Getting The Flick

A friend once commented on Facebook about getting the flick socially, so I thought I’d address the topic. I, too, have gotten the flick on a number of occasions and can help with navigating the situation.

a. We will all get the flick at some stage of the game – regardless of how sociable, kind, worthy, honest, lovable, etc that we are. We can take some comfort in the reflection that we will also get it if we are mean, spiteful, vulgar, rude, dangerous, or smelly. The thing is not predicated upon our worth – it is independent of us.

b. We will sometimes get the flick when we are most sensitive…and we will feel it acutely. On other occasions it will pass unnoticed and we’ll be surprised by it years later. When someone cuts us but we do not wince or bleed it takes away a great deal of the significance of the act.

c. Sometimes other people notice the event and look carefully at us to see our reaction. At other times, they fail to see it entirely. The only significance of this is the encouragement it gives us not to notice the flick either.

d.  The flick can be casual or studied. If we are of no value to the flicker, it will be the first sort – if we are essential to them and they want to make sure that we are hurt, it will be the second. The deliberate flick, however, can be disguised to appear of no consequence.

Therein lies the best counter to it all. If someone essays to hurt you and you do not appear to be hurt, they are mired in frustration. Worse – if you are gracious to them, they are in a bad position themselves. Kindliness and polite attention can have roughly the same penetrating power as a 17 pounder anti-tank shell.

e. The flick only lasts as long as it is noticed. When it is forgotten it will either need to be repeated with more emphasis ( dangerous ) or lost forever. Old flicks are like the hollow shells of insects that you find under the sofa – you sweep them away without further interest.

 

 

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Which Is The Organ Of Truth?

And anyone who says ” Wurlitzer ” can leave the room.

No, which of our various parts can be said to be the best suited to determine truth or falsehood.? It’s a good question in an age riddled with fake news, click bait, and product-placement advertising. Here, hold my can of Valley Dew ™ sparkling pea-flavoured, famous throughout the world, beverage and I’ll type out the answer…

Is it the eyes? No, they are transparent structures – designed only to pass information in bulk as it is encountered. They make no judgements, being equally prepared to look at men, women, or Justin Trudeau. You can slip anything past the eyes.

Is it the ears? No again. The ears pick up anything within range – though there is the saving grace that they wear out faster than the eyes. The frequencies of sound that pass through them may stay the same but as people age, they are unable to hear the higher ones. If the makers of pop music and rap could be persuaded to raise their voices three octaves, we oldies would find the world a better place. We are prepared to help them to do this with a pair of bolt cutters.

Is it the sense of touch? Possibly – we can tell a rough surface from a smooth one for the most part, though again as you get older things become much the same. And as you become older, your opportunities to touch soft things diminish. A lot of us have to make do with cardboard cutouts of famous aviators and bagpipe salespeople.

Is it the sense of taste? Taste? That thing with the tongue? Have you ever tried some of the concoctions that a modern cocktail bar serves out? Raspberry Cointreau Rutabaga Surprise? I have no idea whether there was more surprise on the part of myself or the rutabaga. And who would willingly taste a modern politician? Apart, of course, from a White House intern…Ptui…

No, children, the organ of truth is the nose. When something you read, see, hear, or touch has an odour about it…whether it be an odour of fish, horse manure, or sanctity…it is false. Your nose does not lie – it can pick one molecule of rancid oil out of a million clean ones and the same with thoughts. If it stinks, it’s rotten.

Can you smell something? Is it my can of Valley Dew™?

What Grade Are You In?

One of the primary questions of our childhood. It determined how we were going to be treated by the other kid – if we were a rank up, we had to be deferred to – if a year down we could be dominated. Thank goodness that sort of thing stopped when we entered tertiary education, the military, or a corporate structure and were all mature and kindly adults…

Okay, okay, that was heavy-handed. Not everything can be rapier wit around here. Sometimes the bludgeon is closer to hand.

There were all sorts of rules about school status – and this in North American public education where equality was meant to rule. God knows how it must have been for the post-war British coping with their societal changes. As it is, their adults didn’t manage so well, let alone the kids.

Now, in Australia, there is really only one effective gradation system – money. No matter who or what you are, if you have it, you advance up the ladder. In most cases there is no sense of noblesse oblige so you needn’t be concerned with being seen as good or moral at the same time. All you need is the perceived ability to pay – you’ll generally not be required to do so. That’s how money works – it sticks to the fingers that have it.

But there is one out for this – the power of money and the status it confers can only extend to those who have it and those who want it.  Outside of these two groups, everyone else can see it with a wider vision – they can live life in spite of, and despite it. And none more able than the retiree.

Retirees – as distinct from railway hoboes – are people with enough money for their own purposes, but who may have no actual purpose. They are people freed from the clock. Of course the cosmic one still ticks, and they are a damn sight closer to the alarm going off than their younger counterparts. But until then, they can look at their nominal superiors and inferiors with a mild eye. A mild tongue too, if they are not provoked.

