Benny Hill Riff.

July 20, 2008 at 9:32 am | Posted in writing | 20 Comments
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Dada diddle diddle dumb dumb dada. Subtitled, cos I want to, On Being Childless.

I read the other day, at least I think I did, that if you are approaching fifty, male and childless the chances are really good that you’re gay. Which puts me in a tiny minority, a middle aged heterosexual white (and I say that because in the world into which I was born and through no fault of my own that was of distinct benefit. In fact, a sane person looking at my life would say, “Why? You have thrown away every advantage including an elegant and complex education. You own nothing, no property, no wife, no children.” My hair is literally turning grey and I am a large and shambling beast. I am an exile where ever I am.

No, I cannot be more literally true for fear of implicating the innocent since I was drunk a lot of the time, (insert link=”the complete unreliability of memory” and like any drunk include the sober) some balding man in rags, a woodgnome in a clearing giggling through his moustachioes with his arm around the plumpest sweetest smiling one. We all heard music whenever she moved. Haha, amoral you see not immoral, in that in life one must first survive. Everything else is a surplus which you are free to give away and in doing so offer hope to those around you. It is a small sacrifice. As your society fragments, which it is right now inside these lunatic machines which exaggerate every effect, which are literally changing the way thought occurs, you will need to remember the things which were fundamental to the survival and success of the little pink people. Similarity becomes far more important than the bizarre twentieth century cult of the personality. (Though you must remember to celebrate diversity amorally, in that it is fundamental to your survival. It was one of our first assets and mirrors the tao.) People would call you names, attach words whose meaning is long dead as if in an archaic language, communist, anarchist and antichrist, atheist, subversive, arrogant and insidious. So I am childless by choice.


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  1. Should I continue the tradition of explaining the titles with a Benny Hill theme.

  2. Thought you had a kid.

    Do you mean biologically fathering a child or hanging about to see to the raising of it?

    Big difference there.
    I mean both, Amuirin. I have never fathered a child in any sense. It was a decision I made in my late teens and good luck and some judgement have kept me to it.

  3. First of all, biologically, a man can never be sure. Secondly, with a blog like this, it is hard to know–for me at least–if you are talking about your real self or a concoction. Only because I shift unpredictably between the two on my poetry and fiction blogs. But I sense you are probably more authentic than I am. And I also have that in-between blather blog where I am pretty authenticly me, if that makes any sense.

    I thought I had made a decision to be childless because I thought Reagan, with his jolly smile and forgetful demeanor, was going to end the world. Then my deadlines were coming up and even though Bush, an even worse president came along, I decided to live in the moment and have some faith. I’m glad I did, but I feel really sorry for my kids in this worsening world. So I can really understand the choice not to have children. It makes complete sense. It is a much more rational choice, in fact, that the irrational choice to have them.
    Firstly, I am sure as it is possible to be. I know where I have been and what happened after I was there. Secondly, this piece is as close to plain voice nonfiction as I can write without sounding like a robot typing. And thirdly, you are an amazing friend and a wonderful writer.

  4. childless by choice — i think that’s perfectly fine even if society doesn’t agree with it. it’s a choice that i have stood by for a while.

    i found this really honest & genuine — i love when you write in a more personal voice.
    Lissa! You’re back, yayaya.

  5. wonderfully and intriguingly formulated thoughts
    Thanks, Sumedh.

  6. Intriguing to read your thoughts – so eloquently put. My own thoughts are almost the opposite side of the coin to yours but then mine would probably be less eloquent so I’ll keep schtum on the subject here and now. Sunday brain food… fabulous.
    If your thoughts are opposite, Mary, that would make us perfectly complementary?

  7. hmm. i am biting my lip as i read. i do not know what this feeling is, bubbling inside of me. it is a mixture. when is it not a mixture? you can be my woodgnome. it’d be fun
    Don’t bite too hard,

  8. well done for being you.

