Archive for December, 2009

I wonder what’s next…

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , on December 27, 2009 by prekosifa

Christmas Day was wonderful this year. For the first time in 25 years my siblings, my mother and my father all sat around the same table to break bread. No one thought it could ever happen and it was whilst sitting there, surrounded by my family, that I finally realised the reason why I hadn’t enjoyed Christmas in such a long time. Christmas is about family and yesterday I was taken back to being a little boy again, I was even excited about opening my presents!

I did the cooking and much to the amazement of at least two people (my mum and dad), I pulled it off. We ate, we drank, we ate some more, we laughed, we played, we opened presents, we skyped extended family, we watched Eastenders and Only Fools and Horses and we ate just a little bit more! The kids loved it, the adults loved it more and my only regret was that my two daughters couldn’t be there, an unfortunate and unforeseen cost of having children in different camps. At the end of the night, the plates were washed up and everyone retired, my brothers to a nearby hotel, my sister upstairs, and me?, well, I had to wait until everyone had gone so I could finally crash out on the blow up bed in the living room. I didn’t mind though because I was here with my family. It was a perfect end to a perfect day.

Boxing Day I woke up to the news that a Nigerian man had been arrested after attempting to blow up a bomb on a plane en route to the USA.

We almost made it.

We almost made it to the end of the year without the kind of news that just makes you sigh! The kind of news that makes you look at your children and hold them just a little bit closer for just a little bit longer. The truth about the world being plain for all to see, and the conclusion being that it’s just not that nice out there.

My mum was the first to comment saying that now it will be difficult for Nigerians to travel, because they will be targeted. The rest of the family agreed and I did too, for a moment, until it hit me just what the impact of this would be bombers actions could actually be. You see worst case it isn’t just Nigerians they will stop, but all people of colour!

Conspiracy theorist! I hear you cry.

No, not at all. I am just someone who looks at things differently.

Unless we are in fear of something, the millions we spend on security are a waste of money. Every year there has been something that makes us scared, something that makes us grateful to have a vigilant Govt that will seemingly put up with no crap. A Govt that is there to protect us and a happy public who don’t mind more and more security measures being piled upon them. We now live in a world where people barely trust each other and when something like this happens the trust falls further and further away. In the aftermath of the London bombings, Muslims, Asians, and anyone with a slight hue to their skin sporting a turban or hijab, or similar, were victimised. What do you think may happen now?

I dread to think what it might be like now for people of colour travelling to the states; for people of colour on the streets of America or Britain; for people of colour at airports. I use this term because that is perhaps how we might be viewed, as one race, one colour and therefore with potentially one ideology. Who knows! So right now I am saddened by this news and saddened that my perfect Christmas has been spoiled by the act of a relative stranger!

That is of course if it is true.

A part of me thinks that the timing is just a little too convenient, just a little too perfect. Christmas, just before the New Year?, a time when we look to the future and make resolutions for a better more positive life?

I’m not buying it.

At a time when Al Qaeda is no longer making the front pages of the papers, just when the world seemed to be getting back to normal, didn’t we need a new threat?, and now thanks to whichever agency dreamed up this idea, we have one. Call me cynical if you want but when something smells a bit fishy I like to look for the fins! I like to think about all of the facts that have been presented and then decide, no matter how improbable or implausible, my conclusions may sound. My initial response has been one of doubt, but perhaps that is just because I want to believe in a world that can function without any of this type of bullshit.

They say bad news comes in threes. I hope we can make it to New Years without anything else happening.

So what’s wrong with Christmas, now?

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by prekosifa

So I was standing in Tesco’s the other day, attempting to buy the last of my Christmas presents and found myself in a very long queue standing behind a family of four. The mum, dad and their two teenage kids were doing what looked like, all of their Christmas shopping for the whole holiday period. As they waited to pay for the contents of their mountainous trolley, they sent the kids out as gofers for more and more stuff! Behind me there was a quiet young couple who were celebrating their first Christmas together. I could tell because their basket only contained a bottle of wine, a packet of Ferrero Rocher, mince pies, a bumper pack of flavoured condoms and a pair of fluffy handcuffs, (available in Aisle 13 next to the furry dice!). I envied them being at that beginning stage of the relationship where everything was still innocent and exciting. They were looking forward, like everybody else in the shop, to a memorable Christmas. And even though Tesco’s was packed as hell and people were bumping into me from in front and behind, and even though it took me another hour to pay for my shopping and navigate my way back home through the busy shopping traffic, I didn’t mind.

I didn’t mind at all.

