Monday, July 11, 2005

Random Stream Of Semi-Consciousness

So all in all, it’s been a bit of a lean week for humourous new stories. Unless you count the tale of the woman in Utah who had the address of a gambling website tattooed on her forehead to help pay for her kid’s college education. Amusing AND admirable in equal measure.

Surfing around random blogs over the last few days almost everyone has had something to say about the bombings in London last Thursday. Some are long essays about who’s to blame and others are very short messages expressing shock and sending messages of goodwill. I didn’t particularly want to add this downbeat litany, not because I was paralysed from the shock of it all but because I really wasn’t shocked ENOUGH.

It begs the question of how close do the bad things in the world need to get to you to enable you to feel something, ANYTHING of substance. Because frankly (and the use of the word ‘frankly’ should indicate a lack of jokey punchlines in the next few paragraphs) if you’ve never had the remotest connection to tragic loss and you’re still feeling upset about last week’s events then I believe that says more about how you view the own inadequacies of your life than it does about anything else.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve never had the remotest connection to tragic loss.

I live on an island where terrorist bombings have been a regular occurrence since as early as I can remember.

I live 70 miles away from a town where a plane was blown up and decimated a community.

I live 20 miles away from a town where a mad gunman walked into a primary school and slaughtered innocent children.

On the evening of September 10th 2001 I boarded a plane in Detroit and landed in Scotland the next day at the exact time the first plane hit the twin towers.

And on Thursday evening I kept a drinking appointment with old friends in Edinburgh while half a mile up the street police where carrying out controlled explosions on suspicious packages left on two separate buses. At one point the pub doors were closed and we were instructed to stay inside and keep drinking. We didn’t need to be told twice.

The point then (and I’m sure I had one when I started this diatribe) is that life goes on despite the bad things in the world. That’s easy to say when you live in a beautiful, (relatively) peaceful country like Scotland but because its easy to say, then it should be said at every opportunity. It is NOT disrespectful to others who’ve suffered. It is NOT a blinkered and ignorant response to the problems of the world. It is EXACTLY the thing to do combat terrorism. Terrorism is not about winning an armed struggle. It is about SPREADING TERROR.

Be aware, be vigilant but don’t live in fear. Be touched and moved by stories of heroism and survival. Be thoughtful and helpful to those less fortunate. But for Christ’s sake do not wallow in self pity when you’ve nothing personally to wallow about.

On further reflection, the use of the phrase “for Christ’s sake” is the least appropriate in this, or any other age. Do it for YOUR sake or someone else’s sake but please, not in the name of ANY “organised” religion; a contradiction in terms if ever I heard one.

Rigorous beliefs and faith, blind or otherwise, in any one doctrine immediately preclude the acceptance of someone else’s point of view and before you know it you’ve got crucifixions, inquisitions, invasions, crusades, empire building, holy wars, Old Firm riots and The Da Vinci Code topping the bestseller lists for a millennium.

Anyway, it’s Monday, it’s 80+ degrees outside and I’ve still got a million and one things to do. I have a lunchtime meeting with the financial henchmen behind and if I agree to have the address tattooed across my forehead, I can cast off all thoughts of a return to the world of “proper” jobs. Forever. Woo Hoo!


At 12/7/05 7:38 am, Blogger carl said...

My Dear Friend!
You couldn't have said it better. Thank you, thank you and thank you. Now let's ALL get out there and continue living out lives as WE see fit. I gonna have an ale this evening just for you!

At 12/7/05 10:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair comment bro.

And in the spirit of your comments, take a look at:

and especially the absolutely brilliant, Letter To The Terrorists, From London:

or even Ken Livingstone's strong and powerful response:

At 14/7/05 11:24 am, Blogger DC said...


There's nothing wrong with a serious blog- I think this might be your first- and I must say finest in this vein.

Good to see that you kept your drinking appointment.



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