I went for a haircut today. OK, so that's hardly starting a post with a bang, but bear with me, it's leading up to something. I'm not promising that something is going to be particularly good, but you're here now so you might as well give it a go. You can hum to yourself if it makes the time go any quicker. OK?
So, yes, haircut. There I am, sitting in a seat designed for Wee Jimmy Cranky, getting my hairs cut* when Gordon - the man in charge of the scissors - says, 'So this'll be your last pre-forty haircut, then.'
You know what? I'd never thought about it that way. But he's right, it was the last haircut I'd ever have as an even vaguely young person. And that got me to thinking that everything I did today was going to be the last time I did it before I was forty. Well, unless it was something I was planning on doing more than once - like having a cup of tea, or going to the toilet. Two not unrelated activities.
Mind you, as a small aside, I made the mistake of buying a copy of the Big Issue today while out shopping for birthday treats, and leaving said magazine on the floor of the bathroom. 'And?' I hear you say, 'So what? There's a bunch of nasty horsey magazines in there too. Don't hear you moaning about them. What did the Big Issue ever do to you?'
What did it do to me? It put a big photo of Margaret Thatcher on the cover, that's what it did. Now, every time I go to the toilet, her face is staring up at me from the linoleum. I don't want an ex-Prime Minister staring at my intimate regions while I'm about my toilette. It's not wholesome.
Anyway, so even if it was something I was planning on doing more than once (not counting going to the toilet, because I'm now a bit creeped out by Maggie ogling my saucisse de l'amour and have to go wee in the neighbour's garden instead) at some point during the day it would be the last time I did it before turning forty.
Rhymes with 'OH DEAR JESUS I'M OLD!'
And another thought occurred to me: was I going to see another forty years? Now when I was wee, I never thought I'd get this far, but then I always assumed I was immortal anyway, so it didn't really matter. No one's surprised when you make it all the way to forty. First forty years? Could do that standing on your head. Which would make people look at you funny if you go to parties, but sod them - long as you've got crisps.
The second forty years though ... that'll make me eighty. If I manage them. And if I can then it means I'm now officially middle-aged. Urgh. Middle aged, and what do I have to show for it? A bad back, and sinuses I wouldn't wish on ... actually, I can think of a number of people I'd happily curse with my sinuses. That'd sodding teach them. Bastards.
I've forgotten where I was going with this.
Anyway, to celebrate the whole turning forty thing I'm going to be dragging my bearded self up to Inverness on Saturday to give a crime writing workshop with Mr Allan 'Happy Potato' Guthrie. We did the same thing in Shetland last week, and it seemed to go OK, so I'm hoping that the experience of repetition will carry me through the inevitable hangover.
After that, I suppose I'm going to have to get all fit and healthy and boring. Otherwise there's no chance in a badger's bumhole I'm going to survive the next forty years.
Then what would you do, eh?
* Oh yes, when I go to the hairdresser I expect my money's worth.