Insensitivity Training 101

Good Morning. Glad to have you aboard. Including ” You People ” down the back of the classroom.

Here at the BGA Institute we are going to take you through the basic steps that you’ll need to become insensitive, crass, and uncaring. This may sound like a difficult task for you snowflakes who have been sucking on the public education teat for 20+ years and show no signs of detaching yourselves, but I assure you that the Institute can help. And help you do indeed need.

Let’s start by introducing ourselves. I am the Right Evil Bastard, and head of the Guild. I have been insensitive and unpleasant to more people than you’ve had hot dinners… As REB  I take pride in this, while still recognising that there is a place for a softer and more sentimental approach. It cozens the unwary into letting you get closer and makes it easier to stab them.

If you enrolled for this course based upon the ” 101 ” tag in the faculty brochure thinking that it would be an easy credit for your first year, you may be dismayed to know that there are Insensitivity Training courses that start at ” 1″ and go up to ” 100″ that are considered prior qualification. At this level you are expected to be able to make a Marine Corps drill instructor stutter with nervousness…We’ll test you on this in a moment.

Many of you – in fact probably all of you – are connected to the rest of the world with electronic devices and social media. The odd one who is not will be ferreted out and compelled to subscribe to every failed internet site up until now to get up the speed. They should have a wow of a time with the Warner Brothers site.

We will now break for morning coffee to give you a chance to mingle and to ask questions of each other. The most useful enquiries will earn their owners remission from the whippings later in the day. Now don’t be shy…



How To Avoid Being Stalked

These days there is a great deal of unease about the business of stalking. The term crops up in newspapers, legal cases, and the social media. Many accusations are made and in some cases substantiated. The BGA has a few points of good advice for those who would avoid the problem:

a. Do not poop in the wild. Or on the screen.

This is the number one give-away for wild animals – at least for the ones who do not instinctively bury their shit. They leave steaming mounds everywhere and eventually the predator who wants to find them just ends up following a trail of increasingly fresh dung until it finds the arsehole that is putting it out. Not a pleasant way of shopping, but a sure-fire way of finding one end of dinner.

In the social media world it works the same way. People post the most improbable piles of merde on the internet – for the most part picked up and ” shared ” in an effort to get attention. Well, if they share enough of it and it gets to be fresh, it can lead directly to them.

b. Do not leave your leavings around.

We are not suggesting that you shred every piece of wrapping paper or McDonalds container that you collect to prevent hackers from trolling your recycle bin…but remember what happened to the US Embassy in Tehran in the 1980’s.  Look at the stuff you throw out and securely destroy the bits with the numbers.

Or fish the number bits out of your neighbour’s verge on bin night and put them in your own waste. Hell, just exchange paper all up and down the street and hack each other.

c. Do not pay by credit card, cheque, or direct debit.

If possible do not even pay in cash. Promise to pay and then skip town. There are towns all over the place. Skipping is healthful exercise.

d. Do not take surveys, answer questionnaires, enter contests, play free games, or request free samples.

You might as well be drawing a red circle around yourself on an ordnance survey map. The people who harvest information trade and sell it, and you, based upon what you give them. You may well end up being used but you do not have to run up the gangplank of the slave ship to embrace it.

e. Do not react to anything.

Reaction is what people want when they wish to know where you are and what triggers you. Depend upon it; when you give them the information they will use it and they will not use it in a way that makes you happier.

f. Be beige. Bland, Swiss, middle-aged, from an outer suburb, and never seen. Try to become a fully visible invisible creature.

g. Avoid all interpersonal relationships – in particular avoid the ones that involve loose clothing and lapses of memory. When that old sweet song echoes in your ear, put your finger inside there instead.

Love is another thing. Love is perennial and blessed. Love is violets and daffodils. Love is the stuff of which very successful pulp novels can be made. If it occasionally becomes a soggy mess and soaks through into the upholstery, regard this as the price you pay for happiness. Or misery. In any case, if you do pay the price, get a receipt – you can sometimes claim it on your tax return.


The Tube Of Toothpaste

If you would like to increase the happiness in your life, get a tube of toothpaste. Or of strawberry jam, haemorrhoid cream, or any other semi-solid commodity. The actual contents are not important – it is the delivery system.

Take the top off and squeeze a little – and a little useful product comes out. Whether you spread it on your teeth, toast, or tush is up to you, but observe that after you squeeze, the tube gets a little smaller and a little wrinkled. Continue squeezing and eventually it is all out.

And at this point the company that sold you that tube is not required under any law of the universe to refill it at their expense. You go buy another tube.

So it is with employers, acquaintances, friends, and relations. They can squeeze you like that tube – and out comes money, work, possessions, attention, praise, and any other useful thing that you might contain. And just like the toothpaste tube, one day they will squish the last drop of whatever out of you.

And you’re not required by law to instantly refill yourself for them.

If you’re a wise toothpaste tube you’ll have noticed what was going on long before this point – and you might decide that you don’t want to be flat and empty. That’s the time to clog your nozzle. Then you can preserve some of your self-esteem for yourself. And the user can go out looking for another toothpaste tube.

