‘Are you a true hero or are you just a stupid bollocks?’ my inner voice demanded of me, in a voice I couldn’t ignore. I was dangerously elated but not at all happy. I was hugely elated but not in very good form. I was spectacularly elated and yet at the same time savagely angry with the whole damn world. So very elated, but in such bad form! Are you a true hero or just a bollocks, are you a true hero or are you just a bollocks. Well we all know what the answer to that one is don’t we? We all know, we all know. So very elated, so very elated. I was trying to think of any good advice that people might have given me during the course of my life so that I could follow it, but I can’t remember anything. I can’t remember a damn thing. What to do, what to do. How to cope, how to cope. There is a roaring in my ears. Nothing makes any sense any more. So how would you describe your situation, the existential therapist was asking me. How would you describe your situation? What makes you happy and what makes you sad. Are you a man or a mouse? Are you a hero or are you a cheap excuse for a human being? That’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it? That’s the bottom line. The memory just came back to me – I was walking through the car park at the Headford Road Shopping Centre and it was very early in the morning – maybe five o’clock, maybe six. I don’t know what I was doing there so early but there I was. An older-looking man, somewhat dishevelled (quite a bit dishevelled, actually), the only other person on the scene apart from me, was walking through the car park too, taking a shortcut. He veers over suddenly to me. “What’s the most popular thing to kick?” He asks me with a manic grin. “A bucket – everyone kicks it!” he answers himself immediately, his grin becoming even more manic than it was before. Everyone kicks it, everyone kicks it. He told me two other jokes in rapid succession and then disappeared again into the early morning gloom. I don’t remember the last two jokes – it was a long time ago. It could have been fifteen or even twenty years ago. The jokes themselves were secondary to the delivery however – the delivery was the thing that counted. The delivery was the key. You just can’t stage a thing like that, you can’t do it on purpose – it just had to happen. Anyway, now that I remember that long forgotten incident I think I can begin to see a point to it; the point being that is a metaphor for life itself. You’re moving through the darkness not expecting anything to happen (and why would you?) when all of a sudden a stranger rushes up to you and lands a number of quick-fire jokes on you in rapid succession, and then they rush off again into the darkness leaving you struggling to process what had just happened. ‘WTF!’ you are saying to yourself on the one level, whilst on another level you are thinking about the jokes themselves, which are still ringing loud in your ears. And on another level again it’s not about the content of what happened – just the fact that it happened at all. On the deepest level of all it doesn’t matter WHAT happened because there are no terms of reference for it anyway (if you know what I mean). That very normal question “What just happened there?” is perfectly and immaculately meaningless!