That’s a persistent buzz phrase and meme that we use whenever we luck into something. We discover a free feed or booze-up – a discount or special price – or a chance to have a good time. It’s a cheerful event, and we’re celebrating it.
But what if other people mind if you do? Even if it is none of their concern, your good fortune is a canker to some folks. While they might not go out of their way to be mean to you, the sight of you having a good time is and unpleasant reminder that they’re not.
We may never know of their distaste. It’s not something that they bray about, unless within the safety of their own computer they can be snarky and anonymous at the same time. If we never see their feed, we may go through life not realising their enmity. The best thing to do is to be philosophical about it…as the late Eugene V. Debs admitted – ” You can’t displease all of the people all of the time. “. Accept the fact that there are secret haters out there that you’ll never get to know about and just be grateful for the sound of teeth grinding in the dark.
Note: When Fate, Heaven, and serendipity combine to supply you with a Boston Cream Pie just when you are hungry and you find a fork ready to hand, you would be a churl to refuse the treat. Accept that good things can happen to bad people like you and just eat the pie. Or throw it, if you get half a chance.
On the national civic* day – 26th of January – we had become accustomed in the past few years to being bombarded by ambitious politicians, academics, and advertisers for their various purposes. In many cases this was driven by lust for power and money. At least when the CWA and local kindergarten were involved.
Then there was a spate of excoriating those with European background for not being Australian enough. Or for being British. Every sin and misery for the past two hundred -odd years was seeded home to the Dreadful British and compensation demanded. Compensation, guilt, and obeisance. If you couldn’t manage the guilt and obeisance, at least cough up the money…the lawyers had sent in their bill.
Arrived late? Not British? Never had a hand in oppressing anyone? No matter. As long as you had money they’d let you on the tumbril.
This year it seemed to be different. Very few ambitious local councillors fronted the television cameras weeping. Few calls for the scrapping of the day emerged, and those that were repeated came from the established disestablishment. Most people seemed set to do their citizenship ceremonies, watch the fireworks, get drunk and sunburned, and let it go at that.
My local hobby club even garnered an award from the city of Bayswater for not being as dangerous as they might have been. I shall share in the honours as long as there is cake and coffee involved.
* The national military day is later in the year and it will have it’s own set of special detractors – though oddly enough there will be many of the same names bitching about the past then as do now.
One that reflects the fact that we have stopped being a country that takes its instructions and orders from Great Britain and now takes them from someone else. The main problem will be to decide who this currently is.
The United States has less influence here than heretofore. The careful work of the Soviet Union in propaganda from 1945 to 1989 and China in industrial seduction from 1973 to now has weaned us away from much of the companionship we once had.
Europe has emigrated since the 40’s, of course, but done so wisely – leaving the poorer relations back home in the mud and stepping out to cleaner ground here. The descendents of those early migrants go visit the various Old Countries whenever the dollar peaks and the Euro descends, but they keep a tight clutch on their Australian passports as they do so. They ain’t dumb.
South Asia would like to come to visit, and then stay, and largely do… It is rare to see them pulling up Australian stakes to go back to any part of the subcontinent, islands, or archipelagos unless they have been naughty or unwise whilst here. For the most part they are content to live peaceably, knowing what life there was compared to life here.
Ditto South and Central America, though I am not sure about this. I see the occasional migrants who work hard and do very well. Did we have a common border with them we might see very different characters present themselves for emigration…but the Pacific Ocean is wider than the Rio Grande and no-one has yet swum the entire thing. Perhaps it will come if Greta Thunberg cannot hitch a boat ride to Sydney…
To deal with the flag again, I think we will just have to go with the design featured in the heading image. I researched the composition of the Australian population and the flags of the constituent migrants as well as the local indigenous people and combined the symbols of their various faiths, political parties, families, and diseases and got a shade of grey. The shape of the new flag is still under debate, but the design bureau suggested a light portion for night and a dark one for day would look well. See what you fancy.
