Idle Eye 87 : The Quantitative Theory of Stuff

Contrary to popular belief, the trouble with getting on a bit has not so much to do with the various bits of you packing up, but that the grey bits you actually have left are already at capacity. They’re maxed out. Overloaded. Which means that if you so choose to bring something fresh on board, say a critically-acclaimed movie or this year’s page-turner, you have to bin an existing item to make room. You’d think this would be pretty straightforward, wouldn’t you? Out with the old, in with the new, and everything ticks along nicely, right? Wrong.

Why so, you ask? Well, the ageing brain does not give up its data lightly, oh no. It’s a hoarder. So when the new kids on the block come a-knockin’, it balks like a reluctant dog with his special stick. Let me give you an example: Last week, I made the mistake of telling a younger colleague that I had never listened to One Direction. Not once. No space for any direction now, I explained, it’s all filled up with grown-up business. This did not go down well:

Youth:  You serious?

Me:  Absolutely. Don’t judge me, it’s just what happens. You’ll understand one day.

Youth:  But they are huuuuge!!! And OD make more dough in a day than you’ll get in your lifetime, grandad!

Me:  Apparently so. How do you think that makes me feel?

Youth:  Old/sad?

Me:  Now look. I know this is going to be hard for you to take in, but it’s just stuff. And I’ve got years and years of stuff rattling around in there. It’s got nothing to do with One Direction: I’ve never listened to Taylor Swift, never listened to JLS, never listened to Miley Cyrus. And you’d probably think it a bit odd if I had. I’m in my forties and, I’ll be frank with you, they’re all shit. So why would I even bother?

Youth:  Nothing to do with them being shit, man. Just being current. You’ll understand one day.

Touché. But I look forward to the day when her head is rammed to bursting with crucial stuff she just can’t let go of, and I can struggle out of my wheelchair if and when we next meet, twerk along to the dulcet tones of ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ and embarrass the crap out of her in front of her children. And if, for some strange reason, she has difficulty with this, I will recite, word perfect, the lyrics to ‘Bye Bye Baby’ by the Bay City Rollers and illustrate with a graph (or whatever Jonathan Ive equivalent is around at the time) the cyclical nature of the Quantitative Theory of Stuff. And maybe, just maybe, she will become aware of the sheer joy available to those who can shed the present. I hope to be high on that particular list.

Revenge, as they say, is a dish best served cold.

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