When I was a younger man I loved a fight. I think that my puerile dedication to that peculiarity of mine was born on the Rugby pitch after hearing my Headmaster describe it as “a ruffians game played my gentlemen.” I adored tackling and was fearless with never a thought of injury to myself. In regular time at school I was to those, that were bullied, their own private avenger. I welcomed it all, believing that I was omnipotent and set upon this earth as an avenging angel. This characteristic followed me into later life. The more confrontational the situation the better I felt. On leaving the Police Force I became the Owner of a Mini-Cab (private hire) business near Surrey Docks in South East London. One night I received a phone call requiring my urgent appearance, as there was a local ‘face’ inside the office threatening everyone with a gun. As a consequence of the actions that I took, a few nights later when I was alone, three of the friends of that man attacked me and as I lay beneath the beating that I was taking, I laughed. I knew what I was going to do, later, to them. In essence I loved myself. I was Achilles reincarnated. Five years ago I experienced a conversion to a different and more appropriate view of life. I was smashed into by a van whose driver had lost control. The shock and the stress that incident caused me was prolonged by my inability to accept and appreciate that I was vulnerable after all. That stupid belief of invincibility had been wrong. Some come upon this knowledge painlessly, others have it inflicted on them in a more severe and harmful way, living under the shadow of fear all their life. We are all at the whim of indiscretion and the ills that befall us. Do we ever fully recognize the bravery, of those who are not cursed by self-delusion, managing their terror filled lives?
Daniel Kemp’s Books