I hate reading 'The Obits'; but even worse is finding a good friend amongst those mentioned.
It has always been a tradition that the families of my school's fellow alumni use the pages of the UK's Daily Telegraph to announce their kin's passing. No doubt my own passing will eventually be announced there too.
As you might imagine, I can't buy the Telegraph on a daily basis here, nor do I consult their on line pages too often, but occasionally I do have reason to look at something to corroborate certain facts, and at the same time I always take a look at the obits; it's a mild obsession.
Only recently I found that my good friend, and fellow Blue Button, GB, from my city days, had died. I was reminded about him by a quote from Michael Kidson's recently published biography. Kidson wrote of him "It's like addressing a sheeted tombstone by moonlight, GB is about as lively as an inanimate centenarian". Personally I never found him thus; he was always good fun.
Anyway, I decided to 'look him up', and found that GB had died a while ago. He was two years older than me and led a very stressful city lifestyle. His father had been The Government Broker, and GB was expected to follow in the family footsteps.
In about 1965 he and I did the rounds of the 'season' together. We were told (in no uncertain terms) which city Balls we were expected to attend (these were usually held in nearby livery company buildings) and during the Summer months we both kept our dinner jackets in a cupboard at the office.
These do's were seriously, seriously, tedious; you cannot imagine! Scores of over-dressed, over painted, and over-coiffed young ladies, desperate for a suitable husband, would eye-up scores of city hopefuls who wished to marry into money and land. They were no more than expensive meat markets; I hated everything about them.
Anyway, if the father of the presented young lady was a friend, or client, of one of our partners, GB and I were forced to attend (to represent the firm), and we tried to make the best of the evenings. At least there were usually sumptuous feasts on offer.
So, I was sad to read of GB's passing, it also brought back memories of a certain period in my life that I would otherwise rather forget. However, if it hadn't been for the close friendship of GB, those evenings would have been unbearable; in fact I would have refused to attend.
I shall continue to read the obits, but I'm still hoping not to recognise any of the names!