They can converse with the multi-billionaire easily – given that there is no prospect of any of the billions drifting their way. They need pay no lip service. In most cases they have seen it all before, and in many cases it was better done. They can be prevailed upon for advice and give it freely – not having to be responsible for it after it leaves their lips. It is not that they do not care – but they may be opting for a bit of destructive experimentation. Do not ask a retiree which wire to cut…

They can be kind without fear of reprisal. No-one expects them to be competent. No-one suspects them of it either…

It is a delightful time of life, if only people would realise it.

” Will You Ever Shut Up? “

When people ask you this assure them that there will come a time, when you do, indeed, shut up. No life goes on forever and even if you leave behind video tapes and recordings of yourself scolding your neighbours and relatives, eventually the recordings will wear out and a blessed silence will descend.

Writers have a better chance of pressing their opinions on others long after they are dead. These may be good things, like P.G. Wodehouse novels or rubbish like Samuel Johnson’s writings. The only real end to a writer’s influence comes when they go out of print and out of circulation – Voltaire is still going and Euclid shows little sign of ceasing any time soon as long as there are parallel lines or right angles.

We might grant some eternal influence to politicians and statesmen but these reputations tend to tarnish and rot more readily than those of the writers. Territories and resources are much more desirable than ideas, and new people will always arrive trying to acquire them. In the process they remove the old rulers, then their remains, and finally their history and their names. The unlucky ones are kept round as curiosities in museums or powdered for Chinese medicines. At least the mummies that may be ground up for this sort of thing have the satisfaction of being able to make some modern Asian fool sicker than when they started out.

I am grateful for the internet as it allows me to monopolise people’s attention for five or ten minutes every morning and no talking back. I suppose one day it will disappear in an EMP but until then I have an extremely small portion of the public eye or ear to remember what I said.

And to ignore it.

 

No Fool Like An Old Fool

We old fools are well served by that folk saying – it has the right ring about it to let young people laugh and lose interest in us. And then we can carry on with our nefarious plans. By the time they realise how dangerous we are it is too late.

Now I don’t want to alarm people – old folks are not demons incarnate, unless you are speaking about Rolf Harris, Bill Cosby, or Hilary Clinton. Most of us are cuddly and lovable and do not make stains on the carpet. But we are dangerous enough in our own right to require a bit of caution. Above all we should not be left unattended near the bookshelf or the computer. Some of us cannot be trusted.

The young have the advantage of us in that they have stamina, health, and sex to look forward to. We have the counter in that we had sex and it was better than the stuff you get nowadays ( including the nice-crispy sex you got before the war ) and that stamina and health are over-rated. Being sick means you get to do a lot more complaining.

We are allowed a great deal more latitude than the young, but they don’t realise that in most cases we do not need it. If people are going to be so indulgent as to forgive us our foibles that is all well and good – but they fail to understand that we don’t care whether we are forgiven or not. We are content to have a good time ( before 8:30 in the evening ) and let it go at that.

Folly, as it happens, is generally a youthful activity. They can love and hate and invest and war and over-eat with little sad consequence – we have learned differently, and know that any deviation from good sense brings bad times. So we are wise in spite of ourselves. It doesn’t preserve us, of course, but it does make us quieter in public places.

It Must Be True – Because I Read It

A. And if it wasn’t true they wouldn’t have printed it…

B. Because I read it. Me. Not some other unimportant person. Me.

C. And anyway, if it wasn’t true, it ought to be true.

D. Because I want it to be true.

F. No, I don’t remember where I read it. I just did. Somewhere.

G. And why are you asking all these questions? Are you a communist? You sound like a communist…

H. Because you’re asking all these questions, that’s why.

I. Go on – prove you’re not a communist.

J. That’s not proof. Anyone can belong to the Republican party and be a Catholic and a Knight of Columbus. You probably have DAS KAPITAL in your bookcase.

K. I’ll bet you voted for Trump. Or Putin. Or Clinton. Go-on. Try to weasel out of that one.

L. Well you would have if you were a citizen. That just goes to show you.

 

 

 

 

Possible Is Not The Same As Probable

And neither of them are proven. All three terms are separate in the language and the law. Time to separate them in social media.

Let us take the case of a public figure: Ronald Gump, the President of the Republic of North Mexico. Mr. Gump has the problem that his election angered his political opponents to such an extent that they have never let him be in peace to actually act as president.

They’ve found that the astute use of the social media can keep the man in the firing line of constant abuse and ridicule – even if there is no basis upon which to found this. All they need is people who are of the same mind* as they to keep passing and re-passing the memes – to keep suggesting and sneering and accusing and hinting. Once they start these things off, all they have to do is put in some suggestive headline – no matter how trivial  – to keep the ball rolling.

Mr. Gump would have been wise at the start of his presidency to ignore the social media entirely – as notice taken or anything said merely serves to fuel more hatred. The quick internet response can be a very damaging phenomenon.

The gravest casualty of this whole affair has been the faith which sane people used to put in the media – a credulity that has been largely destroyed. The term ” fake news ” has supplanted the older ones of ” propaganda ” and ” lies ” and makes things seem somehow more amusing and less harmful. ” fake ” is fake, and fake is never good.

*  I may have used the wrong word there. It probably should have been ” mindless “.