JORAL

If you are done with FOMO, and JOMO….if you are tired of Woke…if On Fleek sounds vaguely disgusting…we have a new buzzcronym for you. You can take it home, unwrap it, plug it in, and use it on the next unsuspecting listener at a party.

JORAL.

That’s it  – pronounced Johr-Al, it is not another character from an old Superman comic. It is what we all want to experience in today’s world. It stands for Joy Of Ruining A Language.

Now we all have some language skills – we cannot help it, being constantly bombarded by words and ideas from all sides. If we have only a family and a school to form us, we may have a limited vocabulary to keep up with the kewl kids in our crowd. If we take a dose of social media we can have more acronyms and buzz-words than we can handle. Occasionally we need to resort to the Urban Dictionary to see what exactly we have said – though we can get a clue when people spit on us whenever they meet us…

JORAL takes a perfectly innocuous word or phrase and turns it into something vile…and in the process ruins it for ever more. Take the word ” HSOASF” A simple word we often use, particularly in the baking trade or amongst the Amish people. It now turns out to be an acronym for Hold Someone Over A Slow Fire. Hardly the sort of thing that we want to appear on our CV or resumé.

Or REBORK. I hesitate to explain this one, as there may be children reading.

And so it goes – any number of words have been turned into weapons of terror. We cannot be sure what we have said, even if it has passed the Spellchecker stage.

JORAL. That’s what it is.Now get out there and spread the word about not spreading the word.

 

 

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When To Seem Helpless…

It might be a little odd to advise people to try to seem helpless. After all, some are that way naturally, and do not need to simulate it – some are never helpless, and are better for that. But those of us in the middle…sometimes competent and confident, and sometimes a quivering mass…need to know when to turn it on and when to turn it up…

a. If you are trapped in a dark alley between outlaw motorcycle gangs and rabid dogs, do not appear helpless. It only encourages them. Take the opportunity – perhaps your one and only one – to go mad and bad and dangerous to approach. Go incandescently insane.

b. If you are in a position where dignity is foremost, do not show any helplessness. Stiffen your upper lip and any other portions of your body that may seem appropriate, and behave like a gentleman or a lady. If you cannot decide which of the two to be, go icy and reserved. No-one likes to touch a corpse.

c. In all other circumstances…act helpless. It pays dividends.

If you go to any government agency…or really any office at all…you can be assured that they have more rules than ever you know about, and even when they provide an explanation, it is to their satisfaction, not yours. Here the helpless act compels them to assist in some way. Even if it is just to get rid of you before morning tea break, they will expedite the process.

Likewise professional offices will assist with their own professional processes…if you stand back and let them proceed. Be kind to the receptionist and let her solve the problems she could make you if you were argumentative and entitled.

Helplessness also will get assistance from people in shops, service stations, on the buses and trains, and really anywhere that is public enough. Do not exploit it, but reserve it for times when something really is all too much. Likewise, step up and assist someone else who you can see failing.  That’s the secret to being moral. That and not setting fire to haystacks.

And That’s Why They Make Swivel Guns

Look it up: swivel gun. Google should have a few pictures from maritime museums. Try to imagine the fun you could have with your own.

And it’s not just the owners of merchant ships passing the east coast of Africa who might appreciate a brace of ’em. Local boat owners who get sick of other people crowding them out in the marinas…or who are afflicted with saboteurs attacking their vessels while docked. Indeed, the Rottnest ferry would probably benefit as well.

The whalers and fishermen who are pestered by the Sea Shepherd gangsters would also appreciate the devices…after all the maritime nuisances do have a skull and crossbones as a symbol and I think that makes them fair and traditional game for a charge of canister over the taffrail.

For myself, as I do not own a boat, I would settle for just the one…mounted on the driver’s side door of my Suzuki Swift with a friction primer and the lanyard led inside through the window. I would use it in our local shopping centre car park for the drivers who loom up and menace you when you are trying to carefully back in or out. I would not be too mean…perhaps load it with Jaffas instead of grapeshot.

If it’s good enough for Johnny Depp and Geoffry Rush, it’s good enough for me.

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.

Who Do You Choose To Scold You?

Tell me that, and I’ll tell you who you choose to rule you.

Now, I realise that when we are young, and small, and unformed, we may be ruled and scolded by whoever is older, larger, and bolder. But nearly all of us arrive at a point in our lives when we are old enough, big enough, and smart enough to set ourselves free from this sort of control. Yet so many of us still shrink back into the harness…

If we pass our time as employees, dependants, or enlisted personnel, we are often not allowed to choose our own oppressors. They are attached to us by the company, army, or family within which we subsist . We are ruled by decree, in no better situation than the medieval serf. So few of us stiffen and rise with pitchfork and tumbril that we might as well just relax into the chains. But some of us do have a choice, and therein lies that interesting question that formed the title of this essay.

Many of us have married, partnered, or shacked up with someone, and like as not this has led to one or other being the scolder of the household. Sometimes it is a mutual arrangement that divides the topics of discontent and allows both people to alternately bark and cringe. It can be awkward to find it only on one side, but then there are ways to correct this…which I will not go into for fear my readers try them out.

Then there is the modern phenomenon of social media, where we can be bombarded by friends and acquaintances with some of the most arrant nonsense…much of it third-hand…and sit blandly through it. Fortunately there are mechanisms to shut it away or off completely if it becomes too shrill. And as long as you do not number Jane Fonda or Justin Trudeau amongst your Facebook friends you can shut the laptop down and pretend that it just did not happen.

For myself, I like to be scolded by historical figures; Thomas Paine and Voltaire for preference. Occasionally I’ll take a little snifter of Sinclair Lewis, but only if I ignore his biographical details.

As far as putting up with local politicians, social critics, and the entitled aussietocracy…I choose to snap my fingers at them.

 

Our Thoughts And Prayers Are With You.

Unless your thoughts and prayers are accompanied by armour and good air cover, you can keep them to yourself.

The social media wish is a thin substitute for the actual visit, just as the meme is a thin substitute for actual thought. Sympathy is a fine sentiment, but if you remove the ” nt ” from the word and substitute ” d ” you’ll be a lot closer to the truth. Pure sympathy is noble to contemplate but practical interest is the only thing that really sticks.

In my recent minor confinement I was visited by the wife and daughter, and they buoyed me immensely. I was also visited by two other friends at the end of their long work days and that boosted me even more. At the same time I recognise that others would have called but were kept away by their employment schedule or their own illnesses. I did get one delivery of pre-made dinner, too, which is even better.

Is this a lesson for me? Yes. Actually, I get a lot of lessons, if I am wise enough to observe and learn:

a. I’ve learned in the last few years not to obtrude myself on others after they drop my acquaintance – they have their lives to live and their own thoughts to guide them.

b. I’ve learned not to be offended at being stood up. Some people have no concept of social manners.

c. I’ve learned to place troublesome or disturbed individuals behind a personal  barrier, and neither to annoy them nor to allow them to annoy me. The thing can be done discretely.

d. I have learned not to champion others’ causes without finding out the entire story. One side presented is just one side – you need both to have a good idea of what to think or do.

e. I have learned to keep silent when speaking would not help…and vice versa.

f. I have learned to distrust the internet implicitly. I still have faith in the Australian Women’s Weekly and Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine, however, as you do need some anchor in your life.

g. I have learned to distinguish a commercial proposition from a social one.

 

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…