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04 June 2005 at 08:48

a semblance of cool

I had never given this photo of my father, taken at the beach in Germany around 1960, a second thought until I saw it again yesterday and realised - it's a man on his holidays at the seaside, but dressed immaculately in starched shirt and tie, and white socks. Why would he do that, when everyone else was in beachwear?

Then I recalled times, like in the picture below, when I have struck a similar pose or dress style. At a formal function, I was sitting by myself, trying hard not to show my true feelings about the situation - I didn't know most of the other people there, I was nervous and wishing I could be anywhere else. A man came up to me, took my photo, and said something like "you must be the coolest man in the room, how do you do it?" And he was serious.

I think that must have been the first time I had an insight into my own powers of deception, and perhaps the value of a good tailor.

When in doubt, fake an aloof nonchalance - it must have been my father's strategy too. There he was, spending 2 weeks at a German beach to please his wife and kids, surrounded by foreigners and magazines he couldn't understand, when he would much rather have been golfing at home in Scotland. He was doing his best to hide how pissed-off and isolated he really was. I know how he felt.

Blogger Alison Main said...

Dear Rob,

I hope your paper at Blogtalk Downunder went well. Perhaps you could post more details of the 'Ralwin postulate'?



Blogger robmcj said...

alison, good idea, the world may now indeed be ready for Ralwin's radical ideas. In summarising the key points, I shall hope to do justice to his memory, by applying the humility that I have learned from the sensei at flatheidbliss.  


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