I’m Not Sorry I Met You…

I just regret that it was at a dinner-dance and not the morgue.

We can all think of people we wish we had never encountered. Ex-partners, schoolyard bullies, dishonest employers, social-club sponges, etc. Of course there are people we regret for the sake of the world; Putin, Trudeau, Mussolini, etc. but they are somewhat removed from our own circle and in most cases we need not take any responsibility for whatever it is that they have done. They are roaches that have not run over our feet.

By the same token, we must be fair – there are undoubtedly people in the world who think of us as unmitigated blisters and regret our acquaintance.  We’ll know of some but be surprised to learn of others – it is a sobering moment when you find out that a friend regards you badly. What we do about this discovery depends upon our characters and the time-frame involved…if the revelation comes in the middle of soup while dining at the Bishop’s palace, all you can really do is continue slurping and excuse yourself after the savoury. Or pour the tureen over your enemy. Equally good.

The best time of all is to be had watching two separate individuals who have both confided  previously in you that they detest the other…and then see them brought together by  circumstance and forced to be civil. If you can arrange the meeting, so much the better. Just be close by as the atmosphere cools and the language stiffens. It is better than a play, though not quite as good as an Auto da Fé.

Is it fair to set these things up? No, of course it isn’t. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, here is how you do it:

a. Determine who hates whom. Only the loudest of mouths will advertise themselves in this way – the others need careful attention and the occasional trick question. Try Donald Trump as a touchstone for this and ask if anyone in the social circle reminds your victim of Trump. Or use Justin Trudeau, if you don’t mind the sort of language this will generate.

You goal is not to find someone who hates everybody, but someone who dislikes someone – in particular. It need not be overweening hatred – distaste will do nicely. Then find out if the object of this negative emotion entertains a reciprocal dislike for the first person. If they do, you have your fighting pair.

b. Bring them together. Social club gathering are good for this, as are barbeques, theatre nights, and sporting events. If you can arrange things well, you will have major ingredients to hand with little obvious work.

The ingredients? A crowd who knows one another and who is drinking alcohol. This gives you an audience and a chemical that relaxes natural caution while fuelling passion.

Find a space that does not allow either party to stay aloof to start with nor to escape readily as things heat up. Like a fission reaction, it must all be contained for a microsecond to build up enough pressure to detonate.

c. Introduce a topic upon which they disagree. It need be no more than the correct way to spike tyres – the main thing is to arrange it so that they are both right in the eyes of themselves, wrong in the eyes of others, and unable to back away from the fight. Politics, religion, and sex are always good for this. If you can get them to fight over nothing that anyone else understands it is even better.

d. Try to calm them down by reminding them that people are watching. This will have the effect of making more people watch. See if you can get people to video it on a mobile phone and to be seen by the combatants doing so….It is encouraging and modern.

Make peace by telling them that they are grown-ups. This will bring out the childishness. If you can go beyond shouting and scuffles to actual hair pulling and scratching, you have a chance for a viral YouTube clip. Your combatants will cherish this in years to come.

 

 

Advertisements

The Handfull Ob Gimmee

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.

 

 

Ritual Murder

Don’t be too shocked – I am not up to dark deeds dressed in ceremonial robes. I am not even dressed in my bathrobe.

Perhaps I should have phrased it better …” Rituals Are Murder “. There, that’s a little less sensational and a little closer to my true feelings. I hate rituals.

In that word you can include religious practices, state ceremonies, time-honoured academic behaviour – both foolish and solemn, and pretty much every other form of official theatre.

I do not decry actual behaviour, procedures, checklists, and anything else that has a real purpose over and above self-indulgent show. Mounting the guard at Buckingham Palace is a ritual but it has a basis in utility. At least I hope it does…I would be terribly sad to think that the troops’ rifles were unloaded. And that they could not let off a few down The Mall occasionally.

Likewise, I would not deny others what comfort they might take from their rituals, as long as I am not compelled to stand there and solemnly nod, kneel, or publicly weep in unison with them. I am prepared to meet them half-way as long as it is in the lounge bar of the hotel and the ritual is long over.

Will I ever make a public figure? No, because I should not be able to stand the pressure of ritual. At some point I would fall out, break wind, and slope off to the pub.

Not So Much The Nudity…

As the shrieking…but then I have not attended that many church services or shareholder’s meetings to know whether it was normal procedure. I’m guessing not, if the reaction of the guard dogs and their handlers was any indication.

I will say that it was entertaining to a certain point. The music was nice, for a harpsichord, and the lighting was actually well done. I thought the follow spot on the guillotine was a real bit of theatre. I appreciate lighting.

But there comes a time when you start to wonder what reaction is expected of you. I mean, apart from buying a chocolate ice cream or a big orange drink at the snack bar. I try to limit myself to a small box of chocolate-covered raisins as I never carry more than $ 50 cash anywhere. In the past I have been known to sneak a candy bar into the show in my pocket but I think they scan the seats with an IR scope to detect this…

In any case, I appreciate it when they have a placard out the front stating when the actual sacrifice is to take place, so that if you need to go to the toilet, you do not miss out on the cutting or the blood spurts. I’ve been to these things before and timed it wrong…and it just seems like an anticlimax if you get back into your seat and there is nothing to see but entrails and a guy with a mop.

