The end is nigh: prepare!

It’ll be hard going but we have no choice.

We’ve been spoilt, our senses dulled, our imagination and creative thinking corroded. It’s time to excise the lowest common denominator for all our conversations, if you could actually call them that. There are scary times ahead.

You know the trap we’ve fallen into: “I can’t think of anything better to talk about so I might as well have a gripe about … you know what”.

Our excuses have been manifold:

  • It’ll take too much time and effort to find something more meaningful to discuss
  • Is there really something more meaningful?
  • Suits me fine, I was never much of a conversationalist anyway
  • It’s part of God’s devilish plan
  • Couldn’t care less, I’ve got a really bad hangover.

Mother Nature tried to help, sending Covid-19 to distract us. What did we do? We spurned the opportunity MN offered. We refused to mention one topic without the other. How good was that for ingenious stupidity?!

But it’s all coming to an end. I’m getting ready and so should you. My psychoanalyst, fearful of what she calls “cold turkey mass psychosis”, recommends a gradual withdrawal.

“You can’t undo the damage of the past four years overnight,” she counselled me. “Try going for an hour without saying the T-word. Depending on how you cope, extend it to, say, a half-day, then, if you’re feeling really strong, maybe a whole day. Whatever you do, pace yourself. This is not something that can be rushed. And keep a detailed record of the state of your nerves.”

I’ll try but it won’t be easy. There’ll be no extravagant New Year resolutions. Fortunately, my psychoanalyst has provided a stockpile of heavy-duty meds.

“You think there was a problem with the supply of toilet paper,” she warned. “Just wait until 20 January next: the shock at hearing the President of the USA talk in civil tones, using multisyllabic words we no longer understand, using we rather than I. It will be simply too much to bear for a lot of people. We are in for a rough ride.”

“Mind you”, she went on, “it’s not all bad news. There’ll be a pharma-led economic recovery right around the globe. I’ll be booked out for years to come though I can squeeze you in late in 2022. Hope that suits. Good luck!”

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About Peter Rodgers

Peter Rodgers is a former Australian diplomat and journalist, now an author and playwright. His foreign service career included appointments as Australia's High Commissioner to the Caribbean and Australian Ambassador to Israel. Earlier, as Jakarta correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald, Peter received the Australian Journalist of the Year Award for his reporting on East Timor. Peter has written two non-fiction books about the Middle East: Herzl’s Nightmare—one land two peoples; Arabian Plights—the future Middle East. His short fiction has been published or long/shortlisted in national and international competitions. Peter’s new novel, Beethoven’s Tenth and the journey which saved the world, will be published in late 2020 (Green Hill Publishing). A collection of his short stories, Life, death and other distractions, will be published in early 2021 (Ginninderra Press).

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