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Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The Committee of Sadness

Read at an event to raise money for educaid held at Colchester Sixth Form College on Friday 11th November 2016.

In response to yet another awful event
fed to us in the comfort of our own homes,
that was starting to make us uncomfortable,
we got together as a group
and said how sad the situation was
and that something needed to be done.

We formed a committee
to give us something in common.
We were united in our sadness.

After a few meetings
one of our group,
for reasons of their own we supposed,
stopped coming
and instead chose to actively respond to
the situation we were all sad about
by giving practical help to
the people concerned.

We talked about how good this was,
and how it was easy for that person
as they were a natural helper,
but agreed that we just needed to be sad
about the sad situation,
and how beneficial it was
to have this committee
for the discussion, and the mutual sharing,
of the aforementioned and duly noted sadness.

We unanimously agreed that we would pass on our thanks
to the person concerned
and express our sadness
to the people we were sad about.

But as we were busy with the committee,
and with generally being sad,
we just did not have the time.
So we made sure it went in the minutes of our meeting.
Our chairperson,
eminently qualified in sadness
both professionally and through personal experience,
pointed out that,
as the meetings progressed,
we were all becoming much sadder
and that we should be pleased with our progress.

Someone else raised the point that
if we were going to be pleased about something
would that not detract from our sadness
and therefore undermine the whole purpose of the group.

A very interesting discussion followed.

By now,
news of our success had spread
to other sad people,
who naturally wanted to join
and share in our sadness, and bring along some sadness of their own.

We felt, however, that we wanted
to stay as we were
for the foreseeable future,
and, as someone kindly pointed out,
we didn’t have any more chairs.
So we suggested they form their own group. 

This led to an increase in their sadness
and a further feeling of rejection.

Some of our members,
Whilst acknowledging how they had benefitted from the group,
were feeling frustrated
that the world seemed to be becoming
a much sadder place and,
as a result,
were starting to feel angry.

We convened an extraordinary meeting to discuss this
and concluded that we were,
a committee of sadness and,
that anger was a different subject matter altogether.

As a result of this decision
a motion was put forward that any angry individuals
would be politely requested to leave our Committee of Sadness
and form their own group where they would be free
to be
as angry as they needed to.

One of the people concerned
who had years of experience in anger,
(admittedly not in a professional capacity,
but who had been spoken to by the police 
on a couple of occasions
and was currently undergoing anger management therapy)
was nominated to be their chairperson,
and the motion was carried unanimously.
We recorded a vote of thanks
for all their contributions,
and wished them well in their anger.

As a result, we were free to continue  
in the sad manner we had become accustomed.

We agreed,
how very sad we still were
and we remained,
in our sadness.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

An Ode To Socks The Cat

My pet cat Socks
is in a box
I don’t want him to be there

I want him back
upon my lap
to cover me in his hair

The little git
once did a shit
that really was quite rotten

It took a week
for it to clear
and I have not forgotten

Even so
he was my friend
the only one I’ve had

I want him back
in my small flat
because I feel quite sad

I miss him lots
My pet cat Socks

Monday, 31 October 2016

Pumpkin Face

The Davies family bought this year’s pumpkin from an old woman in a layby. ‘Be careful’ she said and laughed, as the children shrank down in their seats. Once home they got to work, and within a few hours it was hollowed out, with a gruesome face and plenty of meat saved for soup the following day. During the night mum was woken by a light. Downstairs, the pumpkin’s candle was still burning, casting a shadow similar to the old pumpkin woman’s face.  Then the outside security light came on, revealing a figure in the garden. The pumpkin started laughing as the back door handle rattled. The old woman walked in, the pumpkins light illuminating the knife she carried. ‘I told you to be careful,’ She said ‘Now it’s carving time.’

Sunday, 18 September 2016

It'll Never Happen

You can bet your life that, no, no. Stop. Don’t bet your life. I’ll start again. 

You can guarantee that, beyond a shadow of a doubt (whatever that means) if you post something on social media, or mention in conversation, an idea you might have about something, or a suggestion, or even just a wish, that sooner rather than later, someone will pop up and say ‘It’ll never happen’. 

They may, depending where they are on the patronising scale, prefix it with ‘It’s a nice thought but’ and then either give a patronising explanation why it will never happen, or just leave it there. A verbal/written patronising pat on the head. Or give you the eye roll whilst smiling and trying not to laugh patronisingly (whilst you try not to poke them in the eye).

Then others may join in, because people like to join in when the joke is on someone else, and before long you’ve got a whole chorus of ‘It’ll never happens’ for your collection.

This isn’t a new thing. As long as there’s been people around  prepared to have ideas, vision, think about how things could be improved etc there’s been a queue of ‘It’ll never happeners' just waiting to deliver their extraordinarily wise missive. They’ll even write it down for you, because they’ve only got your best interests at heart. 

‘It’ll never happen’.

And then it happens.

You know, that thing they said would never happen. Not in a million years. Well it just happened. The million years limit must be up. 

Because, oh my flipping god, that thing happened. ‘Hey, hey Gloria, you know that thing we said would never happen (no, YOU said, Gloria was imagining your funeral and what music she would play, and the big party afterwards, and her holiday to the Caribbean) well it’s only happened. What’s gone wrong with the world?

I wonder sometimes if there isn’t a critical mass point that, when reached, means ‘It’ll never happen’ has to now happen. Perhaps because so many people are thinking about it, giving it energy, that perversely it gets brought to life. Some universal law of cause and effect that conspires to bring about what we pay attention to, regardless of perceived positive or negative connotations. If you want to make something happen, get enough people saying that it won’t and, hey presto, here it is. The great cosmic magician has heard, your not wished for is his/her command.

And then, when the thing they said would never happen happens, well, guess what? Patronising party time. It’s our turn now.

‘Hey, hey, you know that thing you said that would never happen, well screw you’ and we can bathe in our own patronising. Light patronising candles and play patronising music. Oh this feels good.

Until, of course, the thing happens that WE said would never happen. Then it’s a completely different story. 

‘Everyone’s an idiot, what’s wrong with people, the world’ (sound familiar?).

So now it’s time to step it up. Phase two of ‘It’ll never happen’ comes into effect.

We need to ‘make sure it never happens again.’ And boy are we serious about this. What the hell where THEY thinking making that thing we said would never happen happen. They’ll be sorry.

Already we’ve forgotten that something happened they didn’t want to happen that we did. Swings and roundabouts as they say.

And once something has happened it can’t unhappen. We can’t take it back. Whether we want to or not. However many committees we form or letters we write. Or memes we post on social media.

And then, whilst we’re busy either celebrating something that’s happened that we wanted to happen, that someone else said would never happen, or commiserating for something that we said would never happen that has happened, something happens somewhere that we had never even considered never happening. Just like that. A complete new happening.

And then what are we supposed to do? 

What’s phase three?

Whatever happens in life, chances are that someone, somewhere, never thought it would happen, and someone, or a group of someone’s, made it happen.
When something happens we have choices. We can react against it and fight it, find a way to use it to our advantage, or just accept it and get on with our life. 

Whatever way we choose, it’s happened.