I have always been fascinated by metaphors.
Indeed, to me there seems something almost transcendent about them.
I am captivated when the output of music from a stereo player is simultaneously indicated by a pattern of lights, for here you can experience the same energies in two different forms.
I had begun to think about more complex metaphors, and of one example in particular.
In January 1990 I had seen a televised football match where a striker hit the ball towards the far side of the opposing goal.
The goalkeeper had hurled himself after it but the ball hit the post and rebounded back onto the diving keeper and then into the goal.
Had he not moved at all then no goal would have resulted.
Still, you could hardly criticise the poor chap. His lunge was natural and instinctive and had he not gone after it he would have been blamed.
I became increasingly interested in the symbolic and metaphorical implications of the incident.
It put me in mind of events from history where causes had been set in motion to counter what looked like threatening circumstances, and with the best and most logical of intentions, but which had then themselves become the essential cause of the very end which they were instigated to prevent.
(Years later I was to see an episode of Star Trek where a concerned crew send back an excavation device to themselves at an earlier point in time, knowing that they are there faced with some unspecified danger.
It turns out that it is this rescue attempt, sent back from the future by themselves, which is the very danger that comes to threaten them at that earlier moment.
One might also bear in mind the plot of the 1999 film, Arlington Road.)
On the afternoon of February 20th 1990 I was thinking intently upon this involved metaphor and its fuller implications.
That evening I was watching a BBC TV sporting quiz called A Question of Sport.
At one point a clip from a soccer match was shown where a player hit the ball high towards the far side of the opposing net and the action was stopped and one of the quiz teams was invited to say what happened next.
After what had been preoccupying me throughout the day I had little doubt what the answer was.
Sure enough, the goalkeeper threw himself after it, only for the ball to rebound off the post, strike him, and go into the goal.