The word ‘spirit’ has its root in the old Latin word ‘spiritus’ which means breath. I am familiar with the word describing something that in itself may not have a physical manifestation but represents a way of being or an ethereal power. So I started to wonder what the spirit of the Daring family was.
“Whisky?” suggested Mrs. D when I asked her. Not the answer I was looking for but an excellent suggestion. “Thanks very much” I said as I poured myself a rather fat two fingers which reminded me of another question; why are some drinks called spirits? I understand today’s technical and legal requirements but why a spirit?
There are several theories but no consensus. From ancient alchemists who were trying to find the elixir of life (hence the link to breath), or the vapours that look like ghosts given off from the ‘mash’ when you distil whisky or a similar drink. There is another idea that says that after you’ve had too much to drink, you act like your body is inhabited by evil spirits.
I must admit that I have had a few quasi-religious experiences after a liberal spirit session of the liquid kind. It has usually involved a spinning head, a toilet bowl and repeated expression of one or other deity’s name as my body tries to correct my overindulgence. So, there maybe something in this last one but it still doesn’t answer the question of what defines the Daring family spirit?
I saw D2 emerge briefly from her room.
“How do you think of us as a family?” I asked her.
“Dysfunctional?” she replied, rather too quickly for my liking.
“No, no, what do you think represents our family spirit?” I countered.
She thought for a moment.
“Mum” she said and walked off to the kitchen to get more food before retreating to her teenage sanctuary.
Not the answer I was expecting but it did have some merit. Ignoring the biological implications, it was true that without Mrs. D there would probably not be a family. I also often thought of her as a haunting presence in my life, especially when I was doing something that I shouldn’t be. I decided to take this idea to Mrs. D for further analysis.
“Of course” said Mrs. D with more than a hint of smugness in her voice. “What else did you expect? Surely not you?”
I looked suitably hurt by this slight on my character but she did have a point. I can’t think of anyone more unlike their name than me. I don’t even understand what’s going on half of the time let alone actually doing anything daring that might cause more adrenaline than necessary to flow round my body. Well, there was that one time in Las Vegas involving a chorus line, several large bowls of custard and a brush…but that’s another story and I am certainly not going to write about it here where Mrs. D could read it. I value my anatomy where it is.
Even so, I did think she was being rather harsh considering my role as head of the household and as such, the de facto spiritual leader of our family. I pointed this out to Mrs. D who responded by reminding me that this was the twenty first century and besides, she was now earning more money than I was.
So having been firmly put in my place, I left her to her painting (several vases arranged on a table) and considered whether I was any closer to understanding what the Spirit of Daring was. Like any family, we have our difficulties. Most of the downs appear to revolve around me according to Mrs. D and D2 and maybe that’s the clue. To sum it up in one word, maybe our family spirit is one of tolerance. I should take this revelation to Mrs. D.
“Will you just leave me alone to paint and stop moping about?” said Mrs. D, sounding quite irritated as I interrupted her artistic flow for the second time.
Ah – it wasn’t tolerance then. But I did have an idea.
“Stop moping about and…?” I asked her.
“What? Stop moping about and get on with it!” said Mrs. D.
“That’s it!” I cried. “That’s our family spirit! Stop moping about and get on with it!” I gave her a big kiss and went back to the lounge, feeling pleased. I poured myself another wee dram of spirits for the spirit. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear Mrs. D walk up behind me.
“Phil!” she shouted and as I jumped, the glass fell out of my hand. I caught it before it hit the floor but not before all the contents had spilled and now made a golden puddle on the tiles.
Mrs. D looked at me. “Ah Phirrip, you spirrit” she said, trying to sound Japanese. And then “Well? What are you waiting for?”
Ah yes. No moping. So I got a mop and got on with it.