Tuesday 23 May 2017

This Man's Life: Only the good die young - and I want to be the oldest in the graveyard

'All this misery-guts carry-on is brought on because I went for a big check-up recently' Photo: Depositphotos
'All this misery-guts carry-on is brought on because I went for a big check-up recently' Photo: Depositphotos
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

It's difficult to keep up in the modern world, sometimes. It's not me. It's the world. I hope that doesn't sound too much like what Vladimir says to Estragon in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot: "There's man all over for you, blaming on his boots the faults of his feet."

My late mother, Maureen - who was a professional dancer and therefore good on her feet - would have told me to stop worrying and just be yourself because everyone else is taken. Being asked to be yourself, even by your mother, presents something of a problem in itself. In Portrait or Bust, Alan Bennett referred to the problem of being asked to "be yourself" as "a baffling injunction".

"What they really mean is 'imitate yourself'," he wrote.

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