I have a number of ambitions that could well be filed under ‘strange’. I want to learn to drive a bus. I don’t remember when I first thought this, and I have no idea what motivated me in the first place, but it’s something I’d love to do. The second part of that dream would be to buy an ex-tour bus (one of those customised ones that bands use) and then head off into the sunset. Of course, that is dependent on achieving another of my ambitions – winning the Lottery.
Among my sporting ambitions is a desire to attend the darts world championship – the one that Sky Sports screen every Christmas with that catchy tune after every game. I see myself dancing along to it while holding a piece of card on which I’ve written ‘MAKE MINE A DOUBLE!’
Another sporting dream is to attend the Subbuteo World Cup. I just missed this year’s tournament, which was held in Italy in July, but it’s set to be held in Greece next year, and I am tempted to go, depending on whether Greece still exists by then.
And it is also my ambition to have my obituary written in the Daily Telegraph. That’s not as morbid as it sounds. It just means that I will have lived an extraordinary, unusual or eventful life; I’m still waiting for all of that to start, however.
The Daily Telegraph is an excellent newspaper. It is on the right of the political spectrum but if you know where they’re coming from on a number of issues, then you’re less likely to believe or agree with everything they write. First and foremost, I think the standard of writing in superb, better than any other newspaper in this country, and, for me, the jewel in that journalism crown in their Obituary page.
It might be a sign of growing old that I enjoy reading it. I remember a former work colleague reading it about fifteen years ago – he was in his sixties and I had just turned 30 – so I thought it was a bit weird. Now I know why he was reading it.
There are some strange and wonderful characters in those pages, who have done strange and wonderful things. The most recent of those is Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, who died on October 5. He was the man who brought us the iMac, the iPod, iPhone and iPad. There products have had a profound impact on our lives and will continue to do so. More importantly to me, he was the man responsible for, among other cinematic gems, the Toy Story Trilogy, through his ownership and investment in Pixar. He ws only 56, an age which is within touching distance for me now, but what an extraordinary 56 years he had.
Just last week, there was an obituary for Arch West. Who? He was only the man who invented Doritos, for goodness sake. I mean, how good is that? If you only do one great thing in your life, you can’t get much better than inventing Doritos.
A couple of days later, I read about Ralph Lomma. He had, along with brother, revived the mini-golf industry in the United States, and then took it to the rest of the world. We have him to thank for the crazy golf we all love today.
The Telegraph’s obituary page features military heroes, politicians, musicians, scientists and many, many others from all walks of life. However, my favourite of recent months was mountaineer, Chris Dale. The headline stated that Chris, who had died age 49, ‘…was a 6ft 6in mountaineer with a passion for solo climbs among the hardest peaks of Scotland, Wales and the Alps. He was also an equally enthusiastic cross-dresser who went by the name of Crystal.’
I realise that it’s unlikely that my name will ever appear in the Daily Telegraph’s obituary page, and even if it did, I’m hoping that it will be a long time in the future. To do so, I will have to get a move on and do something extraordinary! I actually sat for ages last night thinking of something I could invent but my mind remained blank.
However, while I might harbour thoughts of living a life less ordinary, I’ve always believed that most people will be remembered for who they are rather than what they are, and I think that’s the best way to be. The things that really matter are the family and friends we have, and the way we act towards other people. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily make for an interesting obituary.
And just for the record, I have not invented any crisps or other related snacks; I have no idea how computers work, or any technology for that matter; I don’t climb mountains and I don’t wear dresses. I do like crazy golf.
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