Anniversaries are significant. Not just the personal rollcall of births, deaths and marriages where social convention dictates the buying of expensive flowers, but there are some moments in history that create a more seismic resonance on the skin of this planet. Who can forget the assassination of JFK, Leicester winning the Premier League, or the blue MDF fox from Changing Rooms in 1998?
A year ago I released my first tentative foray into what the trendies call blogging onto an unsuspecting and almost entirely uninterested world. Despite starting with high hopes of worldwide fame and untold riches, I am now battered into enough of a realism to suspect that the birth of ATRIED will not be taught to my boys in their History classes. Yet still hope remains that I have somehow left my mark on the world, even if it is a non-specific and persistent stain on its underbelly.
Is it possible that out there somewhere in the electronic ether somebody will one day say to their grandchildren “I remember the day I read the first blog of that weird chap who went round all the racecourses in eighty days”?
It is possible, but only in the sense that it is possible that there is somebody in a parallel universe writing this drivel simultaneously, who is about to be killed by an errant plane engine that has fallen through a wormhole (note – despite my eldest patiently explaining the plot of Donnie Darko to me on several occasions I still don’t understand it), but highly unlikely.
For most of us, our trials and tribulations, great ideas and poignant successes, opportunities missed and experienced gained, are ours alone to keep and cherish and fester upon, unhindered by the paparazzi of collective recognition.
But what does this milestone signify, other than I’ve now spent more than a year of my life in my ‘being a writer’ fantasy without any of those close to me being brave enough to slap me round the chops and tell me to get a grip on my life. Like most anniversaries, it is not just an opportunity for reflection on the year just gone, but a prompt for renewed optimism for the year ahead.
What happens next? This question is of such national significance that my local bookies has priced up the shortlist:-
6/4 Around The Irish Races In Eighty Days – an obvious favourite, given my liking for the people and their love of horse racing, but I found it tough being away from my family for almost three months, and significantly the acronym would not be quite as catchy as ATRIED
3/1 Around The Irish Races In Forty Days – a sensible alternative given the number of racecourses in Ireland, and it would need less time away from home, but it would result in a virtually unsayable acronym (unless you’re Welsh: “atirifd”) and happens to be impossible given their fixture list and the lack of flexibility with Laytown (yes, I have tried)
4/1 Around The Tourneys In Eighty Hours – switching to my other significant pastime of poker, and requiring only three and a half days in Las Vegas, which most visitors concur is about enough of the banality
8/1 The same as now (inertia is a powerful force)
16/1 Coming to my senses and finding proper employment
100/1 Losing my senses and going back to teaching