I’m a Bit of a Rum Bloke Really

Stephen F. Dennstedt

Rum bloke is a witty British-ism. And I am a rum bloke in the strictest sense of the phrase I’m afraid. In the 1800s the word rum came to be used in place of odd, strange or peculiar when describing something or someone not quite normal. And of course bloke simply means man, fellow or guy (the male of the species). Rum bloke = odd fellow.

And I am an odd fellow or rum bloke. John Le Carré would describe me as being a disillusioned romantic whilst at the same time being a brutal pragmatic. I operate in the Shadowlands of the psyche much like one of his battle damaged spies—trying to come in from the cold. Like the cold war spy it’s a lousy position to be in.

To know in your heart (in a romantic-idealistic way) how things should be, and at the same time to know (in a real-world way) how things actually are—that is a recipe for misery on any level. I’ve known this about myself for a long time, but as I age it comes into sharper relief. I am a dinosaur soon to go extinct. I would love to be one of those lucky black & white people whose opinions are so damn cocksure—they’re out there in their millions (a quick scan of social media will validate that fact).

But I am not one of those people and rarely have been. The older I get the more I come to realise how little I know. I struggle to find reason and justice where none exists—and yet I continue to hope. Alexander Pope’s famous quote: Hope springs eternal in the human breast comes to mind. Yes, the most miserable of human beings: a romantic married to a realist. Forever intertwined in the dance of life. But maybe there is still a place for the odd dinosaur here & there—the rum bloke. We tend to keep others on their toes because we’re so unpredictable. And I do revel in the role of being unpredictable.

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