I HAD to laugh when I read a scientific finding that our feelings of joy and contentment peak at the age of 82.

Considering that average life expectancy for those born in Scotland in 2016-18 is 77.0 years for males and 81.1 years for females, you will understand why my laugh was hollow. We won’t see 82.

The 82 claim comes in a book called The Changing Mind by leading neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, of McGill University in yonder Canada. Dr Levitin came to his conclusion after analysing World Health Organisation data from 60 countries.

He said: “People get happier … You realise you’ve gotten through all these things that were stressing you out. If you make it to 82, you’ve managed [and] you’re OK.”

Dr Levitin also found that happiness declines in our 30s but picks up again from the age of 54. The reason is that folk come to terms with the “too high” expectations of youth and realise that “life is pretty good”. Is it, aye?

That said, even if 82 feels like immortality to Scots, there could be something in the notion that we get happier as we age. True, we’ll be prey to ailments and infirmities. Physically, life gets increasingly rubbish.

But, mentally or even – dare I say it? – spiritually, we might be more sorted, particularly if we have stopped tormenting ourselves with hope.

It’s likely that we’ll be more settled too, particularly later on. No more moving house or job or partner. I know that some older people still do these things, but they should be scolded for it in no uncertain terms.

You can also cheer yourself up when you’re older by knowing that life, which is just one hassle after another, will soon be over. Soon, you’ll be sitting in limbo (a waiting room that has old copies of The Watchtower on a coffee table) with your incorporeal face in your insubstantial hands as you receive the distressing news that there is reincarnation and you have to go back for more disappointments, unfairness and torture.

Doesn’t bear thinking about. Another thing hard to contemplate in this debate is: what if you haven’t got any money? It’s a fat lot of use being 82 if you can’t afford booze and fags any more.

Dr Levitin says getting happier as you age applies across “72 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe”. But what if you don’t live in an advanced country like these? What if you live in Scotland, with its rain and grey clouds, rather in, say, Hawaii or Sussex, with their blue skies and sunshine?

The good doc adds that it helps if you try new experiences and nurture relationships. Well, that’s me doomed. I hate new experiences and nurturing relationships. Load of nonsense.

At the age of something-2, I suppose I ought to start getting my act together and preparing myself for the coming happiness that is about to inflict itself on my life. Some of you probably think of yourselves as happy, so what’s the drill?

Will I wake up in the morning saying, “Hello birds, hello trees”? Hang on, I do that already. Will I take myself down to the village gym and sauna, and feel great afterwards? Hang on, I do that already. Will I look forward to my evening oven chips and a dram the size of a small loch? Hang on, I do that already.

Hell’s bells. Could it be that I am already happy? Why was I not informed of this condition before now? What are doctors for? Eighty-two? Nah, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Now you're being witchist

HOW disturbing to read that witches in Britain still face persecution. I’d thought that, after a period in limbo, the souls of the original witch-hunters had been placed in the bodies of today’s woke, politically correct oppressors.

At any rate, a witching shop in yonder Gloucester has reported all manner of threats, including burning the premises. It has suffered repeated vandalism.

Difficult to know who’d do such a thing. Christians are usually quite nice, but there exists also a lunatic fringe that believes in God and suchlike.

I interviewed witches, or Wiccans at least, a couple of times back when I was a proper journalist. Somebody on the newsdesk would say: “Hoy, you. With the big nose. Go oot and interview a witch.”

I found such folk to be very pleasant. A bit New Age, you might say. Into nature. Right ecological, ken?

Mind you, the folk in Gloucester keep their DNA, and that of their dogs, in bottles to ward away “negativity”, it says here. Aw naw: negativity.

That’s being silly now. My feeling about people on the fringes of society is that, if they’d behave more sensibly and conform more to the mainstream, then people might leave them alone.

Oh sud off

AW, as some idiot said earlier, naw. There’s now designer washing up liquid costing up to £22 a bottle.

Many of you men of experience will have discovered you can just buy the cheapest washing up liquid or dishwater tablets or even soap for your face, if you’re the sort of person who washes themselves, and it all does the same job.

Some of it might smell grotesque, and it could take the skin off your hands. But who cares? It’s a small price to pay for paying a small price.

But cleaning is the new rock and roll, and various online gurus – “cleanfluencers” – are punting bottles of coloured liquid that add glamour to the kitchen and turn, according to one company, “a chore into a more enjoyable task”. I see.

Some of these suds are billed as right antibacterial. Some contain organic olive oil. Some have matching diffusers. Some have enzymes: aye, thaim.

If I was me, I wouldn’t be taken in by any of this. However, if you’re not me, feel free to fill your boots, or at least your basin. Perhaps your plates will be so clean you could even eat your food off them.