Monday, June 27, 2011

Suicidal Tendencies

No, don’t worry. I’m not thinking about attaching a hoover pipe to the car exhaust and gassing myself. Or indeed casting myself into the River Leam with my clothes left by the roadside accompanied by a note reading “goodbye cruel world”. (Given the Leam I’d be more likely to die by poisoning than drowning anyway).

I’m talking about that urge that most of us get at one time or another to stick your head above the parapet. To go “over the top” in World War I parlance. To deliberately step into the gun sights of assassins that you know are just waiting for an opportunity to take a pop at you.

For years, man and boy, I’ve been one of the shrinking violets. One of those conscientious people that, if alive 200 years ago, would have doffed their hat to Dorcas Lane and spoke in hushed tones of the quality toffs that lived in Candleford. I’d like to blame my working class upbringing. I know my place and all that crap. But actually that’s rubbish. When I was a kid being working class was already about cocking a snook at the middle and upper classes and speaking of them scathingly in the snug of the local pub.

But nevertheless I was brought up to respect those in authority over me. Not just to respect but also not to question. That’s quite a telling distinction.

I’ve never been able to rid myself of that whole thought process – that mind trap – until recently.

I don’t know what’s happened over the last few years – well, I do: I’ve had kids, finally got my University degree, had experience of running my own fledgling business – but suddenly that invidious bit of mind programming has been broken. The algorithms no longer work for me.

And the inherited fear that was part and parcel of that mindset has also dissipated.

I’m suddenly thinking so what? I’m suddenly questioning not just why but also why should I? Why me and nobody else?

And best of all: isn’t there something better? Why not do what I want to do?

It’s a heady brew all this jumping around with a big target painted on my chest. Years ago my natural sense of self preservation would have had me diving into the nearest Anderson Shelter. Now I want to just shit down the air-hole of everybody else’s.

I’m starting to realize that in some [bad] situations you actually have very little to lose if it all goes tits up. So why worry? Why care? Why take it?

Dangerous thinking.

But don’t worry. I might be mooning at the enemy troops out here in No Man’s Land but I have no intention of putting a pistol to my own head either.

I’m just saying that the smile on my face is a knowing one. Not an insane one.

Laters.



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40 comments:

London City Mum said...

Steve - you can take my place on this Excel training course I am on for the next two days.
Suicide does not come into it. Mind-numbing does.

LCM x

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

I shall watch the news from Leamington with interest but for now I can't shift the image of shitting down the air-hole of an Anderson shelter.

Steve said...

LCM: oh my God. Death by brain liquifaction. That's a fate worse than death by... er... any other means. But I bet you could make a great spreadsheet illustrating that point by the end of the course.

Trish: it takes a good deal of muscular control. And aim. And steady knees.

Modern Military Mother said...

Freedom!!! The right to do what you want. First, of all you need to work out what it is you want, then start planning your journey.

DO IT!!!!!!!! Live your dreams.

Very Bored in Catalunya said...

A knowing smile... why Mr Blake you sound like you have a cunning plan up your sleeve.

Steve said...

MMM: totally! Build it and I will come! Hopefully followed very shortly by the money. ;-)

Very Bored in Catalunya: indeed, Baldrick, I always have a cunning plan up my sleeve... now, if I could only remember where I have left my sleeves I will be well away.

vegemitevix said...

Not sure they're suicidal tendencies mate more self-determination. Vive la revolution! xx

Owen said...

Control vs. freedom

Civilisation vs. barbarity

Sanity vs. insanity

Religion vs. free thinking

Order vs. disorder

Conformism vs non-conforming

Society vs. anarchy

And all the extremes and variants possible along the scales of such measures... but how to find our place in the "overall scheme of things" ??? Does it happen naturally ? Does it depend on birth ? Can we change our lot in life ? Does it matter one whit ? (in the long term, we are all dead...)

Have a fine week, keep that head down...

Steve said...

Vix: Vive la revolution indeed! I've always fancied having my own overture (complete with firworks in the finale)!

Owen: it's more self-empowerment vs self-negation if I'm totally honest. One can only bite one's tongue for so long before one has to scream.

Phil said...

Steve: Got my serious hat on for once. I’m sat here quietly with just the vaguest hint of a nod and a shared knowing smile for you too. Copy that my friend. Loud and perfectly clear. I call it the ‘Cool hand Luke syndrome’. Life evolved me to the self same inner core and mind set. They can scale your outer walls, throw big rocks at you each and every day, physically wound you, exhaust and scar you, mock you, scorn you, jeer and sneer at you…strip you bare and clean you out of everything you own and have fought and strived for – but they’ll never ever come anywhere near close to setting a hand on your soul.

Either in this crazy lifetime or the next.

“High Fives to you too Steve”.

Keep on laughing quietly in the face of adversity, and keep on getting back up, cos one day ‘you’ll’ collect their surrender. Believe me.

Steve said...

