Very bad news for competitive blokes

Some admittedly rather varied passages from Julian Barnes’s book Nothing to Be Frightened Of:

The notion of redefining the deity into something that works for you is grotesque.

Here’s one that made me laugh:

We can compare the number of synapses that fire during the female and the male orgasm – very bad news for competitive blokes …

Barnes complains about the bureaucracy that has replaced folklore in hospital dying and tells the following story:

Registering my mother’s death, I was dealt with by a woman with a metronomic delivery and no skill – or luck – in human contact. All the details had been given, the signatures provided, the duplicate copies obtained, and I was rising to leave when she suddenly uttered four soullessly otiose words in a dead voice: ‘That completes the registration.’ She used the same mechanical tone employed by the humanoid bosses of the Football Association, when the last of the ivory balls has been drawn from the velvet bag, and they announce, ‘That completes the draw for the quarter-final round of the FA Cup.’

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