When Someone Starts It Up

The” it ” can be anything – sex talk, politics, religion, a lawn edger…anything. You’ll know it’s ” it ” because everyone will edge away from the speaker and start to examine the paintwork on the cornices. Some will remember appointments and some will answer their mobile phones …” There’s an emergency at work and they need me…”. The fact that they have been retired for years might give you a clue. A clue that the topic is unpleasant, unwelcome, and unnecessary.

The wise person seeing this reaction will pull up and ask themselves whether they have been riding their hobby horse too fast – indulging their rhetoric a little freely – making a right prat of themselves. The unwise person will make use of the deadly silence that has descended on the crowd to get off more Trump jokes or try to convert the infidel.

The unfortunate part of this all is that the social media we all love has pointed us in the diametrically opposite direction from that of previous generations – we are now positively encouraged to be offensive, overbearing, and lewd. And the sad thing is we are being trained to do this to protest against people who are offensive, overbearing, and lewd. We tar ourselves with our own toothbrush.

Let us all resolve and publicly declare that we will be polite, careful, and discrete in the next twelve months. We will set off none of the media trigger wires that they so generously rig across our computer screens. We will cut everyone some slack, even to the point of cutting it so slack that they fall off the edge of the social media platform and are lost forever. We will allow dissent from our obviously perfect understanding of the universe – on the principle that they’ll find out how wrong they are when it’s too late and we’ll laugh at them as they are hauled away in a tumbril to a well-deserved execution.

Where did I put my knitting?

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” I Have Loved You From Afar…”

Cut out the title of this column and keep it ready by the phone. You are bound to get a scam phone call from India around tea-time and it is a very good phrase to use. If you do it with a sweet voice and then say ” Alas…” and let your voice trail away, the caller will not bother you again. They may go home to their little Indian flat in the heat of the night and scratch themselves all over, but that is not your affair.

There are other words and phrases that can help us through our day.

a. ” You are the one I saw yesterday. ”

This is a perfectly innocuous statement that can be spoken to nearly anyone in a public place. It has the ring of truth. It is also quite disconcerting, but no-one knows why.

b. ” You may speak to me now. The restrictions have been lifted. ”

Ditto for (a.). A little riskier because you may find that they have not spoken to anyone for a month and this will open the floodgates. If they start to become agitated, threaten to call a policeman. Call the policeman a bad name and then say the other person said it.

c. ” Your prices seem a little low. I was hoping to pay more. ”

This said to any retail seller will ring alarm bells throughout their whole body. If you then leave the shop they will be left wondering whether they have made a serious mistake somewhere. When they decide to raise their prices storewide, come back in and demand a discount.

d. ” Does your food contain ingredient 453B? Because I am not allowed to eat 453B. It’s on the EEC schedule 2, you know. Do you have a list of ingredients? ”

This said in any eatery, from Jamie Oliver to a pie cart, will cause the owner to bristle like a warthog. The wise ones will throw a pan of hot fat at you and have done with it – the foolish will try to argue their way out of it.

e. ” You were recommended to me by your competitors. “…here you can insert the name of an actual business rival for better effect.

The person you are speaking to will be flattered and frightened. Are you a plant or a trojan horse designed to make a nightmare of the place? Have you been so unpleasant at another shop that they have desperately sent you here? Or are you a chance for a big sale?

A variant on this is to say that you have been recommended by several other firms – and give their names…but the kicker is none of them are in the same business as the shop you are in…

f. ” Do you mind being recorded for evidence? ”

If they say yes, you ask what they have to hide. If they say no you ask whether they realise what is being said about them at the department. Have them speak clearly into your top coat button.

Be Careful Who You Curse

Note: For the North American market – curse here doesn’t mean foul language or swearing – it means actually drawing the wrath of whatever down upon your enemies. You can swear all you like.

The business of cursing someone is a serious one. You should not do it lightly nor wantonly. You must reserve it for occasions when it is really necessary. This is not because your curses will lose potency if they become too common – it is because they may very well precipitate disaster for the victim.

Calling down the wrath of Heaven ( or raising a similar affliction from Hell ) should never be a matter of petulance or smart aleck behaviour. Both Heaven and Hell have more important things to do than act as your minions. Do not invoke them unless it is a serious matter indeed. They are not patient.

