Thursday, 31 December 2015
Happy Gnu Year
So it's the New Year. Let's hope it is a nicer one than last year in many ways. The last twelve months have been terrible in many respects, so rather than dwell on them let's look forward with Hope, Joy and Faith.
I knew a girl called Hope once. I could tell you a lot about her but she's a lawyer now and may well sue me. So I'll tell you about Joy instead. Well, she did not live up to her name at all. She had a sour face like a mile of bad road, as they say around here when we're not drinking whisky. She always looked as if she had a permanent bad smell under her nose. I also knew a girl called Faith, believe it or not. Once we were out driving on a romantic evening and the car ran out of gas. To start a conversation, seeing she was religious, I talked about life after death. I asked her: "Do you believe in the hereafter?" She replied "If you're here after what I think you're here after, you'll still be here after I'm gone!" So I started the car and took her home. I also knew a girl called Ruth. She left me and for a while I was Ruthless.
Anyway, back to the New Year. Or forward to the New Year. Have you made any New Year resolutions?
I have made a resolution that from now on I will no longer care. Caring only leads to trouble I tell you. So it's easier not to care. Let me explain.
During Christmas, just after midnight Mass, I had to rescue a partridge from a pear tree. We were walking back home, the church is not too far, and we noticed a man standing high up on a tree asking us for help. I think he'd had a bit to drink. My family, being good Christians, advised me not to get involved and walk on. Good advice as it happens. But I decided to stop and help and they walked on home without me. Very supportive, I thought.
So I stopped by the tree and asked the man at the top who he was. He said: "I'm John Partridge and I can't get down this pear tree!"
Well, until then I did not realise it was a pear tree. It had no leaves, being winter, and it was quite big and tall. It could have been an oak, or an elm for all I care; but it would not have fitted the story, would it? So a pear tree it was.
I asked him how he got up there. He said he was going back home from the pub. He lives in an apartment block a little further on. He was caught short so he stopped by the tree, which happened to be a pear tree as it was, and for a while, a long while, he answered a call of nature. As they say in the movies: "A man's got to do what a man's got to do!"
When he finished his business he tried to get in the tree, thinking it was his apartment block. Remember, I told you he'd been drinking in the pub. He pushed against the tree trunk and as nothing happened he assumed that the elevator was not working again. So he decided to go up the tree as one would do to reach one's apartment. When he got to the top of the tree he found out that his apartment was not there. There was an owl on a branch which quickly flew away. So the man decided that he either had new neighbours who could fly or he was in the wrong apartment block. He looked for the elevator to get down but could not find either the elevator or the stairs. Someone had taken them away.
The only way I could help him was to suggest that I'd try to bend the tree a little. It was not that old and somewhat supple. If I were to pull down one of the big branches I would lower the man a little and then he would jump to terra firma.
At first he was hesitant. So I told him he'd be safe because if he pulled the zipper on his jacket as he jumped his parachute would open and he'd float safely to the ground. After a while he agreed.
I pulled hard on a branch and lowered it at least three feet or so. He stepped on it to lower himself from his position and then he jumped to the ground.
He twisted his ankle and fell flat in agony.
I picked him up and we hobbled all the way to his apartment block. As I put him into his elevator he asked whether he should sue me for making him jump and hurt himself.
I told him to sue the manufacturers of his jacket because the parachute did not open in time. It was obviously faulty. He agreed that it was a better idea.
I went home determined that as a New Year resolution I will not care about anybody anymore. So if you're ever stuck up a tree don't expect me to come and help you. Not unless you have a good working jacket.
What is your New Year resolution?