I think that is it.
A fifty egg challenge! That’s what is needed just to show them that you can do it. Can you still eat fifty eggs in one sitting? Can you eat them until you are fit to burst and then keep them down?
No siree, Boss.
Even Cool Hand Luke is dead these days. At some point, he must have got old. His egg-eating days must have tailed off. His smile, in the face of overbearing authority, must have slackened. He must have given in.
Hay days, salad days, younger days and Golden Ages, come and go. There is a point in our lives when things change. The daily battle to establish our own ground, subsides. We accept a stalemate, an uneasy truce, but, as each day passes, should we move away from the days without end and into sunsets?
I have a memory. Our wedding day, two decades ago. It was Valentine’s Day, a ridiculously sunny February 14th. Daffodils were breaking loose all over over the landscape. The landscape was beautiful, the Yorkshire Dales. We had been together for many years before this and had become doting parents to our eldest daughter. She cried at the wedding service. On the way back from the registry-office, we, Mum, baby daughter and me, stopped to toast our good fortune.
We sat outside of a wonderful pub, beneath Kilnsey Cragg and watched the world and our wedding guests drive by. We played Supergrass, ‘We are young, we are free’ and promised ourselves that nothing would change us. We promised ourselves that this day would lay the foundations for the ones to come. We toasted to ourselves. Our baby daughter cried.
Last night, at half-past two, my wife’s phone sounded. We were struck from sleep with the bleary realisation that we had been moved from our slumber. It was our eldest daughter. She was crying.
Her tears were for the end of a relationship. She was in France and was now alone. My wife listened. I listened on loud-speaker. We both tried to give some words of support as our eldest narrated the story of the separation. Her boyfriend had been a central part of her life for over two years and there was no doubting their love for each other. But sometimes love can be too strong and suffocating. Reluctantly, they had chosen to split.
And there I was with my wife in bed next to me. The autumnal equinox had just passed. The leaves were changing and the flowers had wilted. I was sad for our eldest. I was sad for her boyfriend. I was sad that life changes. Golden Ages do not last forever. They come as unexpected visitors, blossom wildly for a while and then disappear. They stay only as a distant memory that tells us that there was, there is, something that is worth fighting for.
Times turn bad at times. Sometimes, it seems as if the whole world has set itself against you and that there is no hope of sun. You walk beneath this canopy of clouds that turn the day to twilight and the morning to dusk. When those times come, it seems as if the Golden Age had never existed, that it was all just a dream; or a lie. At these times, we have a choice: stay put or move on.
Those that stay will spend their years looking back towards the horizon from which they have come and wait forever hoping. They will wait for the past to come for them again, to apologise for not keeping constant companionship; for its passing.
Those who move on have a chance of finding new places and fresh dawns.
I was never Cool or Luke.