If you think you’re beaten you are…,

Each week as I sit at the keyboard and mull through what I like to call my thoughts, prior to putting chalk to the slate, it becomes more obvious to me that I am getting older and more like previous generations each day.

I try to strike a balanced view but part of my rage against life is that so much of what we see, hear and read is mediocre, middling and politically correct (were I speaking now you would hear the invective in the last two words).

I am not like my Mum, who at 84 thinks the world has completely lost everything…its morals, its point, its manners and its mind, though I can see why she feels like that.

Whilst finding it increasingly hard to understand, I embrace technology and all the incredible advances made by mankind (am I allowed to say that now? Is it personkind now? If it is HP spellcheck is out of date as it doesn’t like it!), but my first stream of invective is aimed at the smart phone (again).

I have been lucky enough to have been user of these things from pretty much the start as they are an incredible tool for business and I have loved them all from the Blackberry to the iphone via the Galaxy, they have saved me time, kept me in touch with clients blah, blah blah, but I hear today on the wireless that they have now become a major distraction, the cause of many arguments and are killing the art of conversation.

This doesn’t have to be the case, they should be a tool for us, but many people let them dominate their lives – I can see how, lately I have found myself checking my phone in advert breaks whilst watching the TV and even whilst eating with my wife, for which I received the quite correct, deserved barracking.

Whilst dropping my son into town last week I consciously witnessed something which sums up where we are with these things, which, without wishing to be alarmist, is of concern for the future and where we are going.

There is a pedestrian crossing at the bottom of Windsor, just after a mini roundabout that creates havoc and has me doing my best Victor Meldrew on a daily basis, as predictably as a Pavlovian dog living next to Big Ben, so, in amongst the profanities, I had not noticed this as a trend before, however, as Morrison (the van) was braked to its inevitable halt as the sheep crossed the road I noticed one person, with her beak firmly ensconced in her screen and the glazed eyes fixed upon said item (doubtless finding out what 36 people in 25 different locations were eating/drinking/being sick in/choosing for lunch/visiting…) not moving until the audible alarm, designed for the partially sighted or blind, went off!

So, we have got to the point that the fixation is such that we longer use our eyes to traverse across this crust because the great wisdom being imparted is more important. Pathetic.

In a similar vein, I am a member of several groups on Facebook (I am sure that there are people sneering at the mere mention of the word who think that both it and me are so passe – doubtless they are right but I treat them with the same disdain that I aim at individuals (or groups, I’m not restricted in these matters) who think, or thought, Vivenne Westwood is, or was, anything but crap and that I should be on Instagram or…I don’t know, something else, trust me I have enough trouble dealing with the stream of nonsense on Facebook without contemplating anything else).

The reason I make this point is that the questions asked are mind-numbing – are there any restaurants open in Windsor (this is at about 2:00pm)? Is there anything going on today? Any suggestions for a winter holiday?…in fact the sort of questions someone who would wait for the audible alert on a pedestrian crossing rather than tear their eyes away from the phone would ask (it has suddenly clicked why all these zombie films and programmes have become so popular!)!

I am waiting for ‘the sun has gone in should I get my washing off the line?’ Or ‘I have had the pizza in the oven for the specified ten minutes but I think it should be slightly browner, should I put it back in the oven?’

Suffice to say, I am not expecting any asking the meaning of life!

The problem I have is in controlling myself not to post ridiculous comments also!

The piece de resistance in all of this was a couple of weeks ago when a guy put a picture of a double bed on the site, saying that he had two of them, completely dismantled in pristine nick, free if collected (it’s a local site where people make recommendations and do stuff like this locally, so generally a nice idea and useful, which is why I exercise self-control), he must have had about ten sets of questions ranging from what size it is to, and I kid you not, what type of slats it had in it (this being the FREE bed he is giving away), all of which he patiently answered. I couldn’t resist it, the bed was one of these leather padded jobbies so I asked him what type of grain the leather was as I would only be interested in it if it matched my new leather slippers…he thought it was hysterical, I’m not sure anyone else realised it was a joke.

The ageing process, the one thing it seems we can’t do too much about, begins the second that we are born, In some of us it’s a slow, almost unapparent process (I have a friend who must have been in his late twenties when I first started playing rugby at Windsor Rugby Club as a mere 16 year old who looks the same age now), with me it has always seemed accelerated, served in pubs at 14 (not that I advocate under-aged drinking children, I was in there for special medicine) even though I was a terminal shortarse,  had serious hair loss in the late twenties (and of course every part of my body is now covered in hair the like of which a bear would be proud of, except my barnet, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank Marino and Joe in particular for fastidiously cutting the hair out of my ears and nostrils, thus ensuring that if I go anywhere that there is a naked flame I become a fire hazard unless I have strimmed prior to going out) and the body profile of Daniel Lambert (look him up).

The other thing about ageing is that people die. As we all know, 2016 has been a particularly harsh year for this concerning people that we are all familiar with and because of the age I and my peers have lived through (and are living through) we are all far more familiar with people, who influence us and in a way form part of our lives, than people ever were previously.

One of the great sporting icons of the 20th Century was Arnold Palmer, who was to golf really what Muhammad Ali was to boxing. He massively popularised it as TV became prevalent in every day lives and reaped the commercial benefits of both his ability, success and personality and was known as ‘The King’ in golf circles.

At the age of 51 I am too young (not often I get to say this these days!) to remember him as a leading player, but when setting out on a sales career in the ’80s, one of the first ever training videos I saw featured ‘Arnie’ and used his approach to life as an example of the way forward. Now I am neither so stupid or naive to believe that this wasn’t embellished (embellished, what a word! It rolls around the tongue like a fine wine, but there is a problem with it when you have a bizarre mind like mine that is forever flying off at a tangent – I cannot hear it, read it or see it without thinking about DC/DS Rycott from ‘Minder’ who had an assistant called DC Melish and the way he used to utter the latter’s name with utter disdain and malevolence – I know it really is a basket of snakes!). However, (sorry to interrupt again but I can’t start a sentence with ‘however’ without thinking about Mr Hall, my old English teacher and the violent reaction it used to induce in him…not sure that he ever worked out that the first time he went nuts with a red pen over it compelled me to ensure that I NEVER handed in an essay to him again where it didn’t feature at least once…little victories that help the day along, I wonder what he would make of texting and the works of Irvine Welsh? He wasn’t actually that old, I imagine him curled up in a ball, gibbering and clenching and unclenching his fists in the corner of a staff room somewhere) the training video featured a poem by Walter D. Wintle (it wasn’t portrayed as such but that’s who wrote it) that the great man used as his philosophy in life and at the risk of appearing a bit mawkish I reproduce it below, as, forget selling, I think it’s true…


“If you think you are beaten, you are

If you think you dare not, you don’t

If you’d like to win, but you think you can’t

It’s almost certain  you won’t.


If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost

For out in the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will

It’s all in the state of mind


If you think you are outclassed, you are

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize


Life’s battle don’t always go,

To the stronger or faster man,

But sooner or late, the man who wins

Is the man WHO THINKS HE CAN!”


Author : Walter D. Wintle


I suppose that banal PCists would insist on it being ‘person’ not ‘man’ these days but I think, and I don’t want anyone to lose any sleep over this, that rather than leap to the conclusion that old Walt was a raving misogonyst, he is probably referring to ‘man’ in the context of ‘mankind’ (or is it ‘personkind’? No, HP spellcheck is still not ‘aving it!), though as he was reputed to have lived between the late nineteenth and early twentieth century he may well have been disparaging about birds (YES, I AM WINDING YOU UP!!!!!!).