Omphaloskepsis beckons by Trevor Plumbly
Recently, I’ve been having trouble filling my days, so I’ve taken to exploring the oddities of life and seeking internal inspiration. Though I’ve always lusted after an enquiring mind, I’ve never really had time to develop one, but now I’m retired, off the morphine and three parts blind, I’m determined to have a crack at deeper thought.
Those who practise omphaloskepsis seem deeper thinkers than the playwrights and poets everyone raves about who just scribble away and come up with heaps of stuff during their lifetime, but only a few snippets survive to get quoted down the track. Look at Shakespeare and Robbie Burns: we all spout the odd line to show off, but who the hell remembers the whole lot? I don’t have the years left to pen screeds of insightful outpourings, but after some thought I felt that the best place to start would be navel-gazing. As a kid, I read somewhere that some of those guys spend years gazing at their navel before uttering something so profound that even their mates can’t understand it.
In the hope of expanding my mind, I decided navel-gazing was worth a bash, as a sort of pre-natal pudding chute, the navel’s got to have some significance in later life, right? Problem number one occurred when I discovered that fast food and countless pints of wallop have produced a sort of overhang that makes the old belly button a bit difficult to spot from above while craning over caused neck pains rather than transportation to a higher mindset. Logic suggested that a well sited mirror would help; I dismissed doubts that the harmonic force might be weakened by indirect travel and propped the mirror on the opposite chair. Problems two and three arrived almost instantly. I had envisioned myself pensively leaning back, absorbing moral inspiration from the mirrored image, but my eyesight prevented that luxury and I had to do a sort of sideways, downwards squiggle to maintain the view; sadly this also failed. Firstly my breath clouded the mirror, causing what I could only assume to be a transcendental fog; anxious to assist it I leant closer, which resulted in sickening vertigo and back pain.
A higher plane
Physical discomfort and the risk of discovery finally caused me to abandon the umbilical path to profundity (I was investigating for a blog love, honest!). Research was the answer, so I googled ‘the wisest words’, which only served to confuse. It was all there from Diogenes to G. Bush Senior. Problem was it was all a bit naff. Blokes like me who’ve covered a few miles and copped the odd dent need something a bit snappier than ‘All the world’s a stage’ to get us through. Tired and frustrated, I decided on a drink break. Problem four was waiting for me: no beer! Repeated searches failed miserably, until, in an act of total desperation, I searched the vegetable drawer. Hiding under all the things I don’t eat nestled a lone bottle of Beck’s beer. Clutching the frosted gem, I retired to the porch and contemplated my day. Navel-gazing is not really me, but it did fill a day and caused me to reflect on deep thinking. I raised the glass to dear old Micawber’s philosophy, ‘Something will always turn up’. That’s what I call wisdom.