Phil: I like the way you talk, soldier. And you've appraised yourself of the battlefield and the enemy's tactics with admirable accuracy. I've never been one for the Oppenheimer solution but, my God, my guns are loaded and I can shoot the balls off a gnat if I have to. And I may have to. I may even have to shoot the balls of a gnat that didn't have balls in the first place. Just as well my trigger finger is itchy.

autumnraven said...

Know the feeling...loved the post.

Steve said...

Autumnraven: it's kind of like getting a touch of the ol' red mist... but with a shot of zen.

Rol said...

Did you just say "Laters"?

FFS!

Steve said...

Rol: just trying to broaden my fan base, innit, mate?

Simples.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Every male primate goes through this phase, we call it 'the rhino syndrome' in the jungle. My advice is to stay clear of the big cats and sharpen your horn before charging.

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: you just referred to me as a primate. I feel a new bond between us.

libby said...

It's too late for me Steve...but do it...do it for all of us who just turned the other cheek/switched off our brains/doffed our caps and then with heads hung low said now't and soldiered on.....save yourself..save yourself!!

Marginalia said...

I've told you before those sherbet dabs can be very intoxicating.

Steve said...

Libby: I'm more than happy to do it in your name! (Expect a telephone call from my boss if it all goes wrong.)

Marginalia: but so easy to inject!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Steve, I know what you mean. I am losing my fear of everything at a rate of knots too. It's probably why employers favour the young - less bolshie, though if we're treated right and respected, I would argue that we're not as everyone essentially wants a quiet and happy life NOT having to defend their corner all the time.

Perhaps if enough of us do, we can stick together and demand a better country worthy of us.

joebloggs said...

I feel a night in watching V for Vendetta again!
Your life is in your hands, grab it by the balls my friend!!

Steve said...

Laura: sadly getting people to stand together is sometimes like trying to push water up hill...

Joe: vanquish venal vermin!

Löst Jimmy said...

I rather like your phrase 'quality toffs'. As for life, it's short and for living so do your best by it, however big or small the intentions. It is as profound as I can be at half ten on a work night.
Have a good Tuesday dear friend

The Sagittarian said...

Ah yes, the revolt against the pushing shit up hill with wet spaghetti syndrome. I know it well, and am using it constantly these days as we battle with insurance companies, and various bits of the layers of red tape sudden;y involved in just our everyday living in this broken city. Good luck and I'll meet you on beaches. Much laters.

bigwords is... said...

aaahhh another fine post Steve. Maybe you could just poo in some paper bags and set them alight on the doorsteps of people who shit you?

Vicky said...

Some words to live by "tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom."

LOL

Wanderlust said...

Hmmmm, I don't know about your office but we have policies about indecent exposure in ours (mooning and such). Best call in before you show up tomorrow.

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: that's far more profound than I can manage at half ten in the morning. Thank you.

Amanda: you bring the ammo, I'll bring the big guns. We'll be in Berlin by Christmas.

Bigwords is: that's not a bad idea. Is poo flammable or will I need to supply an accelerant?

Vicky: FRE-E-E-E-EEDOM! (Glad I didn't get dressed up for nothing!)

Wanderlust: hey, our photocopier has seen far worse.

lgsquirrel said...

Viva la revolution! Give me liberty or give me death! Down with the bourgeois pigs! And other encouraging revolutionary rhetoric.

Michellloui | The American Resident said...

Wow! This sounds exciting. It is quite nice knowing you're an equal, isn't?

Although, from reading your blog for a while, I suspect everyone else already thought you were where you know you are now.

Did that make sense?! ;)

Steve said...

lgsquirrel: I can't get enough of encouraging revolutionary rhetoric, me.

Michellloui: when I make it big I want you to be my marketing officer. ;-)

Nota Bene said...

I'm right behind you...about 50 yards

Steve said...

Nota Bene: just make sure you don't drop my lunch box.

Martin Lower said...

I thought I was the only one who seemed to be getting stroppier as I got older! Fun isn't it....

Steve said...

Martin: I sincerely hope I get very old indeed.

Keith said...

Once you realize everyone else is too worried about their own shit to even notice what you are up to certain shackles fall away. Follow that feeling as far as it will go Steve, there are great things down that road.

And BTW re: Candleford - you would have been the bloke writing the local newspaper, not the one tearing it into strips in a Larkrise privy.

Steve said...

Keith: I doff my cap to your superior knowledge, m'lord!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Honestly, I have to say that having kids had really changed my world view too. Taking care of other people full time (esp. tiny benevolent dictators) makes you or at least has made me question a lot of things I accepted point-blank before. It's also made me more choosy with my friendships and how I spend my time. I think waht you are going through is a good thing. Just don't off yourself or anything K? I'm with Vegemitevix, "Vive la revolution!"

Steve said...

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip: have no fears; I'm not planning any shortcuts... I aim to be here for the long haul. But I want a better route than the one I'm currently taking.