Thursday, 3 November 2011

It's Only Stuff - Part One

It's rare to find a blog that captures my inner experience.

I include my own blog in that category. Yet Hyperbole and a Half has done it again!

Read all about my weekend in the rage-perfect Sneaky Hate Spiral.

(Yes, I even had an unsolicited anus.)

Before I let rip with the finer points of my trauma, though, I first need to introduce you to Ted.

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Ted is Dad's oldest friend. He dates from the 1930s. That's him up there in the photo. Ted has taken Dad's place in the armchair in front of the telly - while I'm here in this house on my own, I need the company.

When I was small Ted used to frighten me because he reminded me of Hitler, but nowadays I look at him and am heartened by his kindly face and benign manner. In his knitted yellow pyjama bottoms and dapper polkadot shirt, there is no-one in the world less like a psychotic Nazi overlord. I am very glad he is here to help me eat Milky Ways and watch endless Derren Brown repeats on 4Music every night.

Ted has always been a good friend - he got Dad through many unhappy years at boarding school. Somewhere in the loft there is an old school report that reads 'Trevor would do better if he didn't spend so much time staring out of the window dreaming up adventure stories about his teddy'. Ted used to take on pirates, bandits, and Red Indians with consummate ease. I'm not sure if Ted also went to Egypt on National Service after Dad left school, but if he did I'm sure he would've loved it.

After I grew up, Ted's life got boring. For years he gathered dust on an upstairs dressing table, part of the furniture and therefore invisible. If I ever went into Dad's bedroom I'd try to remember to say hello, but that was the only interaction he got.

Saddened by this neglect, a few months ago I took Dad out for lunch and insisted Ted came too. He stayed on the dashboard while we went inside the cafe to eat - he has some decorum, you know.

Dad seemed bemused by this outing, but me and Ted had a great time.

When Dad died, I wondered whether Ted should go in the coffin with him, to keep his old mate company. I thought it might be fitting. I sat Ted down and we had a heart to heart.

Ted whispered to me he'd rather like to resume the life he'd known as a cub - one of fun and adventure. He'd been getting rather tired of all the atrophy. Dad had been a good friend once, but he'd grown morose and inward-looking over the years, and had forgotten how to cherish people. Black tendrils of misery had enveloped everything he came into contact with; stagnation had squeezed the life out of life itself.

Ted wanted another chance.

You belong with Dad, I told him - my conscience tells me so. I've already put his unfinished Times cryptic crossword book in the coffin (and a pen! He'd go mad if there wasn't a pen) but I think he needs you too. You were his friend when friends were few and far between. Although, with your kindly face, sealing you in a coffin for cremation would be like committing the most horrible murder. And he HAS basically neglected you for the last 40-odd years.

I'll think about it, alright?

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On the day of the funeral, while we were at the crematorium, Ted was in his usual place in Dad's armchair, keeping an eye on things in case the caterers burgled the house.


Ragged Thread Cartographer said...

Wonderful story. Glad Ted's life can take off again. Anyone who can wear polka dot with such panache deserves a second chance at society. As for H & a Half, brilliant discovery of yours! Rage-perfect, indeed. xx

Doris said...

So Ted had a reprive :-) Nice.