My solution to North Korea? A cuppa and a chat
- Credit: AP
I know they are sad and I oughtn't be flippant but there's usually a moment of laughter at a funeral.
Unfortunately I've been to a few recently and each one has had this moment of joy.
Whether it be a joke told at the expense of the deceased or a memory shared or an anecdote told, the modern funeral usually includes a pause for laughter – perhaps it's for the best.
And, of course, a funeral is undeniably a social event.
You wonder who will be there beforehand, and who will come out of the woodwork.
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'Will so and so be there?'
'Of course I never met her family, naturally they will be there.'
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'And thingy who she used to work with, she won't miss this.'
And then there's the arriving ridiculously early in order to make sure you get a seat and then the choosing of the seat – ideally near the back but not too near the back and definitely not at the front, what with the family.
If you position yourself well enough you can get a decent view of everything – and a funeral is highly theatrical – and everyone arriving so your pre-funeral expectations mourner-wise can be proved right, or wrong.
Then come the ubiquitous refreshments – known in my family as the 'bun fight' – an event which, depending on how well you knew the deceased and whether or not you want to get back to work, you can choose to attend or not.
I usually go as I have a severe case of FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.
Whatever time of day there's usually a morsel or two – quiche almost certainly – to be had as funerals make you inexplicably hungry added to which they create the desperate need to say out loud, 'Wasn't it a lovely service, just what she would have wanted,' as if the deceased could actually hear the extroit music.
Funerals are, for the observer of life, utterly fascinating.
They are, of course, a reminder of the exiguous amount of time we spend on the planet.
One blink and it's all over.
This week I found myself once again railing against the 21st century and the propensity for piped music in every public place – this week Newmarket swimming pool, where I attempt to keep active-ish once a week after I heard a child in the street once tell her father, as she eyed me up and down, 'That man's got no neck'.
Anyway, as I reached the deep end where I rested for a few moments, I said to a fellow swimmer as ghastly pop blared across the chlorinated waters: 'I don't know why we have to listen to this, it's so loud'
To which the stranger replied. 'Well yes, but perhaps it's for the younger generation.'
It was a remark that stopped me in my tracks.
I reflected that perhaps she was right, and perhaps I was turning into the curmudgeonly old sod I used to moan about when I was younger and a hangover could be cured quickly with a packet of Skips and a Ripple.
Talking of angry old men I got thinking about poor Donald Trump and how being president isn't as much fun as I suspect he thought it would be, what with hurricanes and North Korea to think about.
He's knocking on now Donald, he's 71, and it seems to me that he's ever so angry about something.
Every time he says something he's got the hump.
Perhaps, like me in the swimming pool, he needs a gentle reminder that the world isn't really for the likes of him but for those younger than himself, those that have yet to live their lives. I don't suppose it's quite so simple, but perhaps Donald ought to open the batting, and offer the younger Mr Jung Un if he'd like to turn the music down and chat.
Who knows - saving the planet might just make America great again?
Because that's the trouble with nuclear war isn't it? One blink and it's all over.