Still sluggish and lethargic - thank God I don't have to run a Half Marathon tomorrow.... what? No way. That was bad planning.
My brain was still not playing ball on getting work done, so I pretty much let it have its own way and vegged out on the sofa, whilst stuffing my face with carbs (and Cornettos - a very important food for runners) in preparation for tomorrow's run.
I fear on days like today (and yesterday) that maybe all my ideas and my ability to get things down in writing might have deserted me. It's a precarious place to be in when you are self-employed and only as good as your last joke. My Middle school Maths teacher, Mr Habgood once warned my friend Phil Fry, who was pissing about and making his classmates laugh "One day, Philip Fry, you're going to wake up and find out that no one thinks you're funny any more." It was a threat that I see now came from weakness, from an acknowledgement that Phil was funny then and that Mr Habgood's only way to acheive any kind of superiorty was to unkindly look forward to a future where Phil Fry was a grown up and his antics were no longer appreciated. He hasn't hit that day yet because I still think Phil Fry is funny, but this dire warning stuck in both of our minds because I guess even then we understood that laughter and the ability to create it was not an infinite commodity. The day would probably never come when Mr Habgood would discover that he couldn't teach maths, but we might wake up one day and find that all of our jokes fell on frosty ground. I found it scary then and I find it scary now. Creating laughter is like knitting yoghurt on a high horse (something else I've been accused of in the past) - it's hard to know how to do it unless you know how to do it (and for many of us happens by accident - even we don't know how we do it really) and it's a literal confidence trick in many ways. And once your confidence is eaten away there is the danger that the ability to conjure up this reaction from thin air might have gone with it.
It was a little cruel for Mr Habgood to make that comment, but we'd probably driven him to it and anyway because he had a beard and glasses and looked a bit odd we call used to call him B O Habgood (I don't think he actually smelled), sometimes singing the end bit of the "It Ain't Half Hot Mum" theme tune which usually went "B O... B O Y S, boys to entertain you!" as "B O... B O Habgood.." Not to his face, I don't think. But we still had that power over him so we have still won.
We were horrible. He was a very kind man (aside from his Phil Fry vindictiveness) and a passionate teacher. And a proper character. I wonder where he is now. Thirty-five years have passed. But he may not have been all that old back then. He seemed ancient to us, but he might even have been in his 20s. He was probably in his forties. But to be honest, I still can't tell you. It's hard to tell behind that beard. Sadly a lot of those teachers from the first years of Fairlands Middle School (it opened in 1976 and I was in the first year in that first year) have gone to the great Staff Room in the sky. It's hard to accept. Some of my memories of the place feel like they happened a couple of years ago. Is it really 35 years since I walked in those corridors?
Will his prediction come true? It doesn't matter so much for Phil Fry if his funniness ever does finally desert him, as he has other skills, but if Thursday was the day that I woke up to discover that no one finds me funny any more then I am pretty much fucked. That's all I've got to see me through the next thirty years (unless I am rescued by the blessed release of death). I think I have ideas enough to keep me going for now, but my dull and empty brain has been an annoyance to me this week, especially as I have so much to get done. Mr Habgood knew that we knew we were getting away with it, that only he had seen to the heart of things and our stupid classmates were wrong. We were always just a heartbeat away from being found out. That feeling hasn't really ever left me.
Luckily when inspiration fails there are memories to draw on. It would be ironic if I was rescued from no one finding me funny by telling people about Mr Habgood's comment and making them laugh all over again.