(Graham Bell would be so proud…)
G.K. Chesteron wrote a long series of short stories that featured a Roman Catholic priest as an amateur detective; the famous Father Brown.
There’s one story, called ‘The confession of Father Brown‘, in which the priest reveals his most important trade secret, which is that he can imagine having committed all these crimes himself.
Anyway, the opposable thumb seems to have been instrumental to changing us from ape to human - but empathy is the only thing that can transform us from a clever, grasping beast to something that can come at least somewhat nearer to a failed angel status.
So, you could say that our main goal in life should be to become a bit more like Father Brown and to be able to see the capacity of the worst and the best that mankind has to offer in ourselves.
Obviously, that’s not always an easy task. I’m not sure I could ever be able to understand how it would feel to walk in the shoes of Robert Mugabe, or suffer the hairdos of Amy Whitehouse - or try to imagine myself to be as self-deluded as George Bush, or as vain & preposterous as Bono.
All of which aimless musings were inspired by a nonsensical bit of news that I just read in the San Francisco Chronicle…
So (and yes, we’re slowly getting to some kind of point) it is often suggested that you are only as old as you feel.
Which, very probably, is not much comfort for people with a severe hangover - or if you are a 86-year-old woman who gets accused of sex-obsessed, teenage type behaviour.
Or, possibly even worse, if you are that woman’s dead husband, whose (non-existing) credit card was, allegedly, used to feed this habit:
“The family of an 86-year-old woman who was billed for over $1,000 in phone sex calls suspects identify theft. Arlene Hald recently received a credit card bill addressed to her husband, Sylvester, who died nearly 20 years ago. Hald said they never had a credit card, yet an account in his name was charged.”
You know, I just don’t get phone sex. Pictures of naked women, or movies: Yes, that obviously works. Same with erotic stories on paper; there, your mind can do all the necessary picturing.
Phone sex, though, is just plain weird - unless you are speaking to a lover, of course. I mean, maybe it’s me but while you were listening to someone grunting & sighing on the other end of the line, it would be too easy to imagine some bored housewife doing the ironing while she dealt with you, or some 86-year-old widow who was knitting while whisper-moaning “Yes, yes, yes…!”