Touching A Land Mine With A Barge Pole

Also known as ignoring the warning bells and the voices in your head.

We have all done it at some stage of our lives, but I address myself to those who have not quite reached that stage. Unlike Wells Fargo, this stage doesn’t have a guard with a shotgun on the front seat.

We will all encounter situations where there is a little internal voice – or a faint hint – that tells us to back away. To avoid engaging. To be quiet and do it quickly. If we are intelligent, we listen to those voices. There may also be tiny silver bells, or submarine diving klaxons. In any case they invite us to heed and hold off. And how often have we ignored them…and ploughed ahead to disaster.

I can think of a dozen times when discretion would have been the better part of valour and disinterest the better part of friendship. Yet I only acceded to the call of wisdom in half of the cases – and got 6 bruises for the other half. I’ve lost money, friends, reputation, goods, and self-esteem by barging wildly into situations that needed me to be somewhere else.

This was bad news for me over the years, but fortunately each mental scar has the decency to throb in wet weather and remind me of itself – and I have gotten old enough to take lessons from my own past. I may not remember dates of battles won, but I do remember defeats. Each one has helped me far more than the victories.

I recently had an opportunity to step into the breach and ” do the right thing ” and cover myself with self-love…and I looked at the ceiling and walked on by. I also deliberately avoided doing bad things to good people and/or becoming a living saint. And I think I shall be much happier in all cases for it. I know how quickly good works can turn into bad times.

Land mines blast far further than barge poles can reach.

Do You High Five The Computer?

No. I point at it and yell ” Bumpah ! ” when I finish writing a knockout column.

Then I put it in the draft section and let it sit for at least a couple of days before I re-read it. If it is still ” Bumpah! ” I can post it. The two days lets me see the typos, and introduces a certain degree of calm into the thing. It also means that sometimes the exclamation is changed to”

” Trasho! ”

Thanks to Mr. W. Rogers, I am taking more of the opportunities to shut up that are presented to me. I hope silence will smooth relations with people in the future and serve as an elegant setting to the occasional flash of diamond-like wit.

Would that world leaders who resort to the mobile phone keypad whenever stressed to send out tweets were as cautious. It might prevent a great deal of angst in the rest of us.

Sensible or Sendable?

rageDecisions, decisions…

For those of us with social media accounts this can be a real thing. We see something that excites us and we wish to leap in there and comment immediately. Sometimes our emotions far outstrip our judgement. We grasp the wrong end of an argument and wave it about like a scimitar. And then make ourselves look like asses in front of our friends…

Worse – sometimes our immediate reaction to breaking news can be used later to affect proper procedures. Think about social media postings being used as an excuse to abort a sensational criminal trial. This is an unnecessary obstruction to justice, an additional impost on the court system, and a burden on the public purse.

I don’t know whether or not the ” social media frenzy ” defence has ever let a serious criminal escape justice, but the thing has been mentioned as a possibility. It is to be avoided.

To this end, I now look very carefully at what I post, before I hit the ” send ” button. I have written and then discarded some posts – venting steam here in the computer room, but not letting that steam escape. My final writing may not be politically correct, and may also contain the occasional spelinge mistuke but at least does not hamper real courts or real elections.