For I am not fearful. The smile is real, and conceals nothing but the back of the teeth and a fair few fillings.
Do not praise me, because I am not praiseworthy…or at least not for the things that you think. If I need praise I can do it myself.
Do not be my enemy – because we are judged on the quality of our enemies, and you may not measure up.
Do not try to seduce me with offers of commercial sales. I have all the goods I need. If you offer to buy some of them off me we can talk, provided you are willing to load them on the back of your truck yourself. I don’t do heavy lifts.
Please do not sell me a plan or a program. I’ve had many plans in the past and have learned to be wary – some are futile con games that take my money and leave me disappointed…and some come to glorious fruition. Of the two results, the first is a lot easier to bear.
I can always be purchased with coffee, tea, and cakes. I am not greedy and I do not slurp or drop crumbs. The quality of my interest in your problems is directly proportional to the quality of the coffee and cake. Barista special and rich fruit cake will enlist my deepest sympathy – a plastic cup of Pablo and Nice biscuit will get you what you deserve…
And never be afraid to ask me for money – make the sum as grand as you wish. I shall be equally brave in my refusal, and the higher the demand, the greater the saving. You may be treated to a hollow laugh and a hearty handshake or vice versa.
4. Driver’s license.
6. University fees.
11. New clothing.
12. Medical expenses.
14. Job applications.
15. Relocation expenses.
Welcome to the world of adulting, teenage justice warrior. You may not have time to march in front of the state legislature/parliament house/television cameras/iphones of your friends for some time as you are now required to show up and do something worth getting paid for. Hint: keep your receipts and pay slips as you’ll need them to pay your taxes. If you do not wish to pay taxes remember that there is always the Al Capone Option. They have closed Alcatraz but Leavenworth is still going…
You may note that I have left out marriage and babies from the list. You’ll learn about them when you grow up.
That sort of stuff. The one I want. Where is it?
And thus…vaguely…begins the sad adventure of many a failed shopping expedition. I go out to get stuff I need to do things. I know what I want a project to look like in the end and I think I have seen some material or item that will be perfect for the job, but I do not know what it is called exactly…which prevents me from going to people who sell it. I cannot name it precisely enough to call their technical expertise into action and all I get is annoyed looks.
Yet I have money and need, and whatever it is…from a dog-powered ice cream mixer to recycled underwear…is surely for sale somewhere.
The best frustration safaris start with a sample of the item that you can take with you. You still have to find the correct destination where people will recognise it and can direct you further to a real source. Frequently it’s best to just start with the internet and then feel bad online before going out to feel bad in person. A good days sees someone saying they recognise the item and a really good day goes on to them knowing where you can get some. Then when you go there, you find they went out of business last week…
I want a Citizen’s Advice Bureau at my local council office that is staffed by a team of know-it-alls. I don’t care how dry, pedantic, or irritating they are as long as they are prepared to climb down off their high horse and tell me what I want to know.
My back, on the other hand, is a bitch this morning. Never pick up artillery shells without bending your knees.
Or, in my case, a cardboard box, a magazine, or a handful of feathers. It could have been any one of these that did the harm…or reaching up for a box of cornflakes on a high shelf. When it comes to backs, nothing is safe.
There are remedies, of course. Braces, Voltaren, hammering carpet tacks down the spine. All equally good. You can often alleviate the symptoms by dousing the affected part with rye whiskey from the inside. The back thing prevents you from changing the oil on your Volvo tractor, gardening, or sitting in hard church pews for 4 hours straight. But then normal good sense does this as well, and you aren’t curled up like a caterpillar for a week.
It is a passing complaint, and I’ll let it pass without afflicting it on too many others. The level of sympathy generally hovers between minuscule and zero and sometimes dips into the negative zone if the family think they can laugh at me unpunished. I don’t get upset at this – I just write it all down on my Revenge List and wait until they bend over and pick up a heavy laundry basket and let out that little yelp…