The Futility of Cogitating About Nothing
The three of them, comfortably seated atop a rustic stone wall, gave an elderly sigh of relief with their unanimous decision to stop walking and, for a captured moment in time, admire the natural splendour of the undulating countryside.
One of them, through poetical eyes, thought “Ah the magnificence of spring, a mild temperature plus the floral appreciation of seeing everything in full bloom.”
Another, with pondering rumination, did mindfully speculate, ”Gawd, right now I could murder for a beer. Why didn’t someone decide to build a pub up here?”
The remaining gentleman was more aggressive with his thoughts. “Sure as hell one day I am going to kill that mate of mine. ’Let’s go for a walk’ he says, ‘to look at the new spring wildflowers’ he says. I am bloody stupid enough to agree with him. I figured we were going just around the corner into the park or something reasonably close, not half way up a bloody mountain.”
‘Ah, my friends, suck in that beautiful fresh air. It makes you feel good to be alive,’ says Mark.
‘Yeah, except we ain’t got much time left in which to enjoy the pleasure,’ proclaims Howard. ‘Besides, any more sucking and thanks to you and your bright ideas, this old fart is going to cop a fatal dose of hay fever.’
‘Pity about us running out of lifetime, as you so delightfully remind us, Howard’ moaned Fred, ’because until your comment regarding our tenuous grasp on the future possibility of breathing and sucking in spring mountain air, I was seriously considering the purchase of a genuine D80.”
‘And what is that when it is at home?’ asked Howard, whose knowledge of such matters only ran around beer labels, of which D80 was definitely not included.
‘The D80 is a highly efficient digital camera with lightning-fast performance, Howard,’ offered Mark. ‘You know, when I once fell off a mountain top, it took eight hundred and sixty-three shots in the time it took my body to hit the blackberries that broke my fall.’
‘Is that good, Fred?’ asked Howard, desperately seeking qualified confirmation, because he did not have a clue how long it took a lightning fast D80 to take a single picture let alone eight-hundred and sixty-three shots, especially when falling off a mountain top.
‘Good enough, I reckon,’ says Fred, ‘although I must say it was pretty stupid of Mark to fall off the mountain top. Cripes, he might have smashed his camera. They are treasured objects, mate, not meant to be subjected to such irresponsible acts of accidental violence.’
‘Is it possible to have such a thing as an irresponsible accident?’ asks Howard.
‘It is if you are wandering around mountain tops without your mother to protect you,’ says Fred.
‘Mother, what mother?’ questioned Howard. ‘Cripes, if Mark grows much older the Queen will send him a telegram.’
‘Do they have telegrams these days?’ asks Mark.
‘Well, a bloody email then’ yells Howard ,wishing to press home the point that sadly, just like the other two, Mark does not own up to having a mum to protect him anyway.
‘My mum’ offers Fred, ‘would have said, "Look son, if you are stupid enough to go falling off mountain tops you have best leave your D80 camera at home and don’t be late back because I will have dinner on the table 6pm sharp".’
‘Fair dinkum, did you lot have dinner at 6pm?’ asked Howard. ‘Cripes, in our house it was always 7pm on the dot and all us kids had to eat and shut up so me dad could hear the news. Funny bit was, there was nothing wrong with me mum’s hearing, but dad, when he turned the box off at 7.30, always repeated the news blow by blow for me mum’s benefit.’
‘Jeez, my dad likewise’ says Fred, not willing to be upstaged, ‘complete with all the sound effects and gory details about irresponsible accidents.’
‘Did you know the D80 features a ten megapixel DX format?’ says Mark, with all the authority of a professional when it comes to falling off mountain tops.
‘What is a megapixel?’ asks Howard, looking more into Fred’s eye than Mark’s.
‘Well,’ says Fred ,‘try to imagine one million pixels all standing, like good mates, cuddling up to one another and you could say you have a megapixel.’
‘One million pixies,’ laughs Howard, ‘are you off with the fairies, Fred?’
