Tony Allen: And finally ... Is living worth the risk?

Jul 02 | 2020

If you were to spend your life living in a padded cell, you’d probably never break a leg, or for that matter never get run over by a bus. But would such a life really be worth living?

It’s an interesting conundrum, and I don’t want to get too philosophical here, but there is more to life than just seeking to endure for the maximum number of years. ‘Time’ is a man-made invention and we let it rule our lives. The master is ruled by the servant and, in order to achieve maximum longevity, we seek to eschew all risks to the extent that we also avoid a whole lot of pleasure.

As a result of the ongoing virus crisis which still has a way to go, the vast majority of us have been living in our own little padded cells - quite apposite I hear you say - seeking to remove ourselves from all risks. Even though Mrs A and I have been matrimonially involved for many years, this lockdown experience has been a novel one where time has played an important part. For example, the sheer joy of making the bed together at 10am and coffee and crossword at 11am. The highlight of our week being the arrival of the delivery of groceries from the local supermarket on a Monday.

But … and I would remind you of my late Father’s inebriate and oft repeated comment at Christmas time: “What’s it all about?” … initially this new existence was almost exhilarating as long as the wider family and friends were keeping safe. Of course, there were some problems. Maybe I shouldn’t have suggested that we rearrange the kitchen cupboards for maximum efficiency and I’m wondering how to advocate my new method of changing the pillowcases. I would suggest that this was possibly the closest I’ve got yet to introducing an element of risk into my new life.

Like all of you, we are now gradually being allowed a degree of change in our routine as the lockdown is slackened. This of course, and here I come back to my original point, means that there is a trade-off between an increased degree of risk and our need for enhanced life fulfilment.  We could naturally avoid risk if we just simply stayed indoors forever, awaiting the arrival of the weekly groceries.

It’s quite possible to assume that we had become too cosy in our pre-virus lives and maybe it does us no harm to be reminded of the fact that life, when lived, always involves a certain degree of risk. I would add that sometimes it seems that the major risk people face these days is that of being offended by somebody saying something that they don’t agree with!

So how will our lives change? Have we all learnt how important our local shops are and how we must support them as an essential element within our community? I’d like to think so, but alas I think that we’ll soon return to our old ways.

One thing that we must get used to is the heightened act of queuing - and fortunately we are quite adept at this as a nation and at the moment it seems to be rather a good-natured experience. Although I wonder how things will evolve as autumn and winter kicks in?

And talking about kicking in, I’m not sure that I enjoy spectatorless sport very much. It seems to me that sport has a tribal aspect to it and that the roar of the crowd has a very important part to play. Although thinking in terms of our local team, they are quite used to playing in a spectatorless environment anyway.

One piece of good news is that hairdressers will be opening in the near future. My hair is getting so long that recently I even thought about cutting it myself but in the end, I decided to sit on it.

So, there we are, life has always involved a degree of risk and pandemics always make an appearance every now and again. We are only here because previous generations of our families have managed to survive them, so let’s be thankful that the vast majority of us have made it this far.

And talking of risk, we’re just about to change the pillowcases, so wish me luck!