When I fired-up my trusty laptop this morning, I was really hot to trot, or rather to write some of my customary rot, but then the hotter and more humid the weather got, and the hazier the air, and the more drops of sweat started dripping from my brow onto the keyboard, the colder I got about keeping working.
But, as you see, I’ve warmed to the task again, thanks to a flash of inspiration sparked by the word ‘fire’, which, in one or another of its meanings or metaphorical contexts, seems literally or figuratively fitting to to apply to many of both the word’s and my own current affairs.
Most obviously for me and for my fellow Australians, especially those in the bush, fire is a fearsome fact of life, loss, devastation and death. And even those of us living in some bushfire-proof city, for which the traditional jokose slang term ‘big smoke’ has lately assumed choking reality, are in a fever of sadness for and sympathy with the victims of the fires, both human and animal, and even warmer than ever in our admiration for those out fighting the flames and their effects.
Every smoke-cloud has a silver lining, however, and in the case of the current bushfires, as I must apologise for having mentioned so many times as to have surely bored my non-Australian readers to tears, many of us down here are hoping that there’s far more than a sliver of a chance that they’ll prove to be the corrupt and incompetent Morrison government’s political funeral-pyre.
Out in the wider world the heat is on fire-wise too, of course, with US President Trump desperately striving to resist being impeached, or in other words fired from the presidency, by putting the heat on Iran and thus seek safety by in Dr Johnson’s declared ‘last resort of the scoundrel’, patriotism.
This move has proven a sure-fire success many times previously, of course, most notoriously in living memory when then UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, heated-up previously fast-cooling electoral support for herself and her Tory government by means of the so-called ‘Falklands War’.
But, as hard and hot-headedly as Trump is trying to turn a largely-hostile Washington into a Warshington of his own, and thus possibly prevent being fired, the Iranian theocrats have avoided meeting his fire with hellfire, even to the extent of ensuring that the missiles with which they responded either misfired or were intentionally misdirected.
Though they have found themselves under fire from Canada and many other countries that hotly suspect that they either deliberately or accidentally fired on and shot-down a civilian airliner as it departed Teheran Airport, killing all if its passengers and crew.
To turn from political heat to the more private, two female Facebook friends have both separately told me of their burning desires to write their life-stories.
Or rather one of them, inflamed with anger at her husband for abandoning her and her children in favour of another woman he got the hots for, tells me she’s keen to write her own story, and I’ve been encouraging her in this project as warmly as possible.
The other, much younger woman, has, from what little of it she’s told me, a far more searing life-history, as by all accounts she still bears the emotional scars of it in the form of PTSD, one of the symptoms of which is that she freezes with fear at the thought of sitting down to write about the experiences that caused it.
So what she was actually asking was whether I would write her story for her, or, in other words, be her ghost-writer.
Regretfully, however, I had to tell her that I was lukewarm at best about this prospect, for several red-hot reasons. Firstly, back during the three decades during which I was a self-perceived firebrand in advertising, I ghost-wrote so many ads and commercials on behalf of companies and their goods and services that the very thought of doing any more of it is so ghastly as to give me heartburn.
And secondly and even more chillingly, the fire in my belly, or brain, or some other part of my body may be on the point of burning-out
As my family doctor started suspecting some time ago, and as the thoracic surgeon she referred me to has agreed after seeing a series of scans, I have a lesion on my lung that may very well – or rather not at all well – be a tumor.
And, having spent the past 57 years of my life smoking cigarettes in defiance of all health warnings and doctors’ advice, I wouldn’t be at all surprised, and nor would I, or indeed could I, have anybody to get hot under the collar about but myself if it turns out to be lung cancer.
At the end of January I’m booked-in for a biopsy that should settle this most burning of my personal questions. But meanwhile, only yesterday, I had to go to the hospital for lung-function tests.
After a great deal of computer-monitored inhaling and exhaling, I was personally inspired by the evident fact that I’d at least passed the test for whether or not I’m at the point of expiring.But the technician very properly and professionally didn’t reveal any more specific results, and so I came away no wiser.
But nor was I then, or here and now, today, feeling particularly het-up about the situation. After all, as I’ve been consoling myself in an effort to keep my cool, I’ve had 77 years in which to live my life, and if I haven’t managed to do a half-way decent or thorough job of it by now, I really deserve to be terminated, or, if you prefer,fired.
Of course, despite my best efforts not to sweat about this event, I have to admit to feeling at least some degree of heat as to where and when it will happen, and of course how, be it by means of lung cancer or whatever else.
But at least I’m mercifully free of that most foolish, fatuous and outright flaming futile of burning questions facing the so-called ‘faithful’ at this time of life, which is whether they can look forward to an eternal stay in the presumably air-conned comfort of some non-existent ‘heaven’; or else an infinity in the blazing heat of some equally imaginary ‘hell’.