Most glorious Listener, the other day I returned from purchasing kitchen roll to discover… that I already had kitchen roll.
Quite apart from being peeved that I had over-stocked, I was perhaps unjustifiably delighted. I had gained kitchen roll! I wouldn’t have to buy any more kitchen roll for at least four days! I could be frivolous, perhaps even whimsical, with my surplus supply of kitchen roll! I was almost tempted to knock over a glass of water just so I could mop it up with my abundance of kitchen roll without the creeping fear of running out!
You will agree, loyal Listener, that this would constitute, in the grand scheme of life, a small, perhaps even minuscule pleasure.
But it is these small pleasures that can brighten the otherwise turgid monotony of our days.
Consider this: a vicious cockwombling driver roars dangerously in front of you, filling your car with noxious fumes and preventing you from hearing a crucial moment on Radio 4. A few moments later, you come to a serene stop next to the disgraceful bumface at a red light.
That, my friend, is a small yet palpable pleasure.
As is taking a priced item to a checkout – an item that you were perfectly prepared to purchase at the stated price – to then discover that the item is three pounds cheaper than the stated price.
But what of the divine pleasure of catching someone in the exact moment that they do something stupid? What joys can be gained from seeing a hapless stranger (or even better, a friend) spill drink down themselves, or trip up a kerb, or accidentally fall on a knife? The other day I was fortunate enough to glance at a dude in a cafe at the exact moment he stabbed himself in the mouth with his fork.
And yes, the post-workout feeling of intense smugness and rejuvenation and vitality is undoubtedly something to celebrate, but it pales in comparison to having your well-meant exercise attempt thwarted by something entirely out of your control.
And what of this? You are at a restaurant. You are in great company. You have ordered your food. Your companion is scintilating, witty and beautiful, and is offering you the best that social small talk can proffer. But all you can think is whereismyfoodwhereismyfoodwhereismyfoodwhereismyfood.
It is a tense time. It doesn’t matter how stimulating the company, waiting for your food to arrive is a time of anxiety and mounting hunger.
So you go to the toilet. You don’t need to, but in four minutes you can distract yourself from the screaming absence of food.
And, if the Gods are smiling down on you, if Life Itself has dealt you the perfect hand, you return to your table…
…and your food is there.
Let us not forget the power of a good floss. You have scrubbed your teeth vigilantly and with gusto, you have mouthwashed and spat into the sink with the force of a thousand bullets, and yet one touch of a silken thread of floss through your back molars reveals a piece of mouth gubbins so substantial, that your self-disgust is trumped only by self-admiration at your dextrous ability to rid your mouth of such a monstrous piece of culinary refuse.
Celebrate the small pleasures, dear Listener. Each small pleasure is a tiny triumph in the marathon of Life (particularly seeing someone fall over, which is worth at least five small pleasure points).