Pennies from heaven by Trevor Plumbly
‘Every time it rains’
It was one of those corny old songs I caught on the radio the other day and it struck me that one of the advantages of age is that you can afford to let others do their heads in worrying about the future of the planet. I’m not what I’d describe as smug about things, more calmly observant; it would be nice to report that I’ve achieved this semi-tranquil state by some form of self-discipline or religious experience but sadly, that’s not the case. Water on stone is the best way to describe how I’ve reached my current calm acceptance of the apocalypse everyone’s been threatening for years. Aided only by the support of my nearest and dearest, along with the odd slug of single malt, I’ve survived the London blitz, the polio epidemic, the British school system, the bomb threat, all manner of financial crises, climate change and, up to the time of writing, Covid 19.
‘Don’t you know each cloud contains’
There are all sorts of horrors just waiting for their turn to come down and have a go at us, according to the less cheerful amongst us. However, I don’t plan to stop breathing just yet; I find air pollution’s got far too complicated to worry about. Popular blame ranges from fossil fuel to cow farts, but there must be unrecorded muck as well, what about astronauts’ body waste? They take the raw material up with them, so it’s got to come down somewhere, right? I don’t know about you lot, but I don’t fancy the thought of inhaling that stuff in as well as all the other nasties. I’ve decided the ‘pennies from heaven’ philosophy is the best way to go.
‘When you hear it thunder, don’t run under a tree’
That says it all as far as I’m concerned; the world seems full of folk insisting that something’s going to whack us all sooner or later and, if that’s the case, sheltering’s not much of an option. I considered prayer, but, to be frank, it hasn’t worked that well in the past. Pessimism is the new religion: instead of celebrating successes, the faithful are more likely to leap up and down screaming for more. It’s not strictly a ‘poor’ thing: I remember a billionaire being asked how much money would satisfy him, he replied, ‘a little more’. Welcome to the modern age, where to borrow a slogan, ‘too much ain’t enough’. .
‘If you want the things you love…
You must have showers.’ And therein lies the key to today’s woes: when it comes to spreading the news there’s not much sunshine on offer; admittedly, even down here things are tough, with housing, poverty, inflation etc, but surely there’s got to be some good news somewhere!
Our leaders credit the bad stuff as part of an unwanted inheritance, while the opposition accuse them of doing nothing to clear up the bequest. That, and all manner of unsubstantiated tripe fed to Social Media (an oxymoron if ever I heard one), which, in turn, gets swallowed by those whose main perception of fact is that they ‘heard it on the radio’.
‘Sunshine and Showers’
Our problem is that we’ve become so addicted to gosh, gasp and conspiracy theories that we’re losing the ability to express ourselves independently. Ridicule is almost a lost art, but the odd gem still crops up: in the midst of the blood-letting in Britain we almost missed a classic, a one-liner levelled at Boris Johnson by Labour leader Keir Starmer, ‘It’s the first case I know of a sinking ship deserting the rats.’ Great stuff! Surely it’s time to dump the PC all weather raincoat attitude; we used to use humour to take the sting out of the heady stuff like religious differences, race and sexual preference, now we’ve got entire government departments dedicated to formulating our thoughts on such matters. It all looks pretty gloomy, but as dear old Mr Micawber once said, ‘Something will always turn up’, and it could be pennies from heaven, so be sure your umbrella’s upside down.