December 21, 2018, by Jem

The Legend of Winter

Sure, humility’s a pretty thing but ugly it becomes when in the way of the truth. Frank honesty thus guides these five-fingered wonders across my keyboard, bidding them to spell out the truest of truths: I am a huge deal on campus and throughout Nottinghamshire I am considered a legend.

Thanks to the inclusion of my article ‘Be Wise, Be Warm’ in the weekly undergraduate newsletter, the past fortnight has been hectic. My phone has not ceased to cry out the xylophone’s song, every jock in the county has made it their mission to sling a high five my way, and countless readers have approached me to showcase their mince-pie filled pockets (a cold-battling strategy I recommended last article.)

The plumpest of all fame’s fruits, however, takes the form of an incident that occurred on a tram to Hucknall. A young boy caught sight of me and tapped his father in what he believed to be a covert manner but, counter to his intentions, aroused my curiosity.

“Is that the Legend of Winter?” he inquired, with a sweet mixture of hushed secrecy and voice-cracking excitement.

The boy’s father was a man excessively familiar with misery. This fact was plainly deduced from the tired lines and folds of his face coupled with the muscularity of his brow; the tell-tale signs of a master frowner.

He raised his head from a newspaper wearily, generating the impression that this small motion somehow demanded of him an extraordinary effort, as though gravity taxed his muscles twice as harshly as it does any other man’s. The father proceeded to draw his lazy gaze across the tram carriage, dragging his eyes from face to face in a bored search of this supposed “Legend”.

And then that slothful head halted in its slow desk-fan-esque rotation.

“Why son,” the man’s eyes, fixated on my own, shimmered with emotion, “it is him.”

What a spectacle it is to witness tedium incarnate crack and cast free the forgotten feelings of joy, astonishment, and total bliss. The thousands of lines of the father’s face immediately vanished. It was as though the front of his languid head had been ironed, or showered with moisturiser, or perhaps this fabulous alteration can be attributed to the beautiful smile that had bloomed upon his countenance.

The surrounding commuters, sensitive to this wonderful transformation and now awake to my awesome presence, burst into a bout of applause that reached a deafening crescendo upon my gifting of a small mince pie to the young boy, which he nestled in his cold hands as though it were a baby robin.

Cosiness became thick in the chests of onlookers and scarves were soaked with hot tears of happiness. A gentleman removed his bowler hat and rested a hand upon my shoulder, squeezing it once to signal his admiration.

“Thanks to your article and sweet doings, chap, we of this county are warm again!”

Flattered, I couldn’t help but beam. Soon after this gentleman’s expression of gratitude, an intensely fragile old dear offered me her seat. I accepted without a moment’s hesitation, for what Prince rejects an invitation to a throne?

It was the sudden incline on the approach to Nottingham station that destabilised the poor pensioner so that she fell. I had suspected that this abrupt climb would have that effect on her; she’d been wobbling incessantly ever since standing. Evidently, she regretted her offer and, through this crazed swaying, strove to guilt the Legend of Winter into returning the seat to her.

Nevertheless, I rose to my feet at once, helped her up off the floor, and brushed the filth from her cardigan. Complaining of back ache, she made for the seat. You’ll be pleased to learn that I wasted no time at all in intercepting this terrible advance and guided her away to a small section of handrail.

I’ve strong suspicions that her fall was part of some dreadful plot to dethrone me, for it is true that the cunning crowd about those with fame… lip-licking, palm-rubbing, chin-stroking. The sly are consumed by fantasies of the famous one’s downfall; such fantasies, I’ve no doubt, filled the wicked mind of our artful old dear, provoking her to behave in the appalling manner described.

The teaching is clear: the fruits of fame are not exempt from rot.

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