I live at home.
That means I get to say what the home looks like – and what it functions like – and one of the functions I insist on are good candles. Or, rather, good electric lights, well-placed.
People who live in commercial premises are subject to the designs of the owners of those premises. If the owners decide that the place will be lit with glow-worms and the dying embers of a peat fire, the visitors have to put up with it. If they are old visitors, they suffer doubly – mood lighting and cataracts do not mix, unless the mood you want to engender is resentment…
In my home I have a light where I need it and experiment has shown me what colour and intensity is best for the task. It can vary widely – the workbench in my Little Workshop has overlapping LED goosenecks while my reading chair has a soft incandescent behind the headrest. The bedroom has ceiling downlights that illuminate the bed for reading or Kama Sutra. The bathrooms have heater/light combinations that make mornings bearable.
Foresight and ingenuity on the part of my wife led to the installation of rooftop solar panels and a good deal of the electricity needed to run these night-time aids comes from them. I am grateful every night. Even on the nights that don’t have Kama Sutra…
We need not spend our days devising traps for our fellow men. Or women, for that matter. We can devote part of the time to good works and kindly activities. We can radiate sunshine and happiness. We can bless all around us.
And after we’ve lulled them into a sense of security we can fall on them like avenging demons. They’ll have slowed down enough during the good times to make for much easier targets.
Of course there are people who say this is cruel and deceitful upon our part – who say that we are merely taking advantage of people to wreak a more terrible revenge upon them. Well they said that about Lady Macbeth and Vlad the Impaler and that hasn’t stopped people from visiting Scotland or Transylvania, now has it? And what’s a little blood between friends? A sticky red pool, that’s what.
A lot of people think of kindness in big terms – like valuable gifts or especial politeness and suchlike. Really, it can be accomplished for very little outlay, after you pay for the knife sharpening. Try doing one kind deed for someone today and see how far it goes. For instance; if you see a pensioner on the side of the road struggling to escape the deadly toils of terrible poisonous serpents, don’t just speed away. Slow down or stop, wind down the window, and say Good Day. They appreciate these things, the pensioners and the serpents.
Children can sense kindness. They respond to it as flowers do to the sun – by wilting. So remember to water the under-5’s when they come to visit. And a sprinkle of chicken manure wouldn’t go astray, either…
Finally, remember that the key to a good marriage can be made in Heaven. Or by Yale. Get two cut and put one under the mat.
But I’ve been wrong about these things before…
I try. I really do try. Every day I attempt to have a good opinion of the people I meet. Some days are successful days and some days are just…well…days. But the good news is I am prepared to reset the mechanism at midnight and re-consider your character in the morning.
This means that in many cases you will have a chance to do better – to appear kinder and more intelligent and more honest than on previous occasions. And each time you do, it will raise you in my estimation. You may reach a plateau – like a level in a video game – that means each thing you do is going to earn you extra psychic points. This is wonderful, and eventually you may get to the point where you turn into a princess or a prince and the golden moneybags start to appear on the screen.
Conversely, every time you foist something on me via Facebook that has been supplied by the latest fake news source, you drop down a notch. Please be aware: there are only so many notches before we reach rock bottom.
In case this sounds really arrogant…well it is. It’s part of the mechanism that I employ to navigate through the world. So far I have hit remarkably few rocks and shoals and I’m willing to attribute this to the personal cynicism about which you are reading. As long as I keep it inside, it is not going to do you any more harm than you deserve. If you behave as a lady or a gentleman should, you will be treated as such.
And we will have a successful day.
Note: Unfortunately this sort of philosophy requires me to be a good person as well. It is annoying, but there you are. You can’t make omelettes without breaking expensive kitchen utensils.
I expect howls of outrage from the artists, as well as from the patrons of the Art Gallery of NSW, but as I am now on the other side of the country and have hunkered down into a safe position and adjusted my sights, I can begin sniping.
My target is not the makers of the art as such. I admire them for their skills – some at painting, some at sculpting, some at mulcting the public purse. They have managed to get their art into the gallery, been paid for it, and have gotten far enough down the road before the wraps came off to effect an escape. That’s better than John Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde were able to manage and I take off my hat to their success. If the man who signs the cheques for the art gallery loses his fountain pen they are all in trouble.
Note: Sad art about sad subjects is sad. Bad art about bad subjects is bad. Non-art is just not…
Okay. That’s the creatives done – now for the curatives…the people who spend public money to show off the stuff they bought with public money to the public…who get to see it for free. Free if they are not NSW taxpayers.
Is there a Bunnings handy? Or an IKEA? Or a GEC showroom? If there is, why not pop down there and have a look at the new light bulbs. They’re good value, and if you put electricity into the back of them and point them at the walls, people can see the art. With a bit of luck, some of the light bulbs will have a colour temperature higher than a glow-worm and the colours that the artists actually put on the canvas will be visible.
Or you could persist with the remnants of the ceiling skylights and a few yard lamps and let the whole thing look like a 1975 French film shot on old Ektachrome. Most of the artists are dead anyway, and apart from the occasional haunting, you probably won’t have any problems.
Worried about the colours fading? I got news for you – most of the canvases you have on the walls are painted in brown and brown lasts.
On a brighter note, the galleries that have windows do have colour, and the shop and café are well-lit. Otherwise you couldn’t see the price tags.