You see for me, Christmas is more than just about family, more than just dinner, more than just last minute Christmas shopping, more than just mince pies and brandy, more than paying too much to find a rave or waking up hung over and embarrassed from the Christmas party, it is more than maxing out your credit card and forgetting to make the gravy. Christmas is the one time of the year when I have goodwill towards everyone, including those that cut in front of me in the queue or cut me off on the roads, and even those who didn’t have their method of payment ready when they finally got to the tills!

This is what Christmas is, like it or love it.

In the news this week was a story about how Father Christmas was a bad role model for children. The article stated Santa had to go because he was overweight (in fact clinically obese), an alcoholic, (with a penchant for brandy or any other spirited substance), and only worked one day a year. He was described as putting out the wrong image with his dated and tired format and therefore had to go, in favour of a new noughties politically correct Santa Claus. Wow! Santa was becoming like the pre industrial revolution hand loom weavers, a makeover, they reckoned, was long overdue.

So what should the new Santa look like? Who or what would be a good role model? A middle aged, lean, svelte, physically fit Santa who would rather pull his sleigh using his mountain bike and who could bench press 300 pounds? A more pleasing-to-the-eye Santa who works everyday of the year and who asks the children to leave protein shakes and cereal bars on Christmas Eve instead?

Personally, I think it would be great if we had a black Santa. We could call him…..Black Santa, and he could have long white dreadlocks and wear a red and white tracksuit over his well toned beach buffed body. The traditional christmas carols could change to reggae-fied classics and the sleigh could be pimped out by Xzibit for an MTV special!

Or we could just leave him the fuck alone!

Although originally a figment of a Coca Cola marketer’s vivid imagination, Santa Claus is a figure that we know and love and is known across the whole planet, (Funnily enough he is not the most recognisable face in the world, this honour goes to Ronald McDonald!). This is the Santa that we expect to get stuck in the chimney every now and then and to eat all the mince pies we leave out for him. We know him and trust him and he is the anchor that makes Christmas magical.

I am making a big noise about this now because this is the kind of thing that goes by unnoticed, and leads to the pc brigade inventing a more socially acceptable Christmas mascot. I love Christmas and want things to stay exactly as they are being promoted by an elderly white guy, with a barrel belly, a huge beard, red cheeks and a matching red and white suit, call me sentimental.

Then again, all this debate and the guy doesn’t even really exist.

What do you think?

Lies…damned lies!

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2009 by prekosifa

So, Tiger Woods is the latest superstar to make it on the list of the famous who have been caught out creepin’ on their partners. A few months ago it was David Letterman and who knows who will be next. The basis of all these indiscretions is lies damned lies. Tiger’s list is 12 and counting, how much deceit is necessary to get away with those types of figures?

Where does it all go wrong?

We are taught from a young age to tell the truth. We are told that honesty is always the best policy and that ‘liars liars have their pants on fire’, a scary image for a pre adolescent. Given all of this coaching from such a young age, it would be safe to assume that we must live in an honest world. But we don’t, because if we did then infidelity just wouldn’t happen, politicians could be trusted and conspiracy theories would have no truthful basis.

What is going on that on the one hand we are taught to tell the truth but on the other we are used to dealing with lies? Lies are so common place now that you can actually get into trouble for telling the truth.

Have you ever been asked by your partner ‘does my bum look big in this?’ If so, what did you answer? A small percentage out there I am guessing will be able to tell the truth and still get to sleep in the marital bed afterwards, the majority, the ones with the smarts will lie, a little lie, but a lie nonetheless. I have seen girls in clubs that look terrible, bad hair, bad dress, bad everything and yet they are surrounded by their so called friends. I’d ask myself ‘why did none of them speak up?’

Just what is it about telling the truth that people find so damn hard to do.

A few years ago when I worked in an office, we had a cleaner who had terrible body odour. This brotha stank! In an office of sixty plus workers, no one wanted to have to tell him the truth. So what we were left with was a load of staff who all ‘had to pop out for a cig’ at 5.30pm every day, for 20 mins!

Could it be that deep down we hate to hurt people? I can see how that could happen because there is a horrible feeling that you get in your stomach when you have to tell someone something that they really don’t see. Or could it be that we secretly enjoy someone else’s misfortune and would sooner that they are laughed at, rather than us, a Freudian thing that says we only care about ourselves. Then it would stand to reason that a way of protecting ourselves is by putting any ‘badness’ onto somebody else.

We even differentiate between lies. Lies that hurt and destroy are separated from white lies that protect and care and we convince ourselves that this is okay to do. I was actually told in school that it is okay to tell a little lie if it stops someone from being hurt but isn’t a little lie today, just a bigger lie tomorrow and the biggest lie in the future.

