Crying? Me? Do I LOOK as if I’ve been crying?
Actually, yes I do. I’m sitting in my swanky London hotel’s ‘connectivity lounge’ (it has wifi and a computer desk) with tears pouring down my face as I encapsulate the last thirty-odd years of my daughter in a Father-of-the-Bride speech I’ll be giving in London today, not long after you read this column.
Memories of the toddler full of boundless confidence and showbiz pizazz, the teenager who gave me a tough time, the young woman who terrorised my doctors with tell-me-like-it-is questions about my potential demise. So many memories . . .
So how goes the day? Not well, so far. Before leaving Godzone for my journey to the hateful Metropolis I despatched my column by email to those nice people at The Journal.
Only I didn’t.
What I sent was an email full of stern pre-recrimination: “Woe betide that you should fail to acknowledge receipt of this important document. I am a columnist of no little consequence. . . friends in high places. . . blah-blah”.
But I FAILED to attach the column to the email. And now my words of great wisdom sit, unreachable, on the laptop I left at home.
While I sit, tear-splashed and wrecked by recollections of my beautiful daughter on the eve of the day I have dreaded since I first saw the movie ‘Father of the Bride’.
The US comedian Steve Martin plays a man called Banks. Need I say more? I have watched the film 20 times since, always requiring reassurance wherever I am in the world from the woman who is about to ditch me for a younger man.
Example: it is two in the morning, London time, and Tash the Guardianista is launching the last of her newspaper’s editions on the iPad platform she controls. Her phone rings.
“Dad? Is that you? I thought you were in New York? Are you okay?” Then the penny drops. “Have you been watching THAT movie again? How many times have I told you NOT to?”
On that occasion, lodging alone at the Cornell Club in Manhattan, I had fallen asleep watching Fox Channel TV baseball and awoke at the teariest part of THAT movie.
“Not my fault,” I plead with the soothing counsellor who has cupped my plight to her ear while struggling to launch her digital edition.
In future, I suppose, when the phone rings at odd times of the night she will simply snuggle a little closer to the man of her choice while he whispers: “Let it ring; it’ll just be that mad dad of yours weeping over THAT movie again.”
I’ve seen it coming for long enough, of course: they’ve lived together for years (it’s the modern way, I’m told) and I once suggested to Tash that the day might come (hint-hint) when she’d give up her old dad for a newer model.
“Oh, don’t let THAT worry you, dad,” said the girl of my dreams. “That happened a long time ago.”
She can be a hard woman, my daughter.
The inspector was parking his TV detector van just as the local beef farmer farmer was leaving to walk round the beasts.
“Can’t stop now,” the farmer told the inspector when challenged for proof of his licence. “Speak to my wife. She won’t remember where the licence is but tell her she’ll find it in a cardboard box on the top shelf of the wardrobe in our bedroom.”
The inspector did as he was told, knocked on the door and asked the wife for her TV licence.
“You’ll find it in a cardboard box on the top shelf of the wardrobe in your bedroom,” he told her.
The farmer’s wife was flabbergasted.
“Eeh,” she said. “I knew the detector vans were accurate, but I didn’t know they were THAT good!”firstname.lastname@example.org