TUMBY BAY - Over the years I’ve learned that the opinions of certain people are best left ignored.
These include the opinions of shock-jocks, celebrities, reality and lifestyle television hosts and most politicians. They all carry biases that are subjective, value-ridden and sometimes positively dangerous.
Just lately I’ve started to include people from the so-called professions, including doctors and medical specialists, and people in certain trades, like motor mechanics. Many of these people now seem driven solely by a profit motive.
If I was religious I would probably also include on my list ministers, priests and pastors, as well as people exhibiting overly religious zealotry.
There are a few exceptions among those