I saw funny side of ban­ter let­ter

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

AN OPEN let­ter to Mr Stu­art Bar­ton (aged 71), in re­sponse to an open let­ter to me last month re­gard­ing my mid-life cri­sis: Dear Stu­art, Lit­er­a­ture is an amaz­ing medium and one that I have thor­oughly em­braced since be­ing given the op­por­tu­nity by my friends at the Ken­tish Ex­press. I know that you more than any­body will ap­pre­ci­ate this as I have been made aware that you are in­deed a very tal­ented au­thor with nu­mer­ous pub­li­ca­tions tucked un­der your very gifted belt. The one thing that I find more dif­fi­cult than any­thing else to get across in the art of the scribe is irony or tongue-in-cheek­ness. When I set out on my “award-winning piece” on the tri­als and tribu­la­tions of be­ing in my mid-40s, it was cer­tainly meant to have an el­e­ment of the afore­men­tioned tongue-incheek about it. I had an in­cred­i­ble re­sponse to this piece and was in­un­dated with let­ters and stopped in the street on many oc­ca­sions by peo­ple who could re­late to my many foibles, idio­syn­cra­sies and quirks that en­ve­lope your soul at this par­tic­u­lar junc­ture in our jour­ney through life. I must at this stage point out that I have far from thrown in the towel and I am en­joy­ing my 40s with great rel­ish, and at­tack ev­ery day with more vigour than ever be­fore (which is prob­a­bly why I doze a lot more, some­thing I ne­glected to add to my pre­vi­ous list), even though my mem­ory isn’t what it once was and be­comes eas­ily be­fud­dled. I have to ad­mit that when I started to read your let­ter, I thought that per­haps you too had missed my point and the mo­ment wasted. That was, of course, un­til I reached the end of your beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted let­ter and that you had sucked me into a false sense of in­se­cu­rity and was merely hav­ing some ban­ter at my ex­pense. I have of course seen you since, and al­though we still have not shared the li­ba­tion that you promised, we did have a lit­tle chuckle about the whole af­fair. Un­for­tu­nately, not ev­ery­body shared my amuse­ment and rushed to my de­fence – for which I was, and am still, very grate­ful. But I can’t bear the idea of you be­ing lam­basted for some­thing that cer­tainly wasn’t in­tended to hurt or cause of­fence as I hold you in great es­teem and hope I can reach my 70s with the same grace and deco­rum that you so ob­vi­ously have. I love the way you re­ferred to my self im­posed mid-life cri­sis as more of a be­reave­ment for my ado­les­cence – oh so true, I’m afraid. I’m sure the griev­ing process will con­tinue for some years yet, but I’m de­ter­mined not to let life pass me by whilst be­ing in a per­ma­nent state of sulk. Life is for liv­ing, Stu­art, you have made me re­alise this and I thank you pro­fusely. And with that in mind and if the of­fer of that pint is still up for grabs, I say let’s up the ante. We’ll make it a meal and a bot­tle of re­spectable vin­tage wine (no Beau­jo­lais nou­veau here) of your choice and the bill is picked up by the loser of our best of five sets ten­nis match. John Web­ster, aged 45

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