OF course, I’m not as miserable in real life as I am when writing this column, which I do “in character”. If you believe anything in this column, there’s a bridge over the Firth of Forth I can sell you.

Most people I encounter find me friendly, like a daft wee waggy-tailed dug. Frequently, I get sharp looks from onlookers for laughing too much. It’s true that, when I get home, I drop the mask and burst into tears, but the Good Lord invented drink to take care of that.

I say all this because, no word of a lie, I have trouble with happiness and pleasure. On the few occasions these have come my way, I’ve always assumed there must have been some mistake, and that I should return the concepts to their rightful owners.

The only time I genuinely feel anything approaching these states is when I’m alone in nature. I used to think it was just me, Henry Thoreau (author of Walden) and Kenneth Grahame (author of The Wind in the Willows), who felt like this.

But two things: (1) it’s more contentment than laugh-out-loud joy; (2) the internet, YouTube vlogs (which I now watch more than television) in particular, has revealed that there are many people like me out there and, where before we had to shut up, now we have a voice.

However, as ever, discombobulation stirs at the heart of this discovery. All the people I admire most in the world right now – Jonna Jinton, Rosina Espig, Aurora, Lana Blakely, Miss Northern – are women. It’s not just that they too love nothing better than being alone in nature. They’re also all self-confessed introverts.

It would be facile to conclude from this that, ergo, I am like a woman. I have a beard, I drink beer. I watch football. I have testosterone-related prostate problems. I’ve been in fist-fights. Still, the news is troubling.

You say: “In a surprise development, all the burdz you mention above are kinda easy on the eye.” But that has nothing to do with it. I’m not a simp, as the new term has it – someone who dotes emotionally on internet women. No, I’m not. I’m really not. All right, I am.

I should add that I am capable of fleeting moments of contentment in the real world among friends. I’ve had that “hygge” feeling after a couple of snifters in their sumptuous and cosy homes (all my friends have sumptuous and cosy homes; I do not; I believe it’s to do with their having been successful), as candles flicker, light jazz tootles, and the aroma of proper, sensual food fills the air.

Sometimes, my hosts invite me to stay the night. You’ll recall perhaps that, after one such invitation, I stayed for seven months. There’s an adage about a stinking fish in there somewhere, but I cannot bring it to mind at present as I am too busy writing.

Speaking of which, as usual, my preamble has turned into a rambling amble, and I’ve barely space left to provide the hook for these witterings.

It is that psychologists from the University of Zurich have discovered that giving in to temptation is the key to happiness. This is grim news indeed.

It means we can now eat something sweet that actually tastes nice. We can have another dram. We can sit all night on the sofa watching vlogs.

The psychologists say: “Of course, self-control is important but research on self-regulation should pay just as much attention to hedonism or short-term pleasure.”

Now they tell us. It’s enough to make a grown man weep.

Voices off

HOW almost enjoyable to read in Her Majesty’s English Press headlines about Edinburgh having one of the world’s best-loved accents.

Perusing the small print, it turned out that the survey by dating site eharmony named received pronunciation – proper, posh English – as most alluring accent because of its association with intelligence.

This struck me as odd. One of the same English newspapers had the headline, “Britain’s new-build revolution”, and the first sentence, “Every new housing development in England …” Same thing every day. Not intelligent.

Edinburgh’s third placing, after New Zealand, was attributed to the rich, mahogany burr of Sir Sean Connery. It certainly wouldn’t be attributed to my reedy “educated Leith”.

I sound like a dustman emulating royalty. And, oh, the droning. It’s like one flat note played endlessly on kazoo. That’s why I always see friends’ attention drift when I tell a funny story or explain the economy.

Once, I gave a five-minute talk on BBC Radio 4. Never invited back. I listened to it with mates, who all laughed as soon as I started speaking. A professional broadcaster present said I should have drunk whisky first to deepen my timbre. Fool. I did drink whisky first. Hence all the burping.

Five things we’ve learned this week

Bald people were dancing in the streets of Baldonia after US scientists claimed they’d reversed hair loss … in mice. The experiment utilised ribonucleic acid molecules which could be used in lotions, leading to bald people being reintegrated into mainstream society.

Fears are growing that enterprising criminals could soon use wee robots to break into properties via cat flaps or even letterboxes. Once inside, they’d scan rooms to see what was worth nicking – before the property’s own security bots clouted them.

Conflict has broken out between England, sorry Britain, and the United States over … tea-making. Hostilities began after a video showed an American person – look away now, Martha! – microwaving tea. Boiling mad Brits said this proved America had gone to pot.

Much debate was sparked by small Scottish football clubs charging £20 for Covid-exiled fans to watch games on television. Many fans said this was “good value” and “fair”, leading to calls for a Government crackdown on the overpaid working classes.

Bardcore is the new rock ’n’ roll. The latest musical craze, also called Tavernwave, takes rock and pop classics, and minstrelises them with harps, tabors, crumhorns, lutes and sometimes even Latin. Honestly, it’s enough to drive a man to mead.

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