The Retirement Scoreboard – Part Ten – Being The Disney Mirror

You’ll remember the rather frightening mirror on the wall in Walt Disney’s Snow White. It told the Wicked Queen what she wanted to hear while withholding what she needed to know. You can do the same but in reverse when you are retired – you can tell people what they ought to hear but don’t want to listen to. It’s called honesty.

I am not suggesting you find people with physical or mental infirmities and laugh at them for it – that would be reprehensible. But you can remonstrate with those who are lying to you and to themselves and finally tell them and everyone else the truth. As a retired person you stand to make no gain from flattery and will suffer surprisingly little harm from cold hard facts.

Oh, you won’t be liked, but then you won’t be liked anyway, and you might as well be free of false friends along with the work uniform and the pay slips. The payoff in self-esteem is well worth it.

Will you be able to make your point to a politician? Probably not – the ones who need the scoldings are generally removed from the moral process so far that anything you can say is unheard.

How about another sort of public figure? A celebrity of some sort? Good luck getting them to hear anything but praises – their own publicity machines fire lies in all directions and they eventually come to believe the ones they are telling.

The young? Well, you might think them deaf to all you can say, but this is not so. The right word often gets through to the right part of the brain and even if they do not dare obey for fear of looking uncool, they may become better in the future for it. If you can coat the pill a little they might even swallow it now.

Your friends? If they are your friends you have a certain leeway in what you say. Don’t overstep it, but help out if you genuinely can.

Public protests? These are frequently staged affairs driven by other people’s political and financial agendas – you risk being a pawn – and seen as such – if you jump in blindly. Consider well before you press pamphlets or memes on people.

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