Whenever a great team splits up you wonder where all the members of that team went to. Where they gone? Where they be? Where they at? These are the questions on people lips when a great team splits up. And you know what? They are fair questions for real! You get to ask those questions, it’s a right, it is an inalienable right. 1st amendment! USA! Say what you like about the USA, but they sure know how to (get a British guy to) write a constitution.
A great philosopher with the eyes of a slow, docile old man who speaks with the voice of Alan Bennett
It all leaves you wondering: when a great team of Hake fishermen and women break up, when they hang up their overalls, when they retire their fishing knives, when they leave the big blue soup, the large water pile, the wet world west, the blue deepness, the sea, what do they do? Where do they go? Where? Once the great masters of the sea return to the land, do they wither? It can happen you know…
Both my grandfathers couldn’t take life on the land, they didn’t have the skills, they couldn’t adjust, they drank themselves into an early grave. It’s an easy thing to do. It’s what happens when you put all of yourself into something that you might not do forever. It’s Lieutenant Dan.
Lieutenant Dan wanted to die out there on the battle field. All his pappies had died out there on the battle field. It gave them a clean end to their story. But Lieutenant Dan’s was messy, he was crippled, he was depressed, he became an alcoholic. Even without being physically crippled, the story of depression and alcoholism is a very familiar one amongst veterans. Whilst there are specific reasons to veterans it is also common amongst a whole host of people who dedicated a lot of themselves and a lot of their time and their lives to a job that separated them from their family and, too some extent, common society. They become institutionalised and do not have to tools to survive. This feeling is compounded by the fact that in the environment they used to live in they where masters of the tools to survive, they were respected, they were skilled, they were proud. But no more.
So what am I? I have worked for years installing and maintaining conservatories. I put them up, I take them down, I mess them around. People like conservatories, people are often very grateful for the work I do. Recently I had been replacing conservatory roofs all day and the family whose house I’d been working on came out and gave me a tea and a slice of toast and we stood and shared it and it was a really beautiful moment. It was calm, it was pleasant, we had some nice chat. I finished the job on the conservatory and I went home, I told my wife about the day, it was fine. She told me about hers. I live a nice life, a life I’m happy with. That’s the truth. I’m pretty sure when I retire I wont have to devolve into depression and alcoholism because my home life is already a big part of my life. I haven’t made my life all about my work, that was my decision. It was a good decision.