Ever since I was eleven I have had a deep suspicion of people who hum. I can remember my birthday that year as though it weren’t 12 years ago but were rather yesterday, or indeed the day before. I was walking downstairs, hair a little less than its usual shevelled state and suddenly I heard a most disappointing sound. It was as though someone was forcing a kazoo through a cat. Hold the marching band, stop the balloon release, birthday is immediately and totally arrested pending further revelry. It was then, or around then, that my cousin Archie came wheeling around the corner. This isn’t a figure of speech, what I was faced with was a roller-skate propelled cousin where I might usually have expected to find a small bust of Churchill or similar.

Said cousin was gesticulating wildly and clearly wasn’t just having difficulty with the skates. He was also having difficulty with the things he was running into and frankly his whole attitude to life, he was also having quite considerable trouble carrying a decent rendition of La Marseillaise.

It was that moment that started and finished the whole formative chapter of my life in relation to humming. The noise was so godawful, so inconsiderate that I swore I would punch anyone on the nose who did it in my presence ever again. And I’ll be honest I spent a fair few years socking faces left and right until the whole thing started to seem about as inconsiderate as the humming if not, perhaps, maybe a little bit worse. So, and this time it is figuratively, please do try and keep up, I had to knock the whole thing on the head.

Nowadays, generally, I merely seethe. I am quite a seether, as a rule, I am generally pretty good at it, and people tend to be quite aware that something has gone wrong. Not sure that I’m absolutely positive that the switch to seething from bopping on the nose was entirely a step forward for the old psyche, but it certainly stops one getting arrested which is generally frowned upon these days.

People tend to go off one if one is quietly seething, but as one can’t help seething one has started to become a bit superstitious about hummers. It’s as though they herald periods of upcoming separation and rejection from human society. Don’t get me wrong, periods of separation and rejection of society are good in themselves, nothing wrong there, but only, in my opinion, when self inflicted. Not when they are foisted upon us by deranged folk who think their lips a harmonica.


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