I think that these affairs are getting better since the 70’s. Now that the old-school promoters are retired there is a more modern feel about it all. Gone are the days of the hatchet. Now you can do twice as much in half the time with an electric chain saw from Bunnings and the pace is much faster. I’ll bet the cleanup crew are happier too, what with the pressure-wash Karcher units and modern detergents.

 

Do You Go To Church?

…asked the Muslim social worker of the old Jew in his living room, as she filled out a form for aged care assistance…

Really one of the oddest exchanges that I have had recently. The form seems to have the logo and imprimatur of the Australian federal government in a special department for the aged, and a logo from another organization that may offer help. In this case the help they offered seems to be a booklet and a note that my goal is to get my injured leg back to good health.

From the church question, I am assuming it is a pious hope…

As no more was done all week, at my latest visit to the physician, he short circuited the whole departmental rigmarole by ringing up the local chemist to see if they sold pressure bandages. They did, I called in and bought one, and pulled it on myself. We’ll be checking in a week to see that healing is progressing.

In the meantime I will keep my phone on and my ears open for the assistance that the bureaucratic department will offer. But I shall not hold my breath. Nor expend it singing hymns, for that matter…

Things I Never Write About

While I have treated of many topics here on ” Here All Week ” over the past six years, there are some that I do not deal with. Others may approach them, but I do not feel myself qualified to comment. Certainly I do not think I could make things better.

a. Suicide.

I have known a number of suicides in the last few decades. All of them had a history of distress, but few of their acquaintances knew to what depth it went. Two instances were reported truthfully, and one was clothed in deception.  One I have decided to believe the report, though I strongly suspect it. In the end it is all the same.

b. Adultery.

Is that still a thing? It would be for me, but I may be living in a parallel universe. I should not know how to deal with it, in any case.

c. Family abuse.

I recoil from it when I hear, and wish never to hear more…but for the sake of the victims, there are occasions when it should be boldly and openly discussed. I can offer cake and sympathy but sometimes I have no idea what to say. Have some more cake…

d. Extremist politics and religion.

I can stand a certain amount of Trump-bashing or Morrison-bashing before I react, and the reaction is mild anyway. I also grit and grim ( as opposed to grip and grin ) when I see racism, sinophobia, or xenophobia tricked up in pseudo patriotism and generally just let it through to the keeper…in the knowledge that no-one wants to keep it anyway. I am inclined to ignore ignorance.

I do not react well in other areas – when someone decides to be anti-Semitic or anti-American thinking it to be kewl. But I have been able to rein in my replies reasonably well – the 30-day snooze button on Facebook has been a godsend. But, like a snooze button on a clock radio, you can only press it so many times before you decide to just unplug the damn thing and throw it away.

Note: I am more aware these days of the psychological consequences of associating with idiots and ratbags, and seek to reduce this to a minimum. If Facebook friends are still able to read this as a shared message, they may take it as a favourable endorsement of their characters. Otherwise…

 

 

 

SIn For The Sinless – On Being An Armour-Piercing Saint

If you are pretty well free of sin and error – like Mother Theresa, the Dalai Lama, or the Pope – you may feel that going to confession is a bit of a waste of time. Oh you might scrape up something like inattentiveness or the vague desire to take a third tea-cake, but you’ll be scrapping to interest the confessor on the other side of the grill. If you irk them they’ll just tell you to go and get blessed…

None of us are that good, but still, many of us have never set fire to an orphanage or touched a supporter of the Democratic Party in an inappropriate manner…and thus we struggle to make a meaningful confession or profession. We hesitate to attend. The BGA business model will change that.

We welcome news of sin and malignancy, but in the BGA booth you need not tell your own. You are free…and indeed encouraged…to tell that of others. The wider your vision of the faults of humanity can range and the more accurate and detailed your information can be, the quicker you can get out of the booth and the higher your standing with the Guild will be. To put it frankly, if you can bring us the goods, you need not pay the gold coin. In some cases it can be quite the opposite…

We all know people who do the right thing by others. Let us forget them for the present. Now concentrate on your friends and relations who really DO have something to hide – tell us all about them. We’ll even allow you a little leeway in the matter of strict truth if the story is juicy enough.

If there is one thing we have learned from the internet and social media, it is the elasticity of truth…

Of course we are prepared to grant you absolution, insofar as it is in our power to do so. Which is pretty well not at all. But the great thing is that you will have been enabled to traduce, calumniate, denigrate, and defame those of whom you disapprove from the safety of an anonymous structure in a public place. And with no consequences – save the occasional beating with a suggested post.

As we said – if there is one thing we have learned from the internet and social media, it is that we have learned two things…