How could I be happy if nothing happened? Where was the joy in that?
a. I was not being bombed or shelled by anyone. No-one hates me enough to bother with the ordnance, let alone the targeting.
b. Nothing broke. Neither the legs nor the washing machine nor the car nor the airbrush.
c. No-one stole anything from me or my house.
d. No-one sent me a bill.
e. The Facebook pests that perpetually swing their little axes in my face had other things on their minds.
f. I was not on the Freeway for morning nor afternoon rush hour. So none of the sirens were for me.
g. The cat did not put a dead rat on the doorstep.
h. I did not lose another pair of panties to the elastic monster.
This was a day full of the noticeable absence of stressful excitement. It left space for food and drink, hobby work, and writing. I would like to achieve an entire week of this boredom some day.
I see a comic artist has seen fit to resurrect the legend of the smallpox blanket as a comic piece in his daily strip. The strip veers occasionally to a biased and politically correct scolding thing, rather than a chuckle, but did make me wonder if there was any truth in the matter.
It turns out that there was – and it was the British military who thought to try the trick on the American Indians back in the 18th century at Fort Pitt. There is some controversy as to whether it actually worked.
In the 19th century there are stories about the trick being tried again, but again, there is little evidence that it was the actual cause of devastation. Devastation did occur, but the transmission means seems to have been accidental rather than deliberate. Not that it was for want of trying, but it just didn’t work out that way. Go google up the wiki articles and then follow the reportage trail and see for yourselves. If you are biased, you won’t see very far, but do look anyway.
Then I tried to trace the question of whether syphilis had been dropped on the Old World by sailors returning from the New World in the late 15th century. There’s been a scientific fight – probably fueled by nationalism and racialism – about that for some time, but the thought that it was a Western hemispherical disease that spread east seems to be gaining the upper hand.
And then there is the thing about HIV virus coming out of Africa, but not through the agency of any shadowy CIA conspiracy – by the simple process of sex with the natives.
So perhaps the score cards are even. But still…handle them with gloves…
This used to be accompanied by de mouth full of Much Oblige’. I met many people who could do the routine perfectly. That decency seems to have gone by the boards lately – the gimmee is now the only thing that takes place.
It has, at least, streamlined the handling of the pan. I suppose it was a matter of efficiency – reducing the transaction to the basics; demand and supply – without pretending to a moral or social connection. In the hands of the government charity can be made cold, smooth, and mechanical – and like any cold, mechanical object it can lay dead to the touch. This must be a dreadful thing for those who actually need it – as opposed to those who take it for fun. If the latter might be miffed at their support being delayed or retracted, the former face real disaster.
My own experience of gimmee has been mostly one-sided – the support that health funds have afforded me in times of crisis were paid for with decades of premiums, good health, and no monetary return. I suspect I won the lottery of being healthy for the most part, but it seems like I should be complaining about it…Hmmm.
A recent brush with what purported to be charity but turned out to be bureaucracy and intrusion has convinced me that there is little to be expected from organisations – at least little that cannot be obtained with a revolver and a curt note thrust through the teller’s cage.
Other charities that ask for money based upon co-religion or implied guilt can go get stuffed. Particularly if their planned use of the money is gestures and theatre – I can mewl and puke for myself at a much reduced cost.
These individuals are related to Should Not Laugh and Will Not laugh. They are a close-knit family and support each other in silence.
a. Does Not Laugh. Never been seen to do so, and no-one has really seen DNL smiling either. In fact the thought of a smile is somewhat un-nerving. What would cause it? If jokes, cartoons, movies, songs and YouTube videos of mobile cranes falling into holes does not raise a titter, what would? The mind turns to darker things…
b. Can Not Laugh. This is actually sad, and may draw some sympathy from all of us. CNL has so many worries and woes that nothing seems funny . Nothing may never have, though we hope CNL might have had some fun at some stage of the game. People hope that this is only temporary, and try out new routines to see if they can get a smile.
