Thursday, June 10, 2010


My Naïveté

When I was young I was gullible in the extreme. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. Nonetheless, it’s true. No it isn’t. Yes it is, honest. Yeah right! I assure you it is. Go tell it to the judge. I don’t know him. Go tell it to the postman. I never see him these days. Humbug! Gobstoppers!

Anyway, I was so gullible and naïve that I believed many implausible things. Some of those implausible things I invented myself, not willingly, but in the manner of analytical propositions: they popped into my head a priori as it were. Sometimes I even fell for my own rumours. For instance: a baby is not permitted by law to independently possess a sum of money greater than £1. I believed that ‘fact’ utterly, even though it was a fiscal rumour I started myself. Back then, £1 was a note, not a coin. I can still picture in my mind’s eye a pram with a baby’s hand emerging from its depths, and clutched in that hand a green note fluttering in the wind, with policemen scurrying on their way to the scene!

Most of my other implausible beliefs were empirical in origin but stemmed from a misinterpretation of real world phenomena. I assumed that Parkinson’s Disease was named after Michael Parkinson and that the chat show host was somehow the inventor of the affliction; I concluded that ‘common sense’ must be inferior to ‘rare and extinct’ sense in terms of quality and monetary worth; I guessed that sociopaths cure sociologists; that Nietzsche’s ‘superman’ wore a red cape and blue shorts; that the Delta of Venus was in Egypt and Anaïs Nin was a flavour that resembled fennel; I thought that the painter Titian was a giant (literal not cultural, made of bronze with molten blood); I assumed that Tenpole Tudor was an historical era; that pesto was a poison; that Brunei was in the Middle East (near Dubai); that chillies came from Chile; and that macramé was a type of pasta.

I felt sure that oil slicks on the road were dead rainbows; that steelworks were cloud factories; that the NSPCC stood for the National Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Children and that the organisation must therefore be evil; that the book and film called The Postman Always Rings Twice referred to the second (afternoon) delivery; that the Eroica Symphony was naughty; that Hitler’s ‘phantom armies’ with which he planned the defence of Berlin were composed of actual ghosts: it seemed to me that he must surely win, for such troops would be endlessly reusable, like shogi pieces. Worse than all these, I misunderstood the Womble song: I thought that the lyrics were, “Wombles of Wimbledon – common are we” (in other words they’re not rare) rather than “Wombles of Wimbledon Common – are we” (a simple declaration of spatial origin).

I am still gullible and naïve. To write a blog entry admitting the fact is proof of that. Therefore I make no effort to withhold the above photograph of myself with a gullible expression. However, to balance it out, I also include a self-portrait in the opposite mode. What is the opposite of ‘gullible’? ‘Monumental’, surely? Well then, here I am also looking monumental.

You've certainly grown taller since I saw you last, but you need to get some sun on that leg (unless you're half-albino?)
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