When I collected my mother from hospital the other day, I was expecting her to be looking ‘tense but dignified’ (as in EL Wisty on Royalty: "‘I’ve always wanted to be a member of the royal family. I’ve always wanted to be part of the royal family because there are great advantages to being royal. If you’re royal, whatever you do is very interesting. Whatever you do, people are very interested in it. Even if you do something very boring, people are still very interested in it. If a royal person does something extremely boring, people say, ‘Oh, isn’t it interesting that he’s doing something extremely boring.’ If I do something extremely boring, people say, ‘Oh, how extremely boring,’ it’s not so good. You never get newspaper cuttings about me, you never see headlines saying, ‘EL Wisty was looking radiant as he got off the 17A bus from Hounslow.’ You don’t see pictures saying, ‘EL Wisty was looking tense but dignified as he entered the municipal baths.’ You don’t get that sort of treatment.") As it turned out, my mother was looking 'radiant'.
The reason my mother was looking radiant, I discovered as we drove back to her farm, was that none of the nurses would believe she was over 80.‘You don’t look a day more than 75,’ they all told her. It’s made her year.
The Hating and Fighting Impulses - William James, *Is Life Worth Living?* (Philadelphia: S. Burns Weston, 1896), pp. 31-32: There are in most men instinctive springs of vitality that respond...
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