In these dark, post Christmas days of mid january, we all need a laugh, so here's the portrait of me which was rejected by the UK Passport Office recently.
Any distinguishing features, apart from the hair? Well I do have a wide scar running across the front of my neck which nobody ever notices until I throw my head back and look at the sky, which doesn't happen very often, especially in these dark, post Christmas days of mid January.
Green-Eyes, aged about 8: "How did you get that scar? I've never noticed it before."
Me: "Did I ever tell you that I once joined the Foreign Legion, and someone crept up behind me in the dark with a large knife?"
Green-Eyes briefly turns into Wide-Eyes before asking what really caused it.
I had a friend once who had a very similar scar, but he really was an ex Legionnaire. Someone crept up on him with a length of piano wire, but since my mate lived to display his scar, I can only guess what happened to his attacker.
He was a very handsome man with a Spanish mother and a French father, and he had the disconcerting habit of snatching flies out of the air with one hand as he sat talking to you. The flies never survived the encounter either.
His and my generation were fortunate enough to be born just after the greatest conflict that the world has ever known, and were too young to be called up on National Service, which finished as we reached the age when we could have been.
The National Health Service was instigated just in time for us to receive medical attention as children, and there was a generous grant system in place which enabled people like me to study art without graduating in deep debt.
So why did people like him actively seek out situations of extreme personal danger by deliberately putting themselves into places where everyone was out to kill them? Some of them even parachuted themselves in. There are people, I guess, who just get off on it. I'll have to ask Hippo.
Winston Churchill once said (about WW1) that there was no greater exhilaration than to be shot at to no effect. I have only ever been shot at twice, and the first time received a direct hit just beside my left eye-socket. Luckily, it was a .22 air-pistol and my eye was missed, but it still hurt. It was friendly-fire - the shooter was my best friend.
The second time was with the same pistol, but it was not friendly-fire. The pellet into my kneecap was fired from a distance of about 8 feet, and the shooter was my brother. A few years later, this same brother crept up behind me and held a cocked and loaded, .38 calibre pistol to my head. He was a policeman at the time and - being fine, upstanding members of the community - all policemen had to do to acquire handguns in those days was ask for them. Try doing that in the Met now. Actually, it might work in the Met.
I have had loaded shotguns accidentally pointed at me by doddery old men in the past, but these were far from exhilarating experiences. There is no shame in immediate surrender, to my mind.
I stood next to an idiot in a line of shotguns once, and he couldn't resist tracking the clay way too far to his left, and well into the window of my opportunity, having failed to pull the trigger when it was in his.
When he did let loose, it was six inches in front of my nose, and the blast from his gun had the same effect on me as if he had slapped me round the face with all his force. It stung, but I managed to keep hold of my features. That could almost be described as exhilarating, but only in the way that jumping into an icy pond in January could be.
A friend of mine made one - and one only - parachute jump for charity, in the days when they allowed you to leap from a plane on your own after about half an hour's training. His parachute did not open.
That training came in very handy as he hurtled toward the ground, because he remembered that he had a second, emergency chute, and he even remembered how to open it.
I have never been one for extreme sports, or any sports at all really, barring ones where I am at the safe end of the gun. I've even lost interest in that recently, too. It's too noisy.