If I may allow myself a brief nudiustertian reverie, a fond harking back of some forty-eight hours to the very inception of my exhaustive set of New Year Resolutions, I there and then unhesitatingly determined that - in the interest of sustaining an unwavering procrastination - the initiation of all such imminent and possibly injurious pledges should be prefaced by the following forestalling anacrusic exordium, to be rehearsed ad libitum as a species of unconstrained 'vamp till ready': "If I may allow myself a brief nudiustertian reverie, a harking back of some forty-eight hours [etc., etc.] . . .".
Long, lamp-lit reveries poring over my rare coin collection, unfortunately attributed by former drinking buddies to the mania of a miser, are in truth exclusively numismatic, my increasing fervour causing me even to absent myself from the festive compotation and convivially happy hangover of last New Year's Eve, thanks to the joyous acquisition of a superb sterling silver 1854 florin.
Standing here - peckled o'er with senescent maculation - before such an august assembly of peers, I am loath to promulgate my cause, fearing your timeous rebuff that in further venting my halitosis I shall be rebuked for contumacious anthropogenic pollution - unless, perchance, having already investigated the cumshaw bag of goodies found beneath your seats, you can find it in your hearts once again to sanction my tendentious prolixity.
"You would have thought that - with all the lifts nobbled for the day by the union - after I'd lugged his bags up thirty-five flights of the Shard this geezer would have slipped me a fat cumshaw, but no, he just keeps waffling on vacuously about the soaring fastigiate elegance of the building - I ask you!"
Since rickshaws queuing for trade were unusually plentiful in Dublin on that balmy summer evening I selected my driver with some care, avoiding the first two brawny bruisers engaged in a recreational bare-knuckle donnybrook in favour of the antepenultimate, diminutive, ill-nourished specimen, a creature who seemed so grateful for the custom that, instead of pocketing the customary gratuity at journey's end, he returned my offering as an appreciative cumshaw.
Since yesterday, I have restricted all constitutionals to the purlieu of my locked study, having surfeited on the stridulous hectoring of uncle Mortimer, whose insistence on a neo-constructivist mise-en-scène for our annual 'Babes in the Wood' charade was just so much pretentious hooey.
Had I not been discovered still abed, prostrated by a quite debilitating lassitude after a night's vigorous intimacy, I might have evinced a rather more credible avidity in endorsing my wife's loudly rebarbative injunction to abjure fornication.
Only yesterday we received tidings that our defenceless porch was once again to be assailed by those ugsome, tuneless wassailers, aided and abetted by the new vicar kitted out (in a crotchless Santa Claus costume) as Lord of Misrule.
Glug, glug, glug, went ruddy-cheeked Santa, gulping down a warming seasonal glogg followed by a bracing bullshot (magic water beefed up with meaty broth - as any yule fule kno) before glissading ever so wobblily over to his snow-bespawled sleigh; for, children, it now behooved him to bridle the reindeer, and in his inebriated state, it was going to take some time.
Stepping out of an ill-attended soirée into the gloom of a chill afternoon I bemoaned this latest forlorn attempt at promoting a local conversazione, doomed because our presiding relict, shrouded in misery and widow's weeds, grew ever more glum thanks to one contributor's insinuatingly douce harping on about his susceptibility to seasonal affective disorder, which - so he maintained - was the wintry cause not only of his but also of our grumbling discontent.
"If I may appear to decathect from you with unseemly haste" - and here I addressed my trusty but ailing farrier - "it is not only because the immediate prospect of my having no alternative but to engage you, artisanal ministrator to the equine pedal extremities of old Dobbin here, as substitute key speaker to this evening's seminar conversazione on cyclicity and Hindi notions of rebirth is obnoxious, but I remain painfully aware that you might just peg it at any moment - one never knows, do one?"
How blessed are we on this dark and dankly algid day, at the unique coincidence of the Winter solstice and the 13th b'ak'tun, once again to find succour in such a lop-sided conversazione as is afforded by this our aerial colloquy - so raise a solstitial cup of good cheer!
If, before I tear out your heart, we really must waste precious time contesting the legitimacy of our respective eschatological beliefs, you may care to observe, close by those xerophytic opuntiae over there, a sand-blown Mayan inscription proclaiming that the fourth world will reach the end of its 13th b'ak' tun tomorrow, 21st December 2012; after which date it might well prove impolitic to require from you a telling counterblast, or from me any further riposte, for that matter.
Much as ma and pa tried to subjugate Cassandra by popping her in the freezer for an algid half hour or so, having had more than enough already of her unsettling precocity as doomsayer, even thus entombed the poor little waif could not check the occasional burst of pitiful echolalia, frostily burbling "Good-bye, and Keep Cold".
For an entire quadrennium - that is, between the Beijing and London Olympics - our paunchy gymnast manqué exercised his waning skills only by weaving along the parallel bars of a decayed pergola in his uncle's rose garden, whingeing at once again having been passed over, and cursing the token lagniappe sent as a sop - a plastic lapel-badge reading 'See you in Rio!'.
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