Signifying nothing

Tuesday 5th April 2011

EACH day now takes me a step closer to the check-out.

It would be a good thing, methinks, if a palimpsest was etched on each of these remaining days: sixty-sharpened pencils; the recognition of proximities; a saunter down aisles and up yours; a journeyman’s journal, signifying nothing.

Blogging is not me – such an unseemly, modern conceit that squeezes writers into tracksuits, sees us pounding through rain-sodden paragraphs, word-counting stop-watches on our wrists, sweaty with aphorisms, panting with deadlines. Come off it. Where are the ash-trays, the mugs of stale coffee, the frustrations and frowns, the irritations of the colon?

Sod it. Better to write and not be read than not write and wake up dead.

(Surveillance records my browsing shelves for yesterday’s tidbits and today’s special offers. I wonder if they wonder if I’m a shoplifter, for I am both dilatory and distracted. But this is my outlet, not theirs. I am citizen not consumer, passenger not customer.)

Since financial wealth could stretch to infinity, it cannot be valued. Let us measure instead the pretty pictures of mortality. Tot up the minutes of pleasure and leisure. These are your profit. Set against them the traffic tailbacks, Post Office queues and afternoons lost in drudgery. For how long each day are you content, fulfilled, happy doing what you are doing? Count not the coins, but the hours per week you take home.

It is time to declare a new global currency. Time.

(When I unfold the rudiments of this philosophy to Liz on the tobacco counter, she sees not an influential visionary whose conclusions will revolutionise lives everywhere, but just another chuntering pensioner desperate for company. The staff have training days for that sort of thing.)

But this is my weblog and here nobody can stop me!

Oh… and I will eke out an exact 2011 characters per entry, reflecting the age. Next January, therefore, the index-linked allowance will give me a small opportunity for growth.

If I’m still here, that is.







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4 Responses to Signifying nothing

  1. Doug Bamford says:

    I’ve followed this link from your guardian comment on the silly Layard happiness stuff. I’m not sure what your motive is for focussing on time.

    It certainly seems important since it is something we have a finite amount of. Not sure its psychologically useful to focus on that, but it is very important to have that knowledge somewhere in the background.

    I’m interested in the idea of time because I have come up with a way of calculating tax that uses the amount of hours that people have worked. The idea is that people who spend longer working to obtain their total income would pay less tax. I’m going to be writing a book about it once I’m finished with my thesis, you might be interested.

    • marcusmoore says:

      It’s not so much a motive, more a recognition, Doug.

      Just as I have yet to come across a recorded example of somebody on a death-bed saying, “I do wish I’d gone in to work more often”, likewise I’ve never heard of anyone dying saying they wished they’d made more money.

      Perhaps it’s just that, on reaching the age I am and having, in March 2012, having passed the age my father was when he died, I am more conscious now than ever before of my own mortality.

      One of the lessons of recent years has been to value Time way above most of the other customary – and more superficial – measures.

      I have no wish to waste time on pointless activities like getting angry, moaning about the weather, shaving, going to parties I don’t want to go, making countless meaningless purchases, behaving as others would have me behave, and so on.

      I wouldn’t exchange my current income – about 23.75 hours a day – of feeling content for anything; least of all for the acquisition of wealth that others, misguidedly in my view, see as life’s most worthwhile pinnacle.

  2. Annie says:

    An interesting blog..very informative.


  3. Nero says:

    60 sharpened pencils….

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