I had a friend once who died. When you used to move in the sort of circles I did, you have a lot of friends who died.
But I remember clearly this particular friend; his caustic humour sharp and cutting, his filthy oversized barbour jacket with its huge and accommodating inside pockets. His sodden words of wisdom.
“The thing is Gappy”, he once slurred knowingly at me, one bony finger pointing tremulously at the sky. “You don’t ever want to become known as a doer of things. Start to become known as a doer of things, and people just expect you to… do things.”
He was right too. He was often right about many more things than most people would have cared to admit. And as though to posthumously prove his point, over the next few weeks I have agreed variously to:
1. Do face painting for the kids at a local clothes swap (presumably so that their mothers can concentrate more effectively on violently elbowing each other out of the way in order to grab the best bits.)
2. Walk around the village with a bloody clipboard begging money for a school fundraiser (I really have absolutely no clue why I agreed to this – safe to say the award for most popular villager of the year will not be going to me in 2014.)
3. Spin fire at a novelty cabaret night organised by some, ahem, innovative – and possibly drunk – members of the PTA (a potential health and safety nightmare to say the least as I haven’t done it in eons and the odds on me setting myself alight at least twice are high in the extreme.)
4. Bake a cake for the next AA meeting in the local town (which I can’t even eat because, sugar.)
I fear I am becoming known as a doer of things.
And all the while my dead friend lurks out on the edge of my peripheral vision. He’s shaking his head in mock resignation, a sneering amusement playing around the eyes and mouth as he sways slightly in his seat.
“I told you” he says, chuckling softly, spittle collecting froth at the corner of his lips. “I fffecking told you.”