GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XLI)


When you’ve been flying solo in your public life as long as I have you learn to be self-reliant. You not only look after number one but expect number one to look after you too: you expect the public persona as a man of business, an achiever in a competitive world, a well-connected man, to come to the rescue when the private man is subjected to second thoughts and even blacker moods. Negative feelings never keep me down for long, but that time when I felt depressed – for a day or so when it looked as though we might not be able to purchase the mine in PNG after the Australian Greens called for a Senate inquiry into the behaviour of the firm I represented[1] – I came through armed with a thought that always makes me feel better: losing is for losers.

I have my own way of doing things, and when I do things my way they usually come out right. The song “My Way” could have been written about me[2], or by me (if I’d ever written songs), and I still have a very similar attitude when it comes to events of the past. If you can’t change it, let it go, and go on to the next deal. Make sure your hair looks great and your suit is sitting right and keep walking. Always focus on winning. Or as Paul Anka wrote, and Frank Sinatra sang:

Regrets, I’ve had a few,

But then again too few to mention

There are a few subjects I had intended to cover during this year but simply never got around to it. A pang of sadness is felt as I recall some of these columns which never made it: there was to be something about what it’s like to get older and lose one’s sense of direction; advice about how to behave at a real estate agent’s property viewing, with some ideas about renting and how to get on with your landlord; reflections on my own health after a bit of a scare, mid-year, and some time in hospital; advice to the young about how to live well in order to be a content senior citizen; advice for the lovelorn and hopelessly unsuccessful romantics; thoughts on the nature of addiction following my participation in Dry July; more thoughts about causes where people give something up or do something unusual, which take place over a day or longer period; and a list of all the things which have been really annoying me lately.

But regrets? No, not really. Non, je ne regrette rien as another song goes. The list above is bogus. My sense of direction is fine and I drive just fine (too fast, to be honest); I have very little interest in the rental market, except for making money out of it; I have had no health scare; I have always been successful romantically so it frankly doesn’t concern me whether others have trouble in this area or not; the thought of missing out on a glass (or three) of Penfold’s Yattarna Chardonnay at the end of the day fills me with horror, so I’m unlikely to stop imbibing any time soon; and I think that days and months with hilarious puns in the title are as alienating to me as those reprobates who harass you on the street because they are collecting for a charity of some sort, and they’re always English, and backpackers, and they won’t leave you alone because they operate on a commission or they are thinking of picking your pocket later.

Actually the list of things which annoy me is appealing – it’s a shame I didn’t do that. Next year perhaps.

[1] I was identified only as a lawyer from Sydney in the report of this inquiry, which was irksome, as some sort of public credit for “the most breathtakingly devious land deal ever put together by an Australian enterprise in PNG” was earned, I felt.

[2] My wife says that the song “You’re So Vain” was written about me. She’s joking, of course. It doesn’t do me justice.

Published in: on November 19, 2012 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

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