Mark Andrews: I'd like to be cynical, but not sure it's worth the bother

A new year, a new dawn. Time for reflection on the year that's passed, and time for new resolutions about the year ahead.

Diogenes lived in a clay tub
Diogenes lived in a clay tub

I was tempted to make my new year resolution a pledge to show greater cynicism and sarcasm over the year ahead. But having read what true cynicism entails, I've concluded it is all a load of airy-fairy guff and not really worth the bother.

Cynicism as a philosophy was initially practised by some character called Antisthenes, who had been a pupil of Socrates circa 400 BC. He was followed by a fellow called Diogenes, who lived on the streets of Athens in a ceramic jar – as you do – and eschewed material possessions because he wanted to live in harmony with nature. He was followed by Crates of Thebes, who gave away a large fortune so he could live a life of poverty in the Greek capital. Why don't we get cynics like that today? Come to me my friend, I will gladly relieve you of your burden.

Now I can see why Diogenes might have found the idea of spending time in Athens attractive at this time of year, given that the forecast is set to reach the mid 60s this afternoon, with sunny intervals. But, having given it a little thought, I think I would rather stay in an hotel.

The early Cynics argued that humans were reasoning creatures who could gain happiness by rejecting conventional desires for wealth, power, and fame, and defying social mores by behaving in a manner which was normally considered socially unacceptable. A bit like hippies, then, only without the stripey caravans.

As for me, 2023 began pretty much how 2022 finished. With a dentist drilling into my jaw, and valuable minutes of my working day being wasted fighting off emails from various printing companies. For some reason, I get bombarded almost every day by various printing companies convinced that what is really missing from my life is an endless supply of self-adhesive labels.

Quite where they have got my details from, I don't know, but I can barely blink without a message in my inbox about wedding invitations, gloss-laminated calling cards, roll-up banners or A5 personalised stationery.

I block them of course, but, it makes little difference. Like locusts, they always find a way through, usually by using a a different name. I can spend half an hour on Friday afternoon deleting all the various spam messages, but by Monday I am warned once more that my inbox is 95 per cent full.

I obviously forgot to block, 'David, head of sales' though. Because as I write, he has sent me a follow-up noting that I did not reply to his earlier message. Sorry, Dave – if I may – but I had previously replied to Richard from 'the UK's No. 1 foil printing specialist', explaining to him that as an employee of quite a sizeable publishing company, securing printing services was not really very difficult.

Anyhow, David is now offering specialist 'large format printing services', and is able to 'cater for everything from sports stadia, construction sites, and office walls, as well as bespoke marketing collateral'. He appreciates it is unlikely his timing would be lucky enough for me to have a need for this right now, but hopes to be on my radar should a requirement crop up.

Sure Dave, next time I build a football stadium you will be the first to know.

And a happy new year to you all.

Most Read

Most Read

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News