The International Writers Magazine: Life of a Diplomat - Dairy
DIARIES PART I
The sparkle of life
James Skinner - The Honary
The Sparkle of life
I was going
to start this series with some sort of a jovial note such as my experience
as a representative of HMs government, in dealing with a British
citizen who couldnt find his cats papers to return to the
UK after a holiday on the beach. Or the case of a religious pilgrim
en route to the St. James shrine in Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
who decided to become a monk leaving a frantic wife and three children
back home to fend for themselves. But along came Tsunami and blew a
hole in my mind. The tragedy in Southeast Asia is beyond description
and the vast amount of coverage in every possible means of communication
the world over has said it all. There was no way, therefore, that I
could summon up my writing prowess to render an essay based on humour
when so much natural carnage and destruction was and is
continuing to take place because a sector of the ocean bed somewhere
on this planet decided to move part of its carcass.
No Sir, I am neither going to elaborate on any funnies nor break down
over the millions both dead, wounded and homeless thousands of miles
away from this computer. Instead I shall focus on us humans, every single
on of us, including those still out there surrounding the Indian Ocean.
Us mortals that are born with the innocence of breathing yet immediately
left to the mercy of the Lord as he guides us to our final day of reckoning.
He is however, cruel. The moment we leave the womb we are injected with
the sparkle of life. That first ignition that sets the heart
pumping and the brain in motion. Within seconds both unite to guide
us on the long journey of pain and happiness, disillusion and hope,
suffering and rejoicing and finally surrender to the inevitable. The
sparkle is shut off forever. There are times, though, when that sparkle
jolts to a halt and the heart continues pumping or gradually fades away
until there is nothing left, except the heart continuing to pump. The
Lord is cruel. He has given us a uniform body and soul but not always
the oil to lubricate and maintain them. The Lord is cruel! Ive
seen it over and over again.
Think of the young mother with six children in downtown Baghdad, getting
ready to walk to the shop to buy her daily bread. In walks
a group of aliens from out of space. They order her to lie down with
her, by now, screaming children and then proceed to destroy her home.
That tiny sparkle that guided her towards the door in the first place
was completely shut off. The expression on her face would tell it all.
The smile turns to utter despair.
Then there is the elderly couple that visit the doctor for a routine
check in a more civilized part of the world. They are about to retire
after a life of hard work. He looks at them with a solemn face and says
to the husband, Im sorry to inform you but you have a terminal
illness. You have about three to six months left. The smile disappears.
The tears appear. The sparkle vanishes.
The final downside, however is what I consider the in between
disruption. You wake up one morning and find youve lost the sense
of feeling in your right arm. You were about to go down to the wharf
to check your twelve footer for fuel before setting off with the lads
for a days fishing. Youd been thinking all evening about
the dozen or so mackerel youd be bringing your wife home for dinner.
The weather forecast was good. John and Fred had checked the diesel.
And then bang! You cant raise your arm to wash your teeth. A mild
stroke, just a mild one mind you, has suddenly left you impaired for
the rest of your life. Hell, man that bloody sparkle doesnt just
stop. It begins to erode and melt away slowly, slowly, and slowly. Days
go by, the doctors have stopped you from dying out right but youre
left without joy. John and Fred sympathise but they can still bring
back the mackerel. Youre stuck the watching the Muppet Show replays.
But cheer up my friends. Here comes your friendly Consul. Yes Sir, I
have occasionally pulled out the plug adjuster and re-ignited the sparkle.
Give you and example. I get a call from the police station. A distressed
Brit has just lost or had his passport stolen. He wants to go back home
but has no documents. I go down to the nick. Dont
worry, Sir, I say. Can you tell me your full name, where
you were born and the date. You can see the first signs of the
sparkle coming to life. An hour later, his personal details and verified
and I issue him with an Emergency Passport. There you are, Sir.
Its only valid for to return home, but dont worry, when
you get back, the Passport Office will issue you with a new one. Have
a good journey. The sparkle is right back on track.
Or how about another even sweeter case. A Brit on holiday is suddenly
taken ill and put in hospital. Cant speak the language. Doesnt
know whats wrong with him or why the doctors are sticking needles
into him and making him swallow a multitude of weird pills. Good
morning, Sir. Hows the weather treating you then? Out come
the smiles and the, thank God youre English. Within
seconds the sparkle has started a slow recovery. Dont worry,
Sir. Good bunch of quacks theyve got in this place. Youll
be out of here in no time and back to Manchester. By the way,
I had checked that the guy was OK and on the road to recovery. Otherwise
the approach would be different and not printable in this essay.
But I must end on a sad note. Old age. Despite the ups and downs of
what I consider sudden sparkle there is nothing worse than
to see the slow creeping breakdown of the sparkle of life
as humans grow old. Bit by bit the whole bloody system begins to deteriorate.
Out come the memories, one by one. Out come the minute obstacles that
hamper every day survival. Cant read the newspaper too well. Cant
run for the bus as its about to leave. Cant smile at a young
women or man because all they see is a old wreck. Forgot the name of
your best friend as you pick up the phone to call him. Why does the
young generation act so differently? Why cant they speak the same
language? Rock music, whats that? The look in the eyes say it
And so it goes on for ever. The Lord is cruel. Hes watching all
this. Doesnt matter who or where you are. Thailand, Spain, Argentina,
North Dakota or Bermuda, its all the same. The eternal mystery
of why we all have a sparkle of life and why the Lord is
cruel will continue.
© James Skinner. January 2005.
This is a new series from James and will be continued
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