Perils of Being Overly Affable

“I’m glad you found it…… It’s awful when you can’t find a book!”

A well-meaning, yet idiosyncratic comment relayed last week by Mrs Strachan senior on hearing I’d managed to acquire a thus far elusive copy of the book ‘celebrating’ TV magazine show Sunday Brunch.

The above tome standing at number three on my son Jonathon’s birthday wish list. The holy grail I’d sought for two weeks; a search not aided by my wife incorrectly informing me the book title he’d requested was titled Saturday Kitchen. A hardback I also struggled to locate….. Although that was maybe due to the fact it doesn’t even exist!

The latter also a weekend morning show on UK TV. One of them broadcast before Saturday noon on BBC1, the other aired in a similar time slot on Channel 4…… Unless you’re Benny from Crossroads, I’m sure from the two titles you’ll be able to figure out which day each televisual offering is transmitted.


My mother’s verbal offering just another example of the quirky observations she makes to fill the gaps of conversational silence she’s appears to loath. An ingrained behavioural need to ensure those in her presence are comfortable, contented and are/or entertained.

A half century long quest, fed by notions that her or her offspring mustn’t be boring, disrespectful or offend anyone in any form (whether the individual deserved it or not). To class it as distasteful servility would be an excessively unfair reflection and criticism of such a wonderfully loving person. After all, she’s not got a bad bone in her body and nobody should ever be admonished for selflessness, generosity of spirit and behaving decently.

That being said, it’s a life strategy that in middle-age I’ve concluded to be deeply flawed. One of its major defects being it affords propitiations to individuals who were completely undeserving of that reverence. A truly idiotic path that also encourages it’s disciple to deliberate suppress capabilities so not to offend, patronise or belittle those less capable.

Sadly, an advocacy I unwittingly tapped into at times. Consequently, on occasion, acquiescing and giving unwarranted ‘centre stage’ to some absolute idiots. Instead choosing to stand quietly in the wings as understudy. Learning to my cost it was a comfort zone that wasn’t comfortable – Finding the periphery a place where fulfilment was an infrequent guest.

My silence resulting in later self admonishment, exacerbating the disenchantment manifesting from pursuit of an unwanted career path. This flawed strategy embraced to attain the financial wherewithal to provide for my family.

To clarify, I don’t for one moment begrudge providing for my family. I suppose, it’s just I’d have just liked acquiring a wage for undertaking roles I was more suited towards and weren’t shift based. Most importantly, employment the fulfilled me.

Anyhow, what’s done is done, most factors that’ve made my existence harder have been self-inflicted. These including my rudderless approach when initially seeking employment – Not pursuing a road where I could’ve maybe been able to utilise my creativity. Displeasure added to with a multitude of other misguided existential choices.

I blame no one for the errors of judgement I’ve made, and continue to make. I’m truly blessed to have had this caring, funny, intelligent, loving individual as my mum. The numerous positive behavioural traits she bequeathed my siblings and me far outweighing the more misguided bestowals.

To conclude, I thought I’d leave you with a few words from Francis Albert Sinatra. A soupçon of lyrics from the Paul Anka penned refrain mirroring some of my sentiments as I look back on my adult years……

“…….Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way…..”

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