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Wednesday, 20 March 2019


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An Occasional Series of Random Thoughts

Stop assuming that freedom means no laws, rules, boundaries, limits, morals or simple manners. Whatever we think, whatever we want to say and do, we should remember that we are human beings in a world of such creatures and should conduct ourselves by treating others the way we would want them to treat us. But if you want to be a cretin, feel free. If you want to be selfish, feel free. If it’s me, me, me, feel free but if you get punched in the face a few times, you’ll know why.

Stop assuming social media gives you an automatic right to be a dick. Twitter is what it is. It’s for twits, mainly, who want to increase and share rather than cut the crap.

Stop thinking outside the box. Like a lot of business managers, I have been to many meetings and conferences and been in conversation with colleagues and bosses about life, the universe, everything and all the bs in between.  More often than not, someone will say eventually:  “It’s not rocket science” or “Let’s think outside the box”.  It is the latter expression that intrigues me. Who owned the first box and who was the first thinker outside of it? What was in the box before it was an empty box that we could climb into, get a mental block and then get out of it to think things through?  When was the decision made to get in and out of a box as a process of contemplation? What happened to the original thinker’s box? When did thinking inside the box become such an untrendy thing to do?  We hear this “outside the box” stuff so often that is has become pretty meaningless, rather like that rocket science blah.  If we all thought outside the box, some guru would start to encourage us to do the opposite.  We never seem to elaborate on the “think tank” idea by suggesting that people should think outside of the tank, do we?  If we had our thinking cap on, no one suggests we think with the cap off.  The inventor of exterior box thinking thought he was onto something and I wonder if he ever considered thinking about his invention inside or outside of another receptacle altogether – a bin, a carton, a crate, a chest, a basket, a hamper, a cauldron, etc, etc. To take it to extremes, what about a tropical fish thinking outside the aquarium, or a dog thinking outside the kennel, or a bird thinking outside the nest, or a corpse thinking outside the coffin or a window cleaner thinking outside the bucket? Okay, I’ll stop this nonsense. Let’s get rid of the box and just, er, think inside our heads!

Stop all this nannying and fannying around with mixed advice on food and drink. Food, diet and health all have their actual or well-spun controversies, crises, epidemics, etc.  Supermarkets need a bloody good overhaul to make things clear to the dumb, dense, witless public (for that is what we are folks in the minds of the behavioural nudgers in politics and business). So, here it is. My revolutionary supermarket layout to satisfy nanny and matron, and to guide us to the promised land of long life and happiness. All the talk about retail regeneration, clarity for customers and healthy living, got me thinking that all food stores, large, medium and small, should adopt this simplest form of layout. Asking customers to read product labels is a non-starter. Too much information. Too much blah. Too much cover-your-arse verbiage. Here's the solution: four sections all painted - floors, walls, and ceiling to avoid any confusion:
Green zone: Contains all food and drink that Matron says is very, very good for us. Load up.
Amber zone: Contains all food and drink that Matron says is not too risky. Easy does it.
Red Zone: Contains all food and drink that Matron says is bad for us - but it's our choice to enter this zone. Risk it for a calorie-loaded biscuit.
Black zone - Contains all food and drink that Matron considers extremely bad for us even though it might be the tastiest selection - enter if you dare!
There you go. Simple as that. No need for expensive research. It's worth a pilot, surely. 
Food and drink industries and the health of the nation are saved.

Stop treating libraries as community hubs, crèches, nurseries, playgrounds, youth clubs, silver surfer sanctuaries and gigantic phone booths. They are places for books, reading, study, quiet contemplation, not indoor playgrounds for kids to run around in or places for adults to shout into their mobile phones, chat loudly or cackle uncontrollably. Sssssshhhhh. 

Stop buying personalised car number plates. A55 H0LE5.

Stop reinventing, reshaping, remoulding, rewriting Star Trek. We get it. We got it a long time ago. These days the pointy-ear guy must be offending somebody. Enough.

Stop playing screechy diva soul music in coffee shops or else I will counter it by reading my newspaper in a high-pitched voice, slurping my coffee loudly, smacking my lips as I eat a pastry and burping with all the gusto of Desperate Dan.

Stop politicians and environmental lobby groups from dictating how much plastic we use. If you give me the choice of war (you know, that thing that bombs the shit out of the planet) and plastic, I’ll take my chances with the plastic.

