20 May 2007

Read hilarious dialogue in Edward St Aubyn’s novel, Mother’s Milk, page 129. The cynical, feckless, alcoholic hero says: ‘I often think there should be a superhero called Whateverman. Not an action hero like Superman or Spiderman, but an inaction hero, a hero of resignation.

‘Is there a comma between ‘Whatever’ and ‘Man’?’

‘Only when he can be bothered to speak, which, believe me, isn’t often. When someone screams, ‘There’s a meteor headed straight for us! It’s the end of all life on Earth!’ he says, ‘Whatever, man,’ with a comma in between. But when he is invoked, during an episode of ethnic cleansing or paranoid schizophrenia, as in, ‘This is a job for Whateverman’, it’s all one word.’

‘Does he have a cloak?’

‘God, no. He wears the same old jeans and T-shirt year in year out.’

St Aubyn’s novel is very funny throughout, but this was definitely the best bit, and set me thinking, I know quite a few ‘Whatevermans’: they mostly live in Brighton and are smoking their lives away.

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