v 6.30.00
28 Jan 2022
updated 28 Jan 2022

One way or another

At the age of about 12, I was given quite an accurate account of what was involved, by a class-mate called Fishman who was sitting next to me on the coach to games one afternoon. But I couldn't believe that my own parents, for example, could have cooperated in such an implausibly embarrassing procedure, so (for a while at least), I disbelieved him.

A couple of years or so later, in the small hours of the morning after my father had delivered one of his impromptu tutorials (on the subject of Gresham's Law and the perils of a bimetallic currency, I do remember), he paused and looked at me quizzically. "That sort of thing's called The Facts of Life," he said. "Have you heard about them?"

"Yes," I replied, rather nonplussed.

"Well then, no need to say anything more on the subject," he concluded. And that was it.

Looking back, I think the best summary of the whole business is still Lord Chesterfield's dictum that "The position is ludicrous, the pleasure momentary, and the expense damnable." Caveat amator, or indeed amatrix.