I have always wondered why this equestrian metaphor has been applied to someone who waxes eloquent on his pet subject, regardless of whether it is apt in the circumstances. It has pleased me no end, nonetheless, to have this so applied since I am a past master at this and the metaphor sort of makes me feel that I have added horse-riding to my immense repertoire of skills. There is one hitch, however. It is impossible for someone to appear elegant while riding his hobbyhorse.
Even the geniuses can make a hash of their reputation when they mount their hobbyhorses. Take Stephen Hawking. In his days when he developed irreligiousness and lost his then wife as a consequence (No! No! I do not say he did the one to achieve the other) he had written a book on the Universe in which he says that the age of the universe has been conclusively determined and, thus, “Even though Science has not disproved the theory of God creating the Universe, it sets a limit on when he could have done it” or something to that effect. What he meant was that based on the ideas of the evolution of the Universe and the current state of the Universe one could back-work when the Big Bang that started off the Universe could have happened.
He does say “…when he could have done it…” as if to mean that God had no choice but to create the Big Bang on time! Now that sort of egregious error of logic could never have been committed by a super-genius like Hawking but for the fact that he was concentrating on riding his hobbyhorse at that time. To explain – if it takes me one hour to reach your home from my home and I reach your home at you know that I did start from my home at 12. But to assume that someone or something had held a gun to my head and said “You have to start at 12 – one minute earlier or one minute later and you are dead” is a huge stretch of logic. I did start from my house at 12 but I could have started at any time.
In that, riding hobbyhorses is like equestrianism. You probably are concentrating too much on the pain in your butt that your mind goes numb. Before someone starts flogging his hobbyhorse let me hasten to add that the Hawking example was not meant to conclusively prove the existence or omnipotence of God. I am only trying to say how you can be driven astray by your hobbyhorse.
Now where do I get off sounding like some logic professor? We all ride our hobbyhorses at times and, invariably, look stupid when we do so. There are people, however, who suffer more because they do not know when and where to ride them. Like the chap, whose hobbyhorse is the divorce laws, mounting up on it when he is congratulating the bride and bridegroom; like the chap, whose hobbyhorse is his irregular bowel movements, trotting it out at the dining table – people like that.
I draw your attention to this simulated conversation below
A.R. Rahman (proudly): I got an Oscar for my music in Slumdog Millionaire
Well-Wisher : It is more than sixty years since we got independence and we are still running after foreign awards.
After that, our well-wisher is astonished, hurt and wails, “Nobody understands me” when he understands that Rahman is less than impressed with his doughty patriotism. That is what comes of riding hobbyhorses – you really do not understand that there is a time and place for riding horses. It can end up with the horse choosing to evacuate itself in the middle of your living room and you finding yourself knee-deep in horse-shit. There is no real point in weeping copious tears about the world not understanding you. You will have to deal with the shit yourself.
All of us have met those people who we consider as bores (Of course not me! You are saying that only to hurt me). They buttonhole you and flood your ears with their pet ideas till you decide to sacrifice the button and get away. I plead for more understanding for these people. After all, all of us do ride our hobbyhorses at times. It is only that these people have got on the nag and, then, forgot to dismount. Some may even be unable to dismount – sort of more like hobby-tigers if you know what I mean.
Now, just to prove that I can dismount, I leave you here to ponder on all this wonderful philosophy!