Farewell, sucker

When you get off this plane, greet the hostess goodbye and try to forget the in-flight food, I want you to think of all the good times we had together. The cryptic jokes, the strangely offensive humour, the shrug of shoulders as you turned to your neighbour and asked, “who the hell is this guy?” I want you to rejoice in all of that, because today I say farewell.

Farewells are something of my speciality. I have quit jobs without giving notice, hugged a friend for too long at the airport, hung up on insurance salesmen, and now, written a formal farewell letter in a humour column. My ability to say farewell in almost any context is quite unique, marketable even. So, if you’re looking to leave your husband, your cult, or your dead-end job, I may just be the guy for you (the editor of this glossy magazine will handle my personal details).

Of course, some may argue that my fondness for saying goodbye is generational. That my generation begins things, becomes disinterested, and then leaves without seeing them through. And although this may be true, it is also one-sided; for who created the precarious labour market, the loveless romantic engagements, the cultish worship of billionaires?It sure wasn’t me. So perhaps when faced with choices that are neither desirable nor useful, it is best to cut the call early, before the awkward silence ensues and the insurance salesman interrupts, “Sir, are you still there?”

But I am not here to say goodbye and complain; indeed, I believe there are some positive aspects to my leaving. Not only do I look forward to beginning something anew that I will soon grow bored of, but I am looking forward to solving some of life’s more elusive mysteries. Like, how does one correctly tear off toilet paper; why do people find fishing enjoyable; how does the global financial system consistently work to make the rich richer; and, how come my right foot is about half a size bigger than my left? Ranging from the mundane to the spiritual, there is no end to the questions I have for this world, which seems to grow more mysterious the more I seek to understand it. I am sure that I will be occupied for a good time ahead.

Which brings me to you, my dear reader, the most mysterious of all. I probably haven’t met you in the flesh, but I’ve wondered about you as you’ve flipped through this magazine. How you and I danced a little tango with the words on this page – did you enjoy dancing with me? Did I distract you from greater concerns, like the faults in the latest Boeing? Your attention, I’ve come to decide, is where my fulfilment must lie, if it is to lie at all. For, if I am to say farewell, it ought to be done amicably and without cause for regret. Because, like the great Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin said:

Like wine, the sorrow of past days
Is stronger with time.

I have no room for strong sorrows, and I hope I have left none by the wayside. I thank you in advance for excusing my verbose melodrama, my loose ideas, and my even looser writing style. And so, if by any chance I did make you forget the troubles of the world – if only for a moment – then I have done my job. In the face of a world bidding for any shred of attention you may have left, reading this column suggests that there is hope left, even for a sucker like me. For the sucker in the title is me, not you.

Bon voyage.

About Author /

Sebastian can usually be found eating strawberries and cream at your nearest tennis club.

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