, the same secret club. But he shone on the games field and the exam hall. I – well, I didn’t shine.

What the heck. Two beer cans are no more difficult to get rid of than one. And two beers feel twice as good as one. I’ll have the other.

It’s not as though he did that well, my Dad, anyway. Yeah, he got this job before I did, but now I’ve got it.

Now I’m going to show him. What he didn’t finish, with that raghead dictator, I’ll be the one to finish it off. That’ll wipe the grin off his face.

And we’re going to do it too. Dick and Rummy have all the plans in place. That’s the upside of the briefers and advisers. They bug you to death but they get things done for you. Then I’ll be the one laughing. I’ll be the high and mighty one. The one with the airs and graces, the superiority. Dad may have been the youngest fighting airman ever, while I just dodged Vietnam in the Texas Air Guard. But I’m going to win the war he couldn’t finish.

So now I can settle down and watch the game. With my second beer. And – I know. Something to nibble on. I think I saw pretzels. Yes, they’ll go down well. A football game, a couple of beers, some pretzels.

Time to show them that even a commander in chief can be really cool.

With my apologies to Jorge Luis Borges for shamelessly ripping off the structure of his great short story La Casa de Asterión and my thanks to Serena Olivieri for introducing me to it