Be Careful What You Wish For
October 2, 2012 § 331 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
I have seen off many a platitude. Plankton are prey to more platitudes than any other group of unfortunate folk, so laying them bare and subjecting them to ridicule is a sport I have had to learn to enjoy. “It’ll happen when you least expect it/aren’t looking for it,” is up there as perhaps the most irritating of all time, but there are plenty of other worthy contenders. “Count your blessings” is high on the list, but “Be careful what you wish for,” is one I feel I must scrutinise, and decry.
In any normal context, there is something rather satisfyingly accurate about, Be careful what you wish for. I think of children, plus puppies, plus Christmas. I think of men of sixty or more, plus gorgeous, bosomy twenty-five year old pouting people, plus sex. But in the plankton context, BCWYWF, is most frequently from the mouths of married women wishing you off men with a slight ha ha about their own husbands, be it about his maddening habit of being incapable of answering questions at breakfast or his inability to cut his toenails into the waste-paper basket. But the tone, whilst wrapped in the tissue paper of humour, is always portentous, just in case I might not have thought of it before and, if not, I jolly well ought to have done.
Of course I have bloody thought of it before! In fact, if only I could be a little less careful about what I wish for. If I was a marginally less fussy old bag, then I wouldn’t be in this tedious plankton position in the first place. My problem is that I am too darn careful. What I wish for is a companionable, kind, age-appropriate person who can string two words together, is largely heterosexual and preferably doesn’t live in Auckland (nothing against Auckland, just a bit far). I never wished for diamonds and white sands and palm trees or sleek cars that glisten and zoom, and I long ago gave up wishing for a partner that was entirely well-balanced, stable, and hand-baggage only.
What I would really like is for friendly advisors to dispense with the BCWYWF platitude entirely and instead opt for cliches more along the lines of, Throw Caution to the Wind because Life Has a Funny Way of Turning Out. Advice like that would encourage me not to be careful at all, but instead to open the mind up to whole new ideas – a much younger man for example? Goodness knows where I might find him, but there could be a lot to be said for that. BCWYWF, Plankton: Pah!