Crabbed age & youff

Everyone loves a countdown to a bomb or a rocket launch, and who am I to get in the way of such simple pleasures? We (in the sense of, I, together with a selection of my personae) went out to what proved a “New Year’s Party” last night, for the first time in years. I was under the impression I’d be dropping by after the first Mary Mother of God Mass, to wish well upon two old lady friends (one visiting from Funcouver), only to discover all these young persons there. They appeared to be Christians, so I felt safe.

The countdown to Midnight is now choreographed, I see, from a computer screen on a side table. Our kindly hostess fills glasses with prosecco, and we prepare to down them at 00:00. One flinches, of course, from the fear someone may start singing “Auld Lang Syne” — but no, I was the only person of the Scottish genetic persuasion, and safe from starting it myself thanks to my pathological hatred of Robbie Burns.

Instead — assuming the young assembled at this party are a representative sample of “these young people today” — you raise toasts to Charles Martel, Godfrey of Bouillon, Don John of Austria and the like; dwell lovingly upon a few defunct Catholic dynasties, and then burst into the Kaiserhymne.


This morning I rise, a little later than customary, to an inbox full of oldies with their medical problems. In light of rather tedious discussions of a pharmaceutical nature, I am coming to prefer these “modern youff.”

Please, you poor old gits, refuse your medications. Since metrication, Canadian doctors are bound to make decimal-place errors, and if they think you’re statistically “at risk” of, say, heart disease, you’ll get some rat-kill blood thinner, at ten times the dose. I’ve seen so many turned into vegetables that way. Whatever they give you, dump it in the toilet. And if you fear “death in the afternoon,” as my little sister says (she being, like me, the child of a good nurse), “Don’t fret it. There’s still stuff you can do in the morning.”

We are all “at risk” on this frigging planet. Get over it. Follow my advice and you will stick with simple herbal remedies such as tobacco. (It helps strengthen the lungs, and is the only known cure for neurosis.) Wine and whisky are also good, and of course beer for earlier in the day when you’re working. (“Small beer” for the kids at breakfast, before sending them out to work in the fields.)

It is the first of January. New by-laws in the Greater Parkdale Area; and no one with the guts to defy them. You can’t even smoke on the roof any more (while you’re looking for those goose nests). The Ford brothers are gone from our municipal government — foreign readers will be appalled to learn — and we have instead this wussy new mayor, John Tory. A misnomer if there ever was one. I am a Tory, after all: I know what a Tory is. This guy is pixels.

Gott erhalte Franz, den Kaiser, / Unsern guten Kaiser Franz! …