c. Should Not laugh. Well, if you’re sitting on the magistrate’s bench – or for that matter sitting on the magistrate – the dignity of the court demands that you keep a sober mein. LIkewise police officers, air traffic controllers, and high church dignitaries. The Queen is allowed to crack up occasionally as no-one can say her nay. So are various presidents of various other nations, though some do it better than others. Angela Merkel on a laughing jag is not a pretty sight.
d. Will Not laugh. WNL is the pompous pain in the potatoes who denies any recognition of humour – probably because that would reward the joker. WNL is mean and tight and arrogant…which is why he or she seems to become the butt of satirical humour. Oddly enough, even some satirical writers – especially if they exist on the fringes of real journalism or real writing – exhibit this characteristic too. In their case it is fear of being bettered by someone with a new joke.
And I am not all that unhappy.
Not that the loss of a domestic appliance is a good thing – particularly as I am a person who likes the coffee that came out of it, and have several boxes of pods orphaned by the loss. ( Note I recycle the pods in accordance with the latest virtue-signalling on Facebook and produce pure oxygen and small kittens…)
The repairman charged for his time and diagnosis – which I understand completely. The prognosis was poor – the entire brewing unit would need replacing at $ 249. This is more expensive than many of the new coffee makers available in electrical stores – and they come with the correct warranties and even some cash-backs.
So it looks as though my Christmas is sorted. I should have liked liquor or model airplanes, but I realise that some things – like coffee – are essentials in modern life. I can Nescafé it the rest of the day, but after dinner is more serious.
If you never learn another thing…learn to shift gears smoothly.
The people who have automatic transmissions miss this skill – they jerk their T-bar into ” D ” and just accept whatever the unseen mechanism decides to do. In some cases this is flawless work, but in some it is a drag upon their resources.
And it can be worse if they are steering a motor car. Those car transmissions need a lot of maintenance.
What? You though this was all about motor cars in the first place? Wrong – it is about life.
You’ll do lots of things in life that happen at different speeds and under different loads; you’ll be a little kid one day with no responsibilities and a school student next day – with the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you cannot shift smoothly from a 4-year-old centre of the universe to the 5-year-old who is in line and quiet, you have trouble.
Likewise when you transition from grade school to high school – high school to university or trade training – and so on through your lifetime. Be assured that you need a good deal of strategy and patience to make the leap from employed person to retired one. You need to plan to speed up one set of gears while you are slowing another down to get them to mesh properly – you need a mental Synchromesh.
My transition involved writing these columns as well as hobby interests gathered over the years. I selected a couple that still resonated with me – ones that I could afford and could manage on a physical level. The result has been a smooth transition with no loss of traction. No gears grind and no teeth have broken off the idlers.
If I travel slower than before, and do not surmount such high hills of achievement, I can still take some comfort from the smoothness evident in the ride. It’ll stop one day, of course, but hopefully not from idleness or inattention.
As readers of this column may have gathered, I was given a timely reminder last month regarding the human condition. A mistaken operation led to an opportunistic infection and a hospital stay. There has been home time accompanied by medication, pain, and boredom.
There has also been attention from a governmental agency that suggests any real need that one may have will probably not be met. The agencies will churn and burn, but the chief product will be salaries for their employees and reports for their bosses. The patients they are tasked to help will get better or not, independent of any real help.
If you are laid up you miss going out, doing things, or participating in life. It rankles. There is only so much that you can do on a screen, even if you are an inveterate scribbler like myself. Eventually you long to take out the garbage and get a haircut – it may not sound like conquering Everest, but it is…
This week I started driving again. Slowly and carefully, but that is how I roll anyway. The little round of the shops, barber, and bank were a positive pleasure – so much so that I was courteous to the pests in the shopping mall who wanted to bail me up for promotions. That’s how much I have changed.
I daresay I’ll get blasé about it again in a few weeks, but right now I am appreciating life pretty well.