Arthur Smith rounds up 2020

Consider my cousin Paul who has type 1 diabetes and a very nice house. He gets up every morning at 7am, does yoga for an hour, prepares smashed avocado on toast to share with his fabulous partner, then works from home all day, overseeing Zoom calls that his devoted employees enjoy. Back from his 5-mile run, he tests his blood sugar level and confirms that it is, as usual, 5.6… OK, I’ll stop now – I don’t want to upset you any further…

Paul is a made-up character but, let’s be honest, we all know someone a bit like him, that friend or family member who always seems to be doing the right thing, suffers no self-doubt, is unconcerned about the state of the world and would definitely never be found sneakily eating a tub of ice cream, curled up on the sofa, watching another episode of the latest Netflix thing.

How are you coping out there? This is the question all of us have asked and been asked ever since these strange times began. Paul would say “Yeah I’m great!!” with two exclamation marks but I suspect most of us will respond with some variation on, “Well, yes, it’s not easy but I’m getting by…”

I’m getting by since you ask.

I cannot deny that I have had days when I have felt quite depressed by the events of 2020 and the prospect of 2021. I miss doing live shows, hanging out with my pals, going to the theatre, going up North on a train to visit my in-laws and, oh, how I long to spend a weekend in Paris again. Like all of us, even Paul, I regret those other fun times this pandemic has cancelled or delayed.

Then I finally had my postponed annual diabetic check-up. I actually went to the doctor’s surgery which seemed almost a novelty. I had a blood test, feet looked at, blood pressure taken, urine sample and, hoorah, I did OK. The nurse was great and the doctor who gave my results over the phone was really friendly. I might have celebrated with my dear lady but she is chasing a deadline and, anyway, every restaurant was shut for the lock down.

The sun still comes up every day, I love my morning coffee and I am keenly aware there are plenty who have had it worse than me. So I propose to you that you do a bit of exercise every day, try not to look at your phone too often, eat sensibly but nicely, keep in touch with those close to you and decide not to be jealous of Paul. Then, when you learn that his partner has left him, he’s lost his job and broken his leg while out cycling, please do NOT start laughing.

Oh, all right, just a little snigger, but do realise that Paul was never really as happy as he pretended.

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