‘Pixels, not pixies, you nong’ blurted Mark. ‘Jesus, Howard, trying to explain the technical science behind digital photography to you, mate, is like discussing prehistoric cave paintings with a hairy mammoth, although I am inclined to think the mammoth could be quicker on the uptake.’
‘Have you ever seen a hairy mammoth?’ asks Fred.
‘You should not be talking about my mother in-law like that, Fred,’ laughs Mark. ‘You know our rules, never discuss the family.’
‘I was thinking …’ says Howard.
‘Cripes, we have a thinker in our midst’ informs Mark. ‘And to think I always thought Howard could never think without a pint of beer clutched in his bony hand.’
‘Ah, it is true, Mark that a drop of ale does help lubricate the process when it comes to profound thought, but sitting here, looking out across that view, I am inspired to be thinking that, seeing as we all possess two reasonably efficient legs, a pair of eyes still able to focus and a brain with which to compute the information, why should it be desirable for Fred to waste his money on the purchase of a D80 camera, when we have everything stretched out here before our persons while we suck in the mountain air, appreciating the view with 3D vision.’
‘Because,’ replies Mark, ‘with the D80 camera Fred may capture the beauty of this panoramic scenery for all time.’
‘True, Mark, but in our case time is our enemy. At our age it is well within the sphere of probability that one or all may not even make it down the mountain. You might even venture to declare that we three are well over the hill, up the bloody creek, mate, when it comes to chalking up future years. Not too sure about you two, but I have enjoyed a good life and I am thinking no product of Fred’s D80 is ever going to produce a picture where we can suck in the mountain air, smell the wild flowers, or even, come to that, cop a dose of rotten hay fever.’
‘You know’ says Fred, ‘I have long subscribed to the school of thought that, when Howard starts thinking, it’s high time to trot yer frame down to the pub. Fair dinkum, no risk, Howard is a man of few words once you have him grasping a glass of the amber stuff. Highly recommended to be a surefire way to shut him up and stop him thinking.’
‘But I kind of like our friend being able to think and express his thoughts’ argues Mark
‘Yeah, well, you should have a rethink about what you are saying there, mate, or you will have me starting to imagine that you really did fall off the mountain top.
Speaking of which, I reckon we should make our way back home. Yeah, it is a bit like life really.’
‘What is a bit like life?’ queried Mark
‘You know, hills and mountains and stuff,’ replied Fred. ‘You start your way out at the bottom, work your way up to the summit, rest awhile, after that it is all downhill, until you fall off the planet.’
‘Cripes, listen to mister doom and gravity, will yer!’ says Howard. ‘So, assuming we strike it lucky and we are still breathing, what are we going to do tomorrow?’
‘Well, I don’t know about you pair,’ says Mark. ‘I am going to attend the Sunny Days Nursing Home entertainment session in the community hall. Should be a bit of a hoot. Some bloke is going to give a lecture on “Sex for Geriatrics” or ,to give it the subtitle, “How to have fun with your prostate”. Any takers? They are putting on free snags and bickies.’
‘Any beer?’ asks Howard.
‘Not bloody likely, mate. The Sunny Days Nursing Home is not exactly famous when it comes to handing out any beverage apart from tea or coffee.’
‘In that case,’ says Howard. ‘I am off to visit my old mate Arthur. He is testing one of his special home brews tomorrow. Reckons he has tossed a dead chook, feathers and all, into the fermenter and swears it adds heaps of body to the flavour. Hey, if I am not home by midnight send out the coppers to look for me. So what are you up to tomorrow, Fred?’
’Wouldn’t be seen dead with you pair for starters. All this talk about falling off the planet has set me thinking and I am now in a hurry to start living. I am giving up the futile exercise of cogitating about absolutely nothing. To hell with the expense, first thing after breakie tomorrow I am going to buy me a bloody genuine fantastic D80.’
Three elderly characters walk the mountain to cogitate about
future offerings when it comes to enjoying life and the limits of personal expectations when it comes to cameras, beer & spring air..