I’ve spent the past day or two rereading Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy.  It occurs to me again that one of the many reasons I am so fond of these books is that there is much about their anti-hero Guy Crouchback that I see in myself.  Like him, I very often feel that I am not simpatico.

I’ll tell you a little story about this:  When I was a kid, I worked out an elaborate fantasy to explain why I always seemed to be on the outside of things.  Everyone is born not quite fully done, I thought.  After birth, each new baby is injected with something I called “Factor X”, a serum that completes their physical, mental and emotional development and turns them into what appears to be ordinary.

When I was born, however, the doctors determined that I was so close to normal naturally that any administration of Factor X would transmogrify me into some kind of superhuman.  Not wanting this to occur and thereby upset things, it was decided not to give me the injection, but instead to let me scrape along at the lower edge on my own inborn talents.

Probably not the healthiest attitude in the world, but there it is.  Thank Heaven I inherited Mom’s cheerful nature or I probably would be sunk in perpetual melancholy.

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