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
Scottish author & novelist (1771 – 1832)

If you have a population of people expecting a lie isn’t it safe to say that you may as well assume everything is a lie and then you can’t get hurt? Or is that quite sad? Otherwise if you are not expecting a lie and you are then lied to, the pain will be all the more piercing because of the false expectation.

So I get it, lying is a necessary part of society and something that we all sign up to. We lie to protect, we lie to get away with things, we lie because we can. If someone gets hurt, so what, better them than us, right?

This is why Tiger Woods is in the situation he has found himself in this week. The rest of his golfing buddies probably knew what was going on and they withheld this lie, either to protect their boy, or to protect his wife from being hurt, or to protect themselves. Who knows, who cares and who really gives a fuck?

The sad thing about all this is that there is an age when you always tell the truth and believe everything you hear, no matter how crazy. My son is at that age now and I will watch him as he gets to the point when he realises that people tell fibs. When he gets to this point I will be sad because that will be the day when his innocence is truly lost.

So, I guess I am advocating a society where everyone tells the truth. That would be great wouldn’t it? Can you imagine?

Wife
‘Honey does my ass look big in this?’

Husband
‘Hell yeah!’

Wife
‘Okay, I guess I’ll just wear something else, thanks for your honesty, baby’

Can you see that happening?

Nah, neither can I

A dilemma you don’t need

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2009 by prekosifa

Last week I saw an interview about a man in New Zealand who had to make the ultimate choice. The car that was carrying his wife and 13 year old son crashed into a river and began to sink, the man, unable to save both of them had to make a choice as to who to save. He opted for his wife and had to watch as the car, which was trapping his son, began to sink. He prayed for a miracle but sadly his son perished.

The interviewee asked him why he chose his wife, and he couldn’t answer. He didn’t know why. All he knew was he could only get to one of them and he did what he did. The first thing that the host said to her colleagues afterwards was that her natural reaction would be to save her child, in fact, she implied that that would be the logical choice of any rational parent faced with the same dilemma. Then, I think realising that she was in fact judging this man, she quickly rounded off the story, concluding that it was an impossible horrible choice to have to make in the first place.

But I saw that she didn’t agree with his choice.

This led me to start thinking about it in more depth. Who would I honestly choose to save?, My son, No doubt in my mind. Friends and family I have asked have all said they would do the same. But then, that is making this decision from the comfort of my own home, safely dry and nowhere near a river. The reality of course must be different, so either the people I am asking are all liars, or there is something else going on here.

Is it fair to say that a mother will always opt for saving her child, no matter what?. The mothering instinct is incredibly strong afterall and the child is often seen as being being more important to a mother than her own life. That is not to say that men do not feel the same way about their offspring, but I can understand why a man would save his wife instead. It may be his soul mate, his whole reason for being, someone he cannot live without. But what if its more than that, more scientific. Freud says that everything we do, we ultimately do for ourselves and our own benefit.

This is almost an identical premise to what happened in the film, I Robot, with Will Smith. In that instance a robot made the logical choice to save the hero instead of a child. Maybe unknowingly, this man made a purely logical choice based on a number of factors like, the time in the river, the age of the victims and the chances of survival. The brain can do some amazing things and it’s not until we are tested that we see evidence of it in action, maybe at that moment the part of the brain that we do not fully understand did a calculation and this was the result. In addition, given the fact that you can have more children, he perhaps logically made the correct overall decision.

Truth is we can never really know the answer and it is unfair to judge this man based on what he did, but judge him many people will do, unable to get past the fact that, in their eyes, he let his child die.

But going forward what will life be like for this couple?

Watching the interview, with the husband and wife side by side in grief, I suddenly realised that they may never get over this. I can envisage a time in the future that the wife blames the husband for the choice he made. I can see questions arising about whether he felt the same love for his son as she did. I can see hatred rearing its ugly head and dividing this couple straight down the middle. She may not see that in saving her he made the ultimate sacrifice for her, one that he believed and hoped he could live with. In a way I suppose it is the ultimate compliment, someone risking their own life to save you, dragging you out of a car and knowing that his son lay dying feet away. This man had to live with the absolute moment of realisation, when he saw that he couldn’t get to his boy, when he realised he couldn’t save him.

When the arguments start, I fear all of these factors will be forgotten. It will simply come down to one basic fact – ‘you let our child die, a child who had so much more to live for than me’.

I hope this couple get through what they are about to go through. I hope that they can reach a level of understanding and not make the tragedy mean anything in particular. It doesn’t mean he didn’t love his son, it didn’t mean he loved his wife more. It didn’t mean anything. At that moment, when the car went into the lake he went into automatic, his brain studied the situation and made the choice for him. His body followed the instructions sent and he saved a life.

And that is what is important

Asking this man why he did what he did isn’t.

In the same situation, what would you honestly do?