Recently, I returned from the suburban hill in a state of shock, ladies and gentlemen.
For why? For I will tell you why: the joint was awash with beached whales. I don’t mean beached whales literally. I’m referring to tubby humans. To be fair to me, I’m not intending to “fat-shame” here. It was not the tubbiness that offended but the bare skin.
It was peely and, arguably, wally. The sun had brought these beasties out. They were not hill regulars. One was having a loud conversation on his portable telephone. No idea of etiquette.
But what extraordinary behaviour. Having looked up from their cellars or loony bin beds, they saw the sun and said: “I must rush out and, regardless of public decency, expose as much of my pallid flash to this curious astronomical phenomenon.” And that is an exact quote.
I will be quite candid with you here: I too have pallid flash. But I keep it for the privacy of my own home or, indeed, my back-garden, which is mercifully free from prying eyes.
Sometimes, though I feel embarrassed in front of the blackbird and dunnocks, I will take off my top. The reason: to absorb more vitamin D, which we Scots lack, according to health professionals.
But I’m not sure that’s the reason these land-whales are doing the same. I think they think a tan will make them more attractive which, to be fair, it generally does.
In a way, a small part of me envied their lack of self-consciousness. But a larger part of me resented the brash imposition of their appallingly out-of-condition bodies on decent ratepayers.
It has long been a concern of mine that there is not enough order in the park. How I long for the days of a park-keeper, with a peaked cap and everything, who would patrol hither and yon chiding the ungodly.
Looking back, that cap symbolised the peak of western civilisation, which is falling faster than Rome, according to the immutable formula: striving, success, wealth, luxury, laxity, decadence, apathy, decline, fall.
At the time of going to press, we are somewhere between apathy and decline, and if you have a lifeboat about your person, I would start to make it ready.
Och, but I am being apocalyptic. If we brought back park-keepers, there’s a chance we could still be saved.
Patrolling park-keepers would instruct the shameless lumps to cover up, though curvy females would be given special dispensation under a new by-law that I am currently drawing up.
The sole apparel of choice for the ungodly sun-sookers, who were nearly all male incidentally, was a pair of navy shorts. These are abominable. I’m pretty sure they are banned in China and Hungary, though I would have to check.
Shorts in general are symptomatic of the decline of civilisation, though I accept there was no evidence for them in Rome. Rome’s main problem was not so much shorts as the fact that it was evil.
Say what you like about our society but, by and large, it strives not to be evil. However, that eternal struggle is not helped by pallid blobs discombobulating decent ratepayers with public displays of near-naked exposure to the sun.