Me and Medusa

Whoo R U ?

“What we once thought we had, we didn’t
And what we have now will never be that way again
So we call upon the author to explain”

  • Nick Cave

This week, randomly , I was asked two questions by two different people that I can’t answer :

“What do you actually do ?”

“ If I had a magic wand and could grant you anything what would you want ?”

And then , while struggling with those questions, other people have passed comment on me, or to me, and though mostly well intentioned , have caused me some anguish.

Let me explain………..

At one point what I did was get up at 6.00 am , have a cup of tea and a poached egg with toast, fire off a number of emails that I thought were crucially important, went to the gym in the Hillgrove for 7.00 am, pretended to use the gym equipment, swam 20 lengths , in a short pool, and then lounged in the jacuzzi and the steam room, congratulating myself on how fit and healthy I was. I would then go to work for 8.00am, first in , and fire off more incredibly crucial emails, before spending the day in meetings, making great plans, entertaining visitors, ignoring cashflows, and making even greater plans. I would buy things and sell things.

I would work until 7pm-ish, this depended on whether we had a large customer or supplier staying over, whom we’d be going out to dinner with. If we didn’t have a dinner to go to, I’d stay at work until everyone else left, firing off really, really , really important emails, that were crucially important , but , in hindsight, I think I just wanted to be the first one in and the last to leave. If we were entertaining, we entertained royally, and rarely finished before one or two in the morning. I’d still go to the gym the next morning….because I was that guy. Yes ,, I was an incredible asshole.

That wonderful Belfast scribbler, C.S.Lewis, put it this way “Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” Which I thought a bit harsh, the Devil suffers from terrible PR,  but hard to argue with at the same time.

It all ended. It was the economy, it was the banks, it was unfortunate….it was me.

So…I certainly don’t do that anymore.

So what do I do ?

I’m not entirely sure.

I don’t really have two days in a row that are the same. I do bits and bobs of several things each day that , in all honesty, would probably get done, better and faster, if I wasn’t around at all. People do ask my advice, maybe out of politeness, and I give it. Maybe that’s what I mostly do, dispense advice…mostly on what not to do, having done things spectacularly badly in the past.

I heard a story once about a great Pope, I think it was one of the Leos…one of the early ones, all the later ones were absolute bastards…anyway he was said to be an incredibly powerful prayer. Whatever he prayed about was answered. But this led to complaints that he only prayed for 10 minutes each day. “Yes” he replied “ but I spend the rest of the time preparing for those ten minutes.”

So what I do is think about what I should be doing and then do that for the briefest time possible.

Henry Ford famously employed a chap who had an office down the hall from him. He paid him a lot and this bothered a lot of the other Ford employees because this chap seemed to spend his whole day reading newspapers and magazines with his feet up on his desk. When challenged about it Henry answered that “He’d been sitting there in that exact position when he came up with an idea that made me a million dollars. I’ll happily continue to  pay him just on the off chance he does it again.”

Someday soon….

This week I have been called , in no particular order :
















I’m all of those things, and not really any of them at the same time. It’s like running. I run quite a bit, but would never classify myself as a runner. I enjoy running, and chatting, and stopping to look at things, trees, old buildings, other people running. I don’t strive to get a better time…just to finish ahead of Ray. When things are back to normal I look forward to training with Patricia and the MTR’s ‘Sisters Of Anarchy’ division, and a long run on a Saturday morning with Ray, Gareth ,and Chris , followed by a fry in Kinga’s.

That same ‘philosophy’ applies to everything else I think, I’m lots of things without being any one of them at the same time.

Does that make sense ?

Does to me.

Oh, and that other question I was asked , “ If I had a magic wand and could grant you anything what would you want ?”


I have all I could ever dream of already.



Author: paul

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