Consider before you curse whether there is another, milder, way to resolve the problem – a fist fight or stabbing or somesuch. If you have access to anti-tank artillery, use that. It is far kinder to put a 17-pounder round through someone’s door than to spit on a coin and throw it across their threshold. The AT shell will only make a big hole – the coin will destroy anything it touches – lives, reputations, businesses, etc.

Do not curse if a blessing would prove more helpful. Or damaging. Blessings are generally more acceptable to Heaven, though they may not be acted upon. It is the optional nature of the thing that lets them be racked up on a spike and attended to whenever there is enough spare time. Curses need answering right now.

Of course, the right now may be in galactic terms. Many of them take generations to come to fruition and people who are eventually sitting there covered in dung do not connect the actions of their ancestors to their fate. This may not seem to be rewarding to the cursor ( or is that curser? I can never tell. ) but if you take time to see far enough into the future you can get some inkling of the effect. The first American Indians who let tobacco loose upon mankind  probably never saw a lung cancer case in their short lives – but they can look down from the Happy Hunting Ground now and see what a curse they unleashed.

The reader of this essay who is skeptical about it will not draw a curse from me. They are free to think for themselves. But they are directed to enquire about the fate of the Han’s Café business.

 

I Must Have The Wrong Post Office

I read repeated complaints about our postal service – Australia Post. As well as the loss of posted items there is the performance of the delivery service and the terrible manners of the counter staff in the actual post offices. Social media are rife with angst. Yet I seem to have missed out.

I deal with my local post office agency in a small shop in Bull Creek Shopping Centre. It is a dedicated affair – not shared with a newsagency or other business. The staff seem a constant lot – it may be that they are members of a family.

I buy stamps, CD mailers, envelopes, and pay many of my bills over their counter. They are efficient, cheerful, and invariably polite. We exchange ” Good Morning  ” greetings and please and thank you as a matter of course. They are extremely obliging about helping me to fill out any overseas forms needed if there is unusual postage required.

If this same family were to migrate to another business I would follow them there for the level of kindness and civility that they show.

And I do not have any trouble with postal deliveries either.

What Do You Do After You Lift The Flat Rock?

Or in this case, what do you do after someone makes a particularly inappropriate political posting on a social media site?

Conventional manners suggest that you just ignore it. Sex, politics, and religion being the topics that are socially awkward at parties, they are avoided by the polite. But social media is sometimes occupied by the less-than-polite. The horrifying thing is when you discover that someone you  invited as a Facebook friend was willing to bring crass propaganda posts in and plaster them up. it’s like seeing fascist or communist banners unfurled at a cocktail party.

I may have done the wrong thing in the heat of the moment by responding with a comment that jeered at the propaganda. This might result in the original poster taking umbrage and cutting the connection. Awkward – it is a person I will see in the future at social events. I predict chilly atmospheres a’coming.

Well, so be it. I need no preaching or teaching from the marxists or the fascists. I can lead my own social revolution with the BGA. We do not march in the streets but we do lurk on street corners and spit into the gutter.

Ve Germans Haff A Sense Of Humour

As you will haff noticed, my name iss a Teutonic one. It iss from the Tyrol where my Grossvater has come. He wass in Amerika from many years and I am here in Australia until now.  So I haff a connection to the Old Country…in fact to several old countries.

I wish to address the libel that iss promoted that Germans haff no sense of humour. This has been the standard of jokes throughout the Western world since 1914. The Eastern world iss too serious for this sort of thing – they regard the German nations as carousels of comedy.

The libel iss false! Ve haff as strong a sense of humour as anyone. The fact that we do not haff a native Mr. Bean does not bar us from appreciating him, though ve would not vish that he was a German or Austrian citizen. After Brexit this will be less of a danger.

Ve haff many jokes – you must look up back copies of ” Simplicimus ” to see this and there are amusing cartoons of the German Imperial general staff there as well. Wise people do not laugh at them in public, however.

Vee also participate in ze jokes that ask how many people are required to screw in light bulbs. But we know the secret that they are not screw-based bulbs. They are bayonet -based bulbs, and if zere iss one thing that a German iss good vith it iss a bayonet. Zat iss why ve only need one person.

And ve are as ready as anyone to laugh at ze Amerikan President. It iss fashionable and makes us look better by comparison. Ze fact that we were not fast enough to erect a border wall around Deutschland in the last couple of years to prevent the sort of thing that he complains of iss neither here not there – but ve are not laughing quite so hard about zis.

If you vant people who haff no sense of humour, try the Swedes.

 

 

 

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.