I was a baby once

I was a baby once. Not many people know that.

I gurgled in my cot while my doting parents gazed fondly on.

Probably my father said to my mother something like: “Look at him darling, One day he’ll be president of News Limited.”

What happened? What happens for most of us?

Why don’t parents save a lot of heartache — for themselves and for us — and just murmur instead, for instance: “Look at him darling. One day he’ll be old and penniless, with really thick toenails, selling insurance door to door.”

I am in a reflective mood. Why? Because I have been writing these columns now for four years.

That’s at least 200 of ’em. About 100,000 words. Not exactly War and Peace, but who wants to end up in a mental institution, like Leo Tolstoy.

And that’s not the only thing I have in common with Tolstoy.

War and Peace, besides being about well, war and peace, is about the human condition.

So are my columns. And if I may say so, they’re a lot more relevant than Leo Tolstoy’s famous book.

He doesn’t once mention the amazing phenomenon of the garbage that accumulates in the third drawer down.

He never raises the time-scarred question of where mozzies go when you miss them, or why we grow so much hair in our ears when we’re old (which is amazing because his ears were so hairy you could hardly see them!).

He never once mentioned that nemesis of the male homo sapien — the prostate finger test.

He waffled on for thousands of words about jealousy and revenge, love and loss and never once discussed the unresolved conundrum of the 48 pairs of shoes on the porch when one only owns three pairs.

What is the point of agonising over tragedy of coincidence and fate when we can’t even stop next door’s cat from widdling in the herb garden.

Tolstoy went into a state of deep depression over his book. We have that in common, too.

On this significant four-year anniversary I can’t help thinking that I’ve posed all these deeply significant questions about life, the universe and everything and I haven’t come up with one answer.

The third drawer down still looks like it’s been through a junk blender; we still daren’t eat any home-grown herbs.

Did my parents smile down at me and say: “Look at him darling. One day he’ll ask meaningless and inconsequential questions and fail to come up with a single answer.”
What happened?

I’m sure that by now I was supposed to be sitting on a very impressive chair in the centre of the Dairy Farmers Stadium surrounded by a packed audience of followers hanging on to my every word. Followers who wouldn’t even change their underwear unless I said it was okay!

Instead they are placing their faith in lunatics who don’t have any questions at all – only answers. Lunatics who say you’ll be a better person if you eat vegetables. Or if you wear orange clothes. Or if you lie on the floor with your legs wrapped round your neck for half an hour a day!

When I started in newspapers there was a sign on the wall in the newsroom which said: why would anyone pay 10 pence (it was a long time ago) to read what I write?

I still ask that question; only now the price has gone up.

And — true to form — I don’t know the answer to that either.

Still it keeps me out of the mental institution.
But only just, says my wife.

Who also says that if my followers changed their underwear as often as I do, that probably explains why I don’t have any followers.