It would be quite easy to fall into a Slough of Despond these days. Getting old is not much of a joke sometimes (or as somebody put it very wisely in something I read earlier this month, it is a spiritual battle which you know that you are never going to win). But let's all look on the bright side - for my part my back is getting better - albeit slowly - and my recent MOT at the doctor's surgery is almost all good news (just a high cholesterol to work on). But for laughs you can't get much better than a Prize Winning Reader's Letter I read in a magazine (which shall be nameless) at the hairdressers earlier this week:
A reader wrote a glowing letter thanking the magazine for the marvellous diet sheet they had provided. She said she had followed it to the letter and had a wonderfully significant weight loss. She couldn't thank them enough for getting her started on losing weight. She knew she was on the right path now and was full of enthusiasm.
Her letter won the month's prize which was - a hamper of hand made chocolate worth £50.
That made me laugh out loud. It just about sums up the attitude of these magazines for women. They churn out 'tips' for slimming, looking younger, being a successful entrepreneur - anything which they hope will tempt us to buy the magazine , but it is all so facile - wouldn't it have been lovely if they had said - your prize was to have been a huge basket of fattening chocolate but as you have lost weight and don't want to regain it then we are sending your £50 to charity.
This 'spin' attitude seems to have permeated every little cranny of our lives, doesn't it. I went a few years ago to a make up demonstration given by one of the leading (and very expensive) cosmetic companies. The speaker told us never to wash our faces with soap and water, but always to use their cleansing milk. A woman in the audience was incensed and stood up and proclaimed that she was eighty-four, a farmer's wife, and that she scrubbed her face twice daily with soap and water from childhood - and ' look at my complexion' she said - we looked - it was peaches and cream. 'It's all in the genes,' she continued - 'and I've helped it with good honest fresh air.'
And so to the ultimate in spin - tonight's Live Television Debate between the three party leaders (yawn, yawn). The Times prints a list of the things they must watch - the right coloured tie, always look at your audience, keep a flash of humour there, try to avoid your worst little habits.
I don't think i can bear to watch it - it will be promises, smarm and no straight answers. I think I will settle for finishing my book - which incidentally is fantastic - I'll tell you about it tomorrow.