You Cannot Predict The Past From Future Events

I went somewhere one day and did something and met someone. This may seem a little specific, but I assure you it was not – I have rarely had a vaguer experience.

In our city I have often advised people to have a ready response for sudden meetings – because we are bound to encounter people in the street that we neither expect nor want to meet. Faced with them at a corner, knife fight, or funeral, we must say something for the sake of society, and we need to be able to do it straight off.

The first problem is recognition – now the really vile ones – the ones who have been seared into our psyche will be instantly familiar – we need not fear forgetting their names. It is the second-tier types that are the problem – the friends and acquaintances of a decade or more ago that are just becoming a little fuzzy around the edges. Combine that passage of time with a senior’s moment and you can be in real social trouble. You expose yourself for either a fool or a knave, and this can be inconvenient if you have been trying to hide the fact.

I have been known to resort to the Canadian Gambit. Saying things like ” Well, I’ll be darned! Wherever did you get to? ” in hopes that it will distract them. Or if they ask the question first I just tell them I was having treatment in the asylum. And I do it with a straight face and add nothing else to the information. You’d be surprised how people can sweat in cold weather.

Of course there is a corollary to the unexpected appearance and it is the unexpected absence. The person above all persons who you would have expected to be at the graduation, funeral, or arraignment…and isn’t. You have to be careful with this one and make a complete search of the crowd to make sure that you have not missed them inadvertently. But if they’re really not there, you can start a fox and get an enquiry going  amongst the ones who are. Where is X? Why have they not come? Is there something they do not want us to know.? Is it time to search the court and clinical records? Or under the railway viaducts?

In the end, whoever shows up, shows up, and generally the affair does not dissolve into a fist fight. If you are wise you will be closer to the door than most of the troublemakers and can light out at the first sign of knives.

1440 New Customers For You Each Day

Think of it. Every day there are 1440 new customers available to make your business a success*. And the best part is you do not have to pay marketing research organisations or social-marketing firms to access this bonanza – these people are provided by Heaven for you. We have the solemn word of one of the most successful marketers of the 19th century on this.

You may be thinking that your business might not fit into the demographic, or target planform, or mimeographed list on the local IGA notice board – and that as a consequence you will miss out on connecting. You need have no fear – it does not matter what you are selling, or giving away with a small charge for shipping and handling – with 1440 new clients each day – and that includes Sunday – you cannot fail to make a profit each and every day

It doesn’t matter whether you are selling sanctity or saccharine – whether your scheme involves animal, vegetable, mineral, or morality – you will find a mental string that can be plucked. Once it begins to vibrate, their money loosens and flies out of their purses and wallets. And once it flies your way, all you need is a fish net to scoop it up.

Often, just a simple paragraph will pluck enough of these mental strings to set up the sound of a full orchestra. Try this:

Are you worried about your children being exposed to secret black government helicopters spraying mind-altering GMO gluten trails in the ionosphere? Are your chakras accessing enough ancient vibrational conspiracies by the secret society – and you know who we mean…Are muslim Methodists taking over the air compressor at your local service station? Well, write in NOW for the book that they could not suppress. $ 39.95 plus postage, handling, and taxes ( slightly higher in Washington State and Mississippi ) will free you from your dependency on Big Parsley forever. You owe it to your grandchildren. And they have debt collectors to see that you pay.

Are your strings vibrating? Sounds like Berlioz on speed, doesn’t it? Well we can put you onto this same gravy train of gravitational unified energy fields – and if you build the fields, they will come. Some of them come several times. And you can purchase full HD video of it. Who said marketing couldn’t be fun?

*  One born every minute…

 

 

 

 

The Conspiracy

Did you read about Big Oil? And Big Coal? And Big Gas? And Big Cheesecake?

How about Vested Interests? They were the favoured bogeymen of my old uncle Jude, the Montana cattle farmer. They apparently explained anything that he did not like. When it was pointed out that he had a vested interest in his farm, he went all morose.

” They ” of course, are prime suspects in the downfall of everything. The ” They ” varies according to who is doing the complaining. Men, Russians, the CIA, mysterious swarthy immigrants…all guilty of being ” They “. ” They ” are a pretty active and resourceful set of villains, and can be called upon to take the blame in many circumstances. Hard to actually pin thunderstorms or badly fitting sink gaskets on them, but useful for nearly everything else…

Whether it is spraying innocent populations with mind-altering substances like oil from leaking jet engines or poo from the airliner tanks, or smuggling hordes of tiny assassins in Post Paks, the forces of evil can always be counted on for a good topic at a party or public bar. They get more active after the third pint. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind man and tinfoil helmets are proof against most known germs…or is that Tea-Tree oil?  Wear both just to be safe.