    “a woodgnome in a clearing giggling through his moustachioes with his arm around the plumpest sweetest smiling one.”

    that is a lovely image.

    also a thought – one can own everything and have nothing. and eduation has lttle or nothing to do with intelligence, and wisdom is perhaps preferable.

    so if theres a note of worry in this text, don’t. your writing is so multi-prismatic one doesn’t always know how to feel, and this is wonderful. as a consequence, you hold up a mirror to your readers. i could go back this at any given lifestage and it would speak something subtly different. like a good painting.
    Thanks Peter. And well done for being you too. When I was in my twenties I used to get called Paulus The Woodgnome, then I discovered harecuts and razors,

  9. I very much admire the ability to make and hold to such logical and long term commitments – when I look back over my life it appears so much more haphazzard and lacking in anything other than luck, coincidence and, it’s true, a certain amount of weakness. And worse, if I look for an ethical basis to the directions I’ve taken, I usually just find vanity as the over-riding impulse behind even my “moral” decisions. An interesting piece – thanks.
    Hello, again, thanks for commenting.

  10. this piece is illusion-shattering bare bones honest and yet has a freefall comfort with que sera sera
    the tao
    Tipota, spaces between trees, your comments are so cool they embarass mine on your writing which is fantabulous,

  11. I didn’t quite understand why you chose to be childless, except maybe you were trying to survive and didn’t know if you wanted to survive with a family in tow? Anyway, it’s a personal decision that doesn’t need to be justified, except you’re a write, so you explain. I appreciate your openess and honesty, even if I didn’t understand the second part of your essay. My fault, not yours.

    You could still father a child if you wanted to, and I say that not believing that having children makes a life better or worse. Just different.
    Thanks for the feedback, Christine. How’s your hundred percent honesty programme going? Did I get a Pass No Comment?

  12. Alright. I think we can say that is pretty much a totally magic-free piece of writing, (what I call 90 percent of what’s posted in the bloggosphere, The Pornography Of The Self, look at me, look at me,) not unlike this one here Most People I Know, which is where I started last time. And just like last time, after prosaic honesty, anything goes, woohoo, my co-conspirators, let’s see what we can make happen this time, perhaps we can mythologise the tiny self large enough to scare a big idea into existence,

  13. mmm, i like this last line best, maybe this will be my next t-shirt:

    perhaps we can mythologize the tiny self large enough to scare a big idea into existence

    and gingatao, you never know. we think we know but we only really know nothing at all

    which i think i remember you saying somewhere here already always better

    but i could be wrong
    Cool, someone who agrees, that makes a change. I can make up that shirt for you as soon as I (ahem) move some of the old stock.

  14. I want a T-shirt that says,” I can wash myself” because if the T-shirt can live up to that promise, it would solve so many of my problems but I have a great kid, being a dads the best thing ever happened to me, just plain fact, that is. My GOD, I’ve deveveloped a cockney accent…is it gone yet? ahrgggggggg

  15. Hear hear on the “I am in exile wherever I am”!!

    How solemn we are 😦 …

    Well you have chosen away from the overflowing mainstream, its an artist’s prerogative, no?

  16. life is not so bad for a hoho pirate… havin a child is not something one plans …like one of those crazy lists that people talk abt… the ying and yang of a personal list that has nothing to do w/everything…. is that what yr talkin abt…

  17. Thanks, Paul. I really appreciated this piece. I can empathise and sympathise and theorize and poetize, blah, blah. I think I get it. Yeah, I get it.

  18. Yes, yes, “The Pornography Of The Self, look at me, look at me,”….I’ve thought along similar lines too. Maybe I just enjoy whoring out my words, spreading them out for all to see, haha.

  19. There are many people out there Paul who shouldn’t have had children but went ahead anyway, not thinking of the consequences to an innocent life because they weren’t prepared or didn’t have the nature to be a parent. You should be happy with your decision, because it appears to have been made with a deep self awareness.

  20. /cheer Paul, if a decision is not made consciously then a decision is not made at all 🙂
    btw I am puzzled by your site of late, posts disappear, reappear…is the universe collapsing/expanding or morphing in your part of the world, I lost the piece you had on pivots 😦

    anyways take care of you xo xo

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