I'm getting older these days, and life doesn't get much easier, but a man has to do what a man has to do. I'm pretty fit, and sometimes I can compete with people half my age. But I started to feel a little bit vulnerable lately. Not only physically, but mentally too.
I suspect sometimes that I'm devolving into an idiot. Maybe I am - but as long as I can take a fair stab at the Times crossword and do what I have to do in life, I don't really worry about shit like that.
So let me - if you'd be so kind - relate an episode which happened to me one night at Basingstoke train station, as I was on my way to start a midnight to eight am shift.
As I emerged from the station, a bloke approached me - I don't know why it is but for some reason, people in real life tend to trust me and confide in me.
Total strangers - it just happens.
This is absolutely and utterly true - I swear on my grandkids lives.
This man looked agitated, and very upset - he was a big lad, who I could have dismissed as just another nut job out on the piss on a Friday night.
But instinctively - there seemed more to it than that.
I listened to what he asked me - I'm really not fucking Mother Theresa, or anything remotely akin to that. I looked this lad in the eye, and he didn't smell of drink. or display anything to suggest he was using drugs. He just looked like a normal lad, out on the town, except he wasn't.
He asked me if he could get a train to Reading - I told him that yes, he could, it would be about twenty minutes away and it would leave from Platform Five.
Then the strangest thing happened - this big tough guy took my hands in his and he asked me if it would be okay if he talkd to me. By this time, he was streaming tears and sobbing almost uncontrollably.
It's pretty moving writing this, and it isn't meant to be about me at all, but this lad sobbed:
"We mowed them down. They were just popping up out of holes in the desert, and we machine gunned them. Indiscriminately, and I killed so many people that day - hundreds upon hundreds of them. And I mowed them down like rats. And I can't live with it,"
This, I swear on my kid's lives is true, totally - what do you do?
I'm no hero, I'm just an ordinary Jack, who thank God has never had to bear arms, or go to war, but this episode, which as I recall took place in 1992 or three.
We seemed to strike some kind of compromise in the end. I didn't get it at all, I tried to be understanding but I was essentially a million miles off.
Bottom line is, I would have loved to have made that lad feel better. I'd have done anything to stop the hurt if I could have.
But realistically, I couldn't. It was way beyond my limited capabilites. I'm no angel and would never purport to be.
But sometimes, with the best will in the world, our contributions to life are trite and meaningless. I hope a veteran from Afghanistan or Iraq reads this - it's essentially an admission that we don't have the faintest idea what you go through.
Blind man, limbless man, victim - we are with you guys in spirit - but we'll never really understand.