PS: Don’t forget the Rumenati – the secret organisation of cows that controls the world…

A Modest Apology

I wish to apologise for a recent Facebook post that ridiculed Facebook posts. I have been brought to realise that one may ridicule the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Australia, or the Premier of Russia ( or is that President…? Whatever…) but one does not hold the most popular social media network on the planet up to ridicule. Not if one knows what is good for one…

My legal adviser has urged me to throw myself upon the mercy of the Court Of The Internet and plead for a reduced sentence. Okay, Manny, if you think that would help. Here goes:

I’m sorry that I laughed at the people who share things on Facebook. From early childhood we have been told that it is good to share. Fine advice, when it comes to making 7-year-olds cut a birthday cake into even portions, but not quite so good when the sharing involves foolish opinions and political propaganda. But who are we to say what is foolish? The opinions that are hawked about like broadsheet ballads by People Who Sit At Home may be correct, for all we know. They are not backed up by any personal experience or practical demonstration, but then neither is the selling spiel for a washing machine by some sales clerk in Harvey Norman – they just sell you the box full of white goods. Perhaps the political opinions of formerly successful politicians can wash clothes as well as minds…

Enough, Manny? No? What do you mean, No? Jesus, Manny….Okay, Okay, Moses, Manny, how much grovelling am I expected to do? I’m not Johnny Depp, here…

Take Two: I apologise unreservedly for laughing at the people who share things on Facebook. I realise that they do this for the good of the planet and my soul. I am infinitely grateful for the tired anti-Trump memes…

Manny?

Manny, why are you making that noise? I’m doing the best I can here. I haven’t mentioned Nerium face grease once in the whole apology, and at no time have I yanked the Meminist’s chain. I’m being as good as gold. With a bit of luck I will get through the whole weekend without being unfriended by anyone. What do you mean, you’re crossing me off your list? Crosses, Manny…?

Featured Image: Voting Booths for the constituency of Facebook.

 

BGA Senior Discount Applies

I don’t get a pension from the government.

This is not a brag or a moan – just a socio-economic fact of life in Australia. I am considered to be too rich to require it. I agree I am rich, but increasingly I am finding that it is not in money…To be fair, I suspect the government doesn’t have the money either.

In my retirement I fund myself by writing and photographing. Mostly poison-pen letters and compromising snaps of illicit affairs. It is not as easy a task as you might think. Facebook memes have desensitized people to nasty written abuse and no-one really knows how to define adultery anymore. I have a shrinking market amongst the religious and the prissy.  They can still be embarrassed by exposure whereas many others seem to welcome it. I frequently get requests for an 8 x 10 and six wallet-size photos when I threaten scandal.

I am not harsh on the religious, though. They still do have the habit of collecting money in poor boxes, tins, and plates during religious services and in many cases this can be stolen. The only tough proposition is the Salvation Army – they are armed and determined to defend their assets. If you have ever been hit behind the ear with a tambourine you’ll know why I give them wide berth.

My local IGA grocery store has a system of 5% discount on grocery items for seniors – but only on Thursday. If you shop right, this can be a useful saving.

Transperth lets me ride free between 9:00 and 3:00 each weekday, and all day Saturday and Sunday. I shall make use of this in the coming week to go to places of entertainment and save the travel expenses of a car journey for the door entry. Retirement time is a flexible schedule that the desperate and entitled on the freeways cannot appreciate.

I may even be able to pay a visit to a few churches along the way. Ka-Ching…

 

This Is An Automatic Recording From…

I’ll bet all my readers have had an automated scam telephone call by now…or are about to get one. My home phone seems to be immune, but my studio gets them all the time.

Here in Australia the scammers generally use a script that says they are from the taxation office and threaten arrest and seizure of assets to get you to start on the telephone call trail that they hope will lead them to your bank account or credit card numbers. I gather than in the USA they use the name of the FBI, IRS, or other authorities to make their criminal threats.

