I hate calling him T-Bone. It sets my teeth on edge, like when you have to ask for a Big Heap Buffalo Billburger, when all you want is a quarter-pounder, or a Just Like Mom Used to Make, when all you want is a piece of apple pie.

That is another chamber of my heart that shows no electrical activity – the chamber that used to flicker into life when I saw a film that moved me, or read a book that inspired me, or listened to music that made me want to cry. I closed that chamber myself, for all the usual reasons. And now I seem to have made a pact with some philistine devil: if I don’t attempt to re-open it, I will be allowed just enough energy and optimism to get through a working day without wanting to hang myself.

We all spend so much time, not saying what we want, because we know we can’t have it. And because it sounds ungracious, or ungrateful, or disloyal, or childish, or banal. Or because we’re too desperate to pretend that things are OK, really, that confessing to ourselves they’re not looks like a bad move.

(You can see this everywhere you go: young, middle-class people whose lives are beginning to disappoint them making too much noise in restaurants and clubs and wine bars. “Look at me! I’m not as boring as you think I am! I know how to have fun!

My friend Simon managed only sixteen of the seventeen League games – he smashed his head on a bookshelf in London a few hours before the Grimsby game on the 28th of Decemebr; his girlfriend had to take his car keys away from him because he kept making dazed attempts to drive from Fulham up to the Abbey.

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