Retro: That Hamilton boy

Posted on March 27, 2007


As a nubile 18-year-old I was introduced to all manner of wickedness by my boyfriend of the time, Mephistopheles. I choose this name because it was widely confirmed back then that should a person be casting the devil in a movie, my erstwhile boyfriend would present precisely the right appearance for the part. In retrospect the boy’s chief memorable characteristics, however, were constant but low-level substance abuse and a truly admirable level of crypticness. It is this last that is the subject of discourse for today.

Mephistopheles’ motto was ever “information should be on a need-to-know basis”. This, as you can readily perceive, is essentially the complete opposite of my reigning philosophy. Such is his reluctance to reveal anything regardless of importance, that when I asked him a few days ago what he and his gang used to refer to girls as, he refused to respond. The vast lexicon of terms used by him et al to conceal their affairs from us inferior creatures, coupled with my literal mind and much-ridiculed inability to recognize verbal imagery of any sort, rendered him almost entirely unintelligible. For the record, I think they called us ducks or geese or similar. Not birds – that would have been too obvious. For the two years or so that we consorted – off and on – his taciturn silence and sinister lacks of personal divulgences irritated me, while he found my blithe spilling of my, and our, business to all and sundry deeply painful.

In the years that followed, though, I daily perceived the wisdom of his philosophy. I have gotten myself into a lot of trouble through talking, talking, talking. I freely admit that it is deeply unwise to tell me a secret – and as for mere routine embarrassing remarks, those can simply not be restrained by anyone, least of all me. However, this lack will have to be rectified promptly, I realized today. It is the written word that is my forte…the spoken word usually wriggles its way into my pants and bites me.