'I love to watch things on TV.' - Lou Reed
Every night, when he got home, he would tell the television about his day. Afterwards, he would sit down and watch the television until it was time to go to sleep. Things went on this way for many months.
            One night, however, he was a little later than usual coming home. He was angry. I have had a bad day, he said to the television. I am angry.
            In fact, he was so angry that when the television didn't say anything he became even angrier, even though, most of the time, what he liked best about the television was that it never answered back when he spoke. He kicked the television screen. When nothing happened he kicked it again.
            The next morning the man at the television repair shop said the television was beyond repair. The man ate lunch. By mid-afternoon he had bought another television. He was slightly disappointed because it did not look the same as the previous one, but when he got it home he found it could do all the things his previous television had done, including break when, some months later, he kicked it.


People look at you funny when you're male and you sit in the park and have a picnic all by yourself and no one else comes. People look at you funny and are suspicious or feel sad for you somehow like they want to invite you to join them because what if it was them sat on a blanket made for more than one but then maybe they should be suspicious and anyway little Humphrey needs to get home for his piano lesson and they might think about you again later, just briefly, over supper, see your face again just for a moment and remember.


Even barbed wire has its tender moments. It is, you might say, what it was cut out for.


Although it seems as if something has happened because it has it also hasn't because although what happens is something that has been happening all along although I did not know it until what happened reminded me of what I had forgotten was happening because it had been happening so often it was unfamiliar to me to the point that it would have only been by not happening that I would have known something had happened, if you know what I mean.



What worries me is less what I said to you than how at the time I didn't think what I said was unreasonable. I was irritable because although I had an important deadline looming I found myself easily distracted and spent much time doing things other than the ones I was supposed to be doing, and because I had not yet heard about a job application I had sent and was anxious about not knowing what I would be doing or where I would be doing it, if anything at all, in a few months time. I had convinced myself that if, to the exclusion of all else, I was diligently focussed on the tasks at hand I would accomplish what it was I was supposed to accomplish. It wasn't a large thing you asked me to do and I could have done it easily and quickly but because I had convinced myself that the only way to accomplish what it was I was supposed to accomplish was to focus on the task at hand to the exclusion of all else, when you asked me to do that thing I snapped and said something unkind and incorrect. I was aware I had upset you but because I was feeling stubborn and irritable I said it again and pushed you out of the room. Later, sitting at my desk and thinking about the work I had to do but was having difficulty doing, I heard the door slam. In a way, what worries me now has less to do with what I said to you, although that does worry me quite a bit, than the way, at the time, I didn't think what I said or what I did was unreasonable. What strikes me now is that if, thinking about it later, I can recognise that what I said was unkind and inaccurate, then when I said it I cannot have been thinking about what I said at all. This makes me worry because the work that I am finishing and the job I am hoping to hear about both require me to speak what I think. What worries me more, however, is that, even though you are no longer here and there is no one to ask me to do things I could do but do not wish to do, I am not working but still thinking about what you asked me to do and which I didn't want to do, what I said to you in response, and whether when I was speaking I was no longer thinking or whether, when I spoke I did so without thinking and if this was the case how was it possible to: a). speak without thinking and b). think about what you said without thinking later and for much time afterwards.

    Nikolai Duffy 2012