Saturday, 6 October 2012

The things kids say!

Well, that's grossly unfair to children. Children say silly things because they know no better. When adults talk rot, however, one has licence to laugh one's head off - or raise a sceptical eyebrow if one is a follower of Surak of Vulcan, or as we Earthlings may know him, Zeno of Citium. One example that always makes me sparkle with sarcasm is Marilyn Monroe's comic line, "I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best." To be honest, I doubt I could have handled Marilyn Monroe at her worst. I am none too fond of drugs or mood-swings, and she seems exceedingly scatty and unreliable. She was inarguably pretty, but not over-burdened with insight. It gets even better when people misremember "handle" as "love", yielding the absolute nonsense that one has to begin by loving someone who is awful, expecting them magically to improve. There's a phrase that describes that situation: abusive relationship.

Some people are worth handling at their worst so that we can enjoy their best, but it's a fallacy to believe that all are. Worse, it's a dangerous fallacy, one that can leave the deceived party stuck in an awful and irremediable situation for years, working like an ass. Yes, I know whereof I speak. Let's leave that aside; it's a tired discussion. Let's look at the other side of the coin. I am flawed, "But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best." This is nothing but an excuse to stay flawed. It isn't a rallying cry to personal satisfaction but to stagnation and indolence. Rather than bother with self-improvement, one should simply remain as one is until death takes us and we decay. It is an idea that is depressing in the most fundamental sense, assuring us that we are right not to bother pushing ourselves, learning and growing. I am not arguing that we should all rush out and book parachute lessons before moving to the Congo to become aid workers, but the static life is no good for people.

Having begun with the heights of philosophy, I shall end in the same way. Consider these two thoughts of geniuses of our (I use that rather loosely) age.

These are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others. Groucho Marx

Yesterday I was a dog. Today I’m a dog. Tomorrow I’ll probably still be a dog. There’s just so little hope of advancement. Snoopy

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