TAC 35 Index
by Grant Hutchison
"I'm not climbing it," said Lachlan, suddenly. "Start the car again. Let's go home."
I paused, one hand on the door handle, and was momentarily speechless. "But. But. Lachie, this is it. Our last Munro. Are you ill?"
"Aye, man. Sick is right. Sick to have bought into such a pointless endeavour in the first place. Get back in the car, I said - there's no use going on."
I leaned on the car roof and gazed across at him. "What do you mean, no point? We'll be Munroists, Lachie! It's an achievement!"
"Pah! Achievement! We'll have climbed a few hundred hills written down by some dead guy. That's not an achievement. An achievement's something solid, something lasting, something that makes a difference, that you can point at and say, 'I did that.'"
I rubbed my forehead. "The achievement is in the self-discipline and hard work it takes, Lachie."
"Oh aye. Self-discipline. But you and I know it takes us more self-discipline not to climb a hill whenever we get the chance. Congratulating Munroists for self-discipline is like congratulating fat people for their determination in hoovering up cakes."
"OK. Maybe. In some cases." Then, hopefully: "But why don't we just hoover up this last one anyway? Given that we are weak and undisciplined characters, let's indulge ourselves one last time."
"For what, man? For a name on a list kept by the sort of people who think it's smart to spell 'compleat' the way Izaak Walton did in 1653?"
"And there's a badge too," I offered. (Lachlan liked badges.)
"Well, there's an opportunity to purchase a badge, as I understand it," said Lachlan dismissively. (He liked free badges.)
I decided to change tack. "But why don't we just climb it, then, and not tell anyone? Then we wouldn't have the embarrassment of having our names on the list."
Lachlan whooped his derision. "Oh man, that's terrible! That's pathetic! We buy the whole daft package in secrecy? You've just invented the Munroist's equivalent of bulimia!"
"So what do we do, then? Just go home and forget it? Have this single, solitary hill sitting out here for the next forty years, that we must never climb for fear of becoming Munroists?"
"No no. What we do is we go home and tell people what we've done, and why we've done it. That we've chosen not to play the game. People'll like that. They'll admire it."
"Some people will, maybe. Sad, perverse, huffy people."
"Well, OK, yes, maybe initially there'll be sad, perverse, huffy people. But once they've done what we've done, and there's a group of us, more people'll get interested. Eventually we'll have a whole alternative culture to the Munroists, man! It'll be great!"
I thought about this for a while. "So we'll have our own list, really. One that's almost identical to the real Munroist list, just easier to get on to. That's what your saying, isn't it?"
Lachlan opened his mouth, closed it, and frowned for a moment. Then, wearily: "Ach, sod it, man, let's just climb the bugger and be done with it, eh?"
And we did. But we never told anyone.
Well. Not until now, I suppose.
TAC 35 Index