Stop wasting political party money on printing manifestos that will be shredded the day after elections. Fewer manifestos, a decline in supplies of shredded paper and a hamster cage bedding crisis is the worst scenario.

Stop inventing scientific-sounding ingredients for cosmetics, lotions and potions and just admit it’s snake oil infused with gook de gobble and a dash of balder.

Stop making ordering a coffee complicated and such a slow process. Here’s an idea. Have a jug of instant next to the machine for us people who just want a cup of coffee- like now!

Stop assuming that if you achieve even the merest hint of fame that it gives you an automatic right to become an expert on life, lifestyle, health, happiness or whatever hoohah you want to peddle. Fame does not make a schmuck intelligent.

Stop attacking, insulting and rubbishing people when they are alive and then give them a glowing eulogy once they shuffle off. ‘He was a little shit’ altered to ‘he was the salt of the earth’ is as false as it sounds.

Stop TV news channels referring to every celebrity slip, trip, fall, belch and fart as ‘breaking news’. Breaking news like breaking wind stinks of barrel-scrapings most of the time.

Stop TV continuity announcers from telling us about a forthcoming programme seconds after we have seen a trailer for the same forthcoming programme. Some of us aren’t six.

Stop the bandits who install ‘no change given’ ticket machines in car parks and elsewhere. It’s called stealing.

Stop people eating with their mouths open and doing that aaaaaahhhhh thing after every drink.

Stop sports stars from remaining tight-lipped during the national anthem after they declare allegiance to their country and kiss their shirts lovingly. Hypocrisy United.

Stop continuing to make the airport experience miserable and find ways to make it exciting and pleasurable again. Start by getting rid of that morose security woman from my last trip or at least get her to trim what looked like the makings of a Hitler moustache on her curled top lip.

Stop referring to every new album release as ‘essential’. Essential is food, clothing and shelter. CDs are way, way down the list unless you eat them, make a coat out of them or build an igloo with them.

Stop overusing the words ‘crisis’ and ‘epidemic’ willy-nilly in news reporting to emphasise issues and to create a climate of fear, worry and doom. Issue A can be a ‘problem’ and issue B can be a ‘concern’. Ease up, Grim Reapers.

Stop producing lists of the 1,001 things we must read, see and listen to before we die. If anyone ever devotes the time and reaches the very last items on the lists, you’re life will probably be about done anyway, so mission accomplished. Well freakin’ done!

Stop looking for insults and things to complain about whenever someone is trying to tell a joke. Some jokes are insulting and worthy of complaints, of course, but crying boohoo at just about every wisecrack is not big, clever, necessary or even remotely funny. Wise up.

Stop shouting in the street when making or taking a mobile phone call. The phone is geared up to detect a whisper, let alone a conversation in a normal voice, so keep your comments, opinions, arguments and social arrangements to yourself. Or just shut the hell up.

Stop celebrity fitness DVDs. Just stop.

Stop wasting money on fitness equipment and fitness club membership unless you are really, really, really serious about all that palaver. Beware of all the advertising just after the Christmas binge and all those slogans to make you feel ashamed of yourself and all those photos of six-pack and firm abs people, you know the ones with that strange orange glistening-glow and blindingly white teeth. You will never be one of them.

Stop hogging the middle lane of motorways. Move to the slower lane or the faster lane but, whatever, get out of my bloody way. It’s my turn.

Stop actors pretending to drink scalding coffee out of obviously empty cups. Acting school should give lessons in how to sip hot beverages realistically rather than ignore that annoying thing where the actor buys the coffee and immediately starts to drink it with the cup at a 90-degree angle to the mouth.

Stop crowding entrances to buildings with your gangs of smokers. You smoke if you want to. I’ll not smoke because I prefer not to. But spare me the jog through your fog-smog whilst holding my breath, otherwise I’ll fart my way in and see how that goes down.

Stop putting me on hold when I call a service centre. You call centre people have forced me to hate Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and no matter how often you tell me how important I am, I am so thoroughly pissed off that I am very reluctant to confirm my mother’s maiden name which, by the way, is really none of your damn business.

Stop texting while walking. One day you will fall down an open hole in the pavement and never be heard from again. No signal.

Stop contaminating TV soap operas with criminals, boozers and liars. Does life in these miserable locations not have any comedy? Does it all have to be gangsters, guzzlers and gits?

More to come.........

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