Column this week
Man I have no luck. I really don’t. I’m not good at anything, or maybe I should say I’m good at all the wrong things. I can write and I can paint and I’ve been told I have a wicked little putkay but none of those things translate into the big bucks and fancy cars and guys in skimpy swimwear serving you drinks on your yatch. Well, the putkay might but the other stuff, no. Unless you’re Danielle Steel. But then, strictly speaking, she can’t write either. And yet she keeps doing it. It’s almost admirable how she churns them out, they way Gizmo spits out gremlins when his back gets wet. A little note to Danielle Steel fans, don’t email me protesting. And yes, I can still say that she can’t write even after reading Thurston House.
I mean, you read the papers and hear on the news that David Beckham gets a deal to play football for £128m and it makes you realise that life essentially has no meaning. You take things like flowers and hard work and education and fidelity and you realise they’re all a waste of time. You could have four PhDs and never earn a quarter of what Beckham will earn in a month. So what’s the sense of learning the impact of the Agricultural Revolution on the development of human civilization? You can’t go into Jimmy Choo and buy snakeskin stilettos with that. Better learn to kick a ball. Or better yet, to bend it like Beckham, so you can loll off on your yatch with those bikini clad hotties. Unless you’re one of those who thinks that money isn’t the key to happiness. And that’s okay, but then this isn’t the column for you. I know I’d rather be rich and unhappy than poor and miserable. At least when I’m rich and depressed I can afford to buy new shoes and distract myself. And hire some men to wear skimpy swimwear and serve me on my yatch.
You know what used to get to me? Those ads you see on cable with a pretty but dirty child walking in rubbish somewhere in the Third World and you hear the voiceover that says for less than a dollar a day you can sponsor a child and ensure that they eat and go to school and not drink water with mosquito larvae or old tyres floating around in it. And then you hear that Old Becks is earning a pound for every person living in Russia, give or take a few thousand. So it makes you wonder how many children he could sponsor and how many lives he could save. Hmmm, essentially every child in Russia for five years could be living and laughing and learning courtesy Beckenham with quite a few millions left over. I mean, you wouldn’t want Posh to cut down on her shopping now would you? When I see those ads it makes me want to get my purse and turn over every penny I have. Which aren’t a lot but who can see children starving when a dollar/pound could buy them clothes and rice and rehydration salts?
And you go to the grocery and see old men with three things rattling around in a basket who spend the greater part of five minutes counting the coins needed to pay for the things that you know will constitute breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few days. And you pass the men huddled and bundled under blankets in doorways begging you to spare some money and part of you is still human enough to care but that’s beaten into cowering submission by the part of you that knows by the next day you’ll need that same pound you’re tempted to give away.
The argument is that Becks (and Posh, we can’t forget Posh) is going to bring some much needed glamour and respectability to the game which still has to gain popularity and some national respect in the US of A. He’s good-looking, fashionable, a family man and also good-looking. I guess they figure the gain will come from exposure and not ticket sales. Which makes some sense. But I can’t help but think about those children walking barefoot in rubbish. How did it get to be that getting people to like football was worth more than the life of a child?