The Unpleasant Stain
I consider the options. I could reply that, in actual fact, I am not and the whole thing is a figment of her imagination. Experience has taught me that although this may be personally satisfying, it is not a recipe for long-term conversational pleasure.
I remain silent.
‘Look at that.’
I admit there is An Unpleasant Stain of some sort near the lower portion of my shirt.
I scratch at it with a thumbnail in an absent-minded manner. After a while it is gone. I am now wearing a Clean Shirt.
It leads me to think. And here we have the significance of the Unpleasant Stain throughout the major stages of one’s life:
Stage 1: There Is An Unpleasant Stain. You are a child. You are ‘clarty’.
Stage 2: There Is An Unpleasant Stain: You are an adolescent. You have been masturbating.
Stage 3: There Is An Unpleasant Stain: You are in your early twenties. You are beginning a career, and realising your degree is not worth the paper it is written on (if you have a brain). You have been masturbating.
Stage 4: There Is An Unpleasant Stain: You are in your late twenties. In classic Gerry Rafferty ‘Baker Street’ style your life after work (you are now doing quite well) consists of bars, take-aways and taxis as you try and turn your brain off at the end of each day. Bars and take-aways lead to Unpleasant Stains. And you have probably been masturbating. (Nobody believes that ‘it is toothpaste.’)
Stage 5: There Is An Unpleasant Stain: You are in your early thirties. You have a number of children under the age of five. They are ‘clarty’. It rubs off on you. A pleasant evening’s masturbation is the stuff of your wildest dreams.
Stage 6: There Is An Unpleasant Stain: You are old. You are ‘clarty’.
Stage 7: There Is An Unpleasant Stain: It is You. You are dead.