As readers of this blog can attest there is an enormous number of things I worry about when the nations of the world are being shaken to their core by a rampant virus for which there is currently no vaccine, nor is there likely to be one this year, as well as all the governmental stupidity which is similarly rampant.
However, despite the tenor of the topics discussed in this blog, I believe it is always good to take things none too seriously. I remember reading decades ago of a quote, which baldly stated: “life is too important to be taken seriously”. I had no idea whence it came, so I decided to look it up, having a suspicion that it may have been one of my favourite philosophers, Groucho Marx. However, it turned out not to be. It was Oscar Wilde.
Wilde’s first play, ‘Vera; or, the Nihilists’ was rather unsuccessful when it was first produced in the 1880s, and the text was not published until 1902, when Wilde was much more famous but, unfortunately, dead1. In it, one of the characters, Prince Paul, states: “life is much too important a thing ever to talk seriously about it”. The same phrasing was uttered by his character Lord Darlington in Wilde’s much more successful play of 1892 ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’.
With the Covid-19 lockdown of the country, it has been tempting to rail against all sorts of perceived or petty annoyances as we were, for a time, largely restricted in our activities to those about the house, while trying to work our way through the fridge and pantry to extend the time between trips to the supermarket for fear that someone might cough or sneeze on us. Don’t get me wrong, being inside doesn’t bother me, as most of my work of writing this blog and some scientific papers, is done on a computer with multiple screens with Word documents, PDFs and spreadsheets all open at once, which is not something easily done outside.
Now that the lockdown is being eased a bit, I have realised I’ve spent almost three months during daylight hours in trackie-daks. While this may sound like I am starting to lose it, I am not. Trackie-daks are warm and comfortable, and in the middle of a Canberra winter, they are just perfect. This is doubly so, since my waist was stolen sometime after I stopped playing squash in 1989 because of a dodgy knee (an old soccer injury). I have had trackie-daks for many years and when the lockdown came, I reverted to slovenly type and wore them all the time, apart from being in pyjamas, of course.
The unfortunate thing about my trackie-daks was that they were fairly old and the elastic had just about given up the ghost of gripping my hips, or at least where the latter used to be. So, when I put them on, I could not go outside, because even putting something as light as the housekeys in the pockets would make them eventually fall down. Unloading the car after grocery shopping, with both hands full of bag-handles, necessitated walking bowlegged just to keep the trackie-daks somewhere near where they were supposed to be and not around my ankles. As a consequence, I’d usually have to put on jeans to leave the house. My partner came up with a brilliant strategy; buy some new trackie-daks online and have them delivered to our PO Box. Two pairs arrived in the mail a few days later, and they have aggressively new elastic in them, and even an elasticised draw-string. They actually stay up when I leave the house. However, we have argued over my trackie-daks because, when we were invited to a 4-person dinner party (entirely legal as some restrictions are being eased), I was simply going to walk out the door in my trackie-daks, until I was told that I had to put my ‘good’ jeans on. So, it will become the work of my remaining years to make trackie-daks chic in a shabby-formal way.
With the lockdown, and despite what the idiot Morrison initially said, I have not visited a hairdresser, and short of getting a Prince Valiant basin cut at home, I have let my hair grow, so that it is much longer than I have had it since the 1980s. It has been irritating me, so I have cut what passes for a fringe so that I don’t get eye-whip when I go out in the backyard breeze. On top of this, I have also cut the hair around my ears as it used to tickle when I tried to go to sleep. As a consequence, I now have relatively short hair on the front and sides, but what used to be called a ducktail at the back. This sort of hairstyle is, in modern parlance, called a mullet. So, now it looks like my mullet is something I have done on purpose. This is disturbing to me, as the mullet is something styled more often by bogans, and I have often railed against the boganisation of Australia. I feel like I should get a T-shirt which says “I’m not a bogan; it’s a Covid mullet”. However, in a Canberra winter, it’s too bloody cold to walk around in a t-shirt; I have to wear a jacket, which is good, because I can carry my wallet and housekeys in the jacket so there is absolutely no chance my trackie-daks will fall down. What you lose on the swings you gain on the roundabout. Life is too important to be taken seriously.