Ben’s World: Keeping a clear head during an existential crisis

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Content editor Ben Raza’s monthly column

I was in the pub with some of my buddies last week. We were talking about our school days.

There are things that I look back upon from my younger days that make me reflect upon how awesome I was. Also, there’s stuff that I look back upon that makes me think that I was a bit of a doofus. Or worse - that I wasn’t that nice of a person (just occasionally, but still).

And, worst of all, there’s stuff that makes me look back and realise that I had said some really, pitiful things to women. Really, really rubbish.

And then I realise that I am still a bit rubbish with women sometimes. Which, curiously, cheers me up a bit. Because I’ve dated some awesome ladies, so perhaps I must be so devastatingly handsome that even my own ineptitude cannot put them off.

And if I am optimistic in a slightly different way, then maybe I wasn’t so inept after all.

There might be a pessimistic way of looking at this. I haven’t found it yet.

> That’s what we all are though - we’re the sum total of everything we’ve ever done, or said or thought.

The rubbish stuff, the stupid stuff, it all adds up to make the person we are today.

And, as I quite like myself, I can’t be too mad over that terrible attempt to chat up girls when I was 12, or the idiotic things I did while drunk at university. My toes might curl up when I remember, and I may want to slap past-version-of-me around the head, but I forgive him.

Because if I don’t then what is there?

> All of which was already going around in my head when someone started reminiscing about a girl we went to school with: Joanne.

You won’t know who Joanne is because, well, you’re not me.

But the thing is that I didn’t know who Joanne was.

I haven’t seen Joanne in years. Probably. Or maybe I have. Because how do you know if you haven’t seen someone you don’t know?

But much worse, I spent years going to school with this girl. And now... pffft. Nothing.

So what am I, if my memories aren’t fixed? Am I me? Who is ‘me’?

Going to the pub and existential crises don’t mix well.

And then: “Oh no, I’ve got her name wrong. It was Joanna.”

Yes! I remember her!

Crisis over.

> Thanks to one reader from Kempston, who wrote in this week to let me know his thoughts about the T&C.

It was nice of him to drop us a line. And his closing sentence of “Keep trying!” was, I am sure, not meant to be patronising.

Sadly, he managed to misspell the word “grammer” in the first sentence of his letter.

Thanks any way. Keep trying!