Peter Kocan on the Quaint and Outmoded

by Mercurius Aulicus

Jimmy came afterwards to apologise for going against Tait’s wishes and when they really got talking they found they related easily to one another. They were both in their late twenties and found they liked many of the same things, like poetry and history and folk music and all that was quaint and outmoded. “Quaint and outmoded” became their key term of approval. Then they shortened it to “Q and O”, and finally to “QO”, which they pronounced as a word rhyming with “glow”. The QO stood for an entire value system, and when Jimmy did night duty they would sit and talk about it into the wee hours.

After about three years Jimmy had had enough of the place, or at least of that aspect of it that he and Tait called “the Regime”. Inmates consoling each other with a birthday song was a QO concept, while the spirit that turned it into derision was that of the Regime. They began to see the QO and the Regime as warring principles that were locked in bitter struggle in every sphere of life.

~~Peter Kocan. The fable of all our lives. p. 3-4.