And at that point you are entitled to insist that they put the cap back on.

The Grocery Store Scandal – Who Is Bruising The Fruit…?

We’re undergoing a fruit-tampering scandal in Australia at present. Fresh strawberries in punnets have been found to be contaminated with sewing needles and pins – first in Queensland and now in South Australia and Western Australia. It raises interesting questions and speculation:

a. To start with, I have no idea who is behind it – no evidence, no experience of the problem, no fruit ( aside from a couple of soggy bananas ) in the house. All I know, like Will Rogers, is what I read in the newspapers.

b. Is it a racket? Was the original case the result of some mob going to a Queensland fruit grower and threatening contamination in a protection or blackmail racket? No pay, and the threat carried out?

c. Are the further cases copycat instances of people contaminating fruit in local stores?

d. Is there a network of fruit-contaminators at work throughout the distribution chain? Is there a central nub of crime at work here for some monetary purpose?

e. Is there some terrorist organisation that wants to spread fear with sewing needles? What possible connection could anyone make with politics or religion and strawberries?

f. Was the initial contamination a personal vendetta against a grower that has become a fashionable thing to emulate?

These are all questions that have undoubtedly passed through the official police offices. They are certainly competent to analyse this sort of thing. But they may not be able to articulate other questions out loud…

g. Who benefits if the strawberry growing industry in Australia is reduced? Other suppliers? In other countries?

h. Which other countries? Countries that supply fresh berries…or canned berries…to the supermarkets. Look on the can of berries in the tinned fruit section and see where they come from. Is this significant?

i. If people are put off berries, to what product will they turn? Who grows that product here in Australia? Do they have any connection to the strawberry suppliers? Or to the workers who deal with the strawberries through the production process?

j. Most important question – and one most difficult to get a real answer for…

Who will demand money to make the problem go away? Who will they demand it from? How is it to be paid?

These questions are nothing but the product of years of watching television drama, but that doesn’t stop them from being relevant.







You Look Pretty When You Smile

But smiling doesn’t get you through the morning traffic on the Mitchell freeway, does it? Not even when you are driving a large silver car with LED lights gleaming at the front.

Mind you, snarling doesn’t seem to do it either – even if those LED lights are arranged in the form of a boar’s tusks or a glaring demon’s eyebrows, that righthand lane is still not going to magically clear for you. You could try a bout of horn-blowing or smashing your hands on the steering wheel to see if that helps.

I have sympathy for you. You’ve done all you could to let the foolish person in the large silver car ahead of you ( the one with the LED lights and the snarling driver ) know that a very important person is behind them. Goodness, if they had bothered to see you flashing your lights or driving half a metre behind them they should have taken the hint. I mean, it’s not like you are driving a poor person’s car, is it?

Look, would it help if I waved? I could put my book down and wave to you…or to the person in front of you…at least as long as the train keeps pace with your car. I’ve got both hands free. Actually everything about the train is free – I have a seniors card and it doesn’t cost a cent to ride all…Oops. Sorry, the train just pulled away from you and you’re disappearing back down into the line of cars.

Have you ever considered working from home? You could still have the big silver car to go to the Supa -Valu.

The Torch And Pitchfork Club

With the current culture of witch hunting proving such so successful for lawyers, publicity agents, and television stations, I have decided that the Backstabbers Guild Of Australia can benefit from it – we are going to start an on-line Torch and Pitchfork Club.

It will be an opportunity for Guild members to savage public figures and personal enemies without fear of reprisal. I have negotiated a free pass from the Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions that will allow personal defamation and lewd slander without fear of reprisal. The major networks have come on board upon the promise that they can be seen to be virtuous and moral.

Of course this is not without danger. Some of the people who we attack may turn out to be innocent, despite our best efforts. We can strive but we may not succeed. The only comfort in these cases will be to remember the general fallibility of Man and hope that our victims will do something bad eventually. Even if we do not see it, there will be a Higher Power that can mete out punishment upon our behalf. I mean, we spend a fortune on candles and incense – we should at least get some return for the money, eh? Else what’s a temple for?

The Torch and Pitchfork will also be a chance for a social outing for Guild members. Who doesn’t like marching and chanting? You get few enough chances to get out of an evening, and if you can go out with like-minded friends, storm a bastille or burn down a castle, and home again in time for a nice cup of tea, well—it’s got to do you good, innit?

I plan to rage against Aldi supermarkets and Chinese people. And then go out for a good pint and a chicken fried rice at the Golden Dragon.

Worry Sex

When I was a kid I worried about sex.

What was it? What was it like? What did people do? What were they supposed to do? How did they know they were doing it? What happened after they did it? What would happen  if they did it wrong?

Later, when I came closer to the subject, the worries intensified. When was I going to have sex?  What was I supposed to do/say/feel/remember/forget? What if I became pregnant?

Finally I got to worry about what was it all supposed to have been like. What did I do? What did I miss? Did other people do it better? Where was I when they did?

I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever other things sex might be, most of what it is –  most of the time – is worry.

But am I worrying well enough…?