The classic clues are there – the silent pause before the recording starts, the faint hiss, the ever-so-slightly off accent coupled with a plausible name. The automated ones are no fun to receive, however – past the theatre of it all – because you cannot play with a machine. I now hang up on them as soon as the clues start, and dismiss them from my mind in 5 seconds. I have never lost a necessary call.

The human-contact scammers are more entertaining, as you can sometimes get one of them who has had a bad day, or a sour curry, and gently goad them into rage. I do it by being attentive, kind, and pleasant. A little vague, perhaps, wittering away now and then, wandering from the point but never too far. I play the role of stupid old white guy perfectly, as I have studied the part for years…I must sound like the fattest and slowest duck on the pond.

I’m sitting comfortably in an air-conditioned house with a drink in hand, and I’ll bet they’re not. The longer they are forced to talk to me to persuade my obviously senile mind to click on the Windows link…and I never quite seem to be able to grasp how to do it…the closer they are to lifting their safety valve. I have been able to stretch it to 10 minutes before a monumental burst of Hindi oaths terminated the conversation.

If I’m pressed for time – cooking or some other task in hand – I just say to them that they are violating the moral precepts of their religion and that they should be ashamed. It is not rude to say that – it is the truth. Maybe one day one of them will reform. Or maybe I will.

I know who to bet on…

 

 

Things That I Am Learning From Social Media

There are any number of lessons that life teaches us – all the way from the one about not licking Canadian light poles in January to the business of how to dispose of a disgusting canapé at a cocktail party*. The recent advent of the social media has taught me a few new ones:

  1. If you are unhappy with yourself, you are unhappy with everyone else. If you can develop a mental scenario that focuses this distress upon someone specifically – Muslims, men, or Monsanto for instance – it means that you can relax somewhat – someone is stabbing your back for you…
  2. Personal unhappiness is portable. You can take it anywhere.
  3. Personal unhappiness can be because of personal faults or personal failure…but if you are wise you never admit to it. The world has billions of other people – at least one of them can be selected as the author of your troubles. And even if you are abject, you can afford to blame the rich and powerful – the famous and successful. You can aspire to own the enemy you always dreamed of.
  4. If you can’t quite figure out who your enemy is, you need not fret – one will be provided for you. And they need not be obviously evil – I’ve heard bad things about the Dalai Lama, and not just from a Chinese government spokesperson. Fortunately I am under no contractual obligation to believe it.
  5. Personal distress is distressing, but socially salable. If you are prepared to accept emojis and the word ” hugs ” as a substitute for thinking and actual assistance, you can be comforted 24 hours a day. Don’t be afraid to collect these as they cost nothing.
  6. ” Meme ” is a new word. It is newer than ” wisecrack “, ” vulgarity “, or ” propaganda “. One day it will be an old word, so use it now while it is fresh.
  7. Lists are read by everybody. I think they keep on to the end in the hopes that it will either get better or worse. It always does.
  8. The acquisition of a new contact on Facebook is pretty standard – either you or they accept a request. The disposal of the acquaintance is a more delicate matter – akin to disposing of the blood pudding canapé we mentioned before. You can ignore them entirely, but still continue to see their posts, hide their posts, unfollow them, or unfriend them – each of these a step further into disengagement. I like to imagine further steps – ones that allow us to actively insult and then physically assault the former Facebook friend. The trouble with this is that the social app is truly worldwide and it would be expensive to fly to foreign countries to beat people up. I think we need a reliable international service to do this for us – people on the ground in other parts of the world who are prepared to go and pummel our enemies for us. Perhaps it could be paid for by PayPoke.
  9. Social media is no substitute for actual social contact with actual people. Mind you, it means you do not have to shave every day…
  10. No social media platform is predicated upon observation of etiquette. It is the electronic version of Friday night down at the pub, and in some cases it’s the cheap pub. Do not expect kindness or polite behaviour. Indulge in it yourself, by all means, but be aware that only you will know that you are doing it. It is a measure of your character if you find that sufficient.

* The best alternative  for ditching blood pudding on a cracker is to feed it to the host’s dog. It will cement the friendship and make you welcome in the future. If they don’t have a dog, see if they have a potted palm. Failing that, a velour sofa. If all else fails, balance the offending snack on the lightbulb of their bedside lamp and leave at the end of the evening knowing that your revenge is yet to come. You won’t be invited back but would you wish to visit people who serve blood pudding on Ritz crackers anyway?