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.

 

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I Need A Scold

I’m sorry to be bothering you…but could you please tell me off? I need to be criticized as soon as possible.

It’s after 6:00 AM and no-one has told me that I am wrong for voting for someone who they do not like. No-one has suggested that I am a bad, bad person for thinking different thoughts from them, eating what I like, and living my own life. I am starting to get very nervous.

I tried self-criticism, like they did in the cultural revolution, but all I go was an earnest encouragement to smelt more pig-iron and march for total electrification of the Ukraine. It’s just not the same as someone browbeating me on social media – I miss the memes.

Of course I can always get a sort of low-grade fix by going down to the local train station dressed in a kilt or a Marie Antoinette dress. People will stare and snigger, and as long as I’m prepared to imagine them making cutting remarks, I can sustain quite a decent level of self-hatred. It gets a little fraught in Pride Week when they start to applaud and/or hit on me.

The dog is no help. Dogs always wag their tails and want to be patted. The cat is a bit better because cats can sneer…but the smell of a can of tuna buys their affection and I’m left bobbing about in a sea of self-congratulation…and what good is that to me when I have a full Goth wardrobe and a poisoned dagger.

I’m hoping for a toothache or boil on the neck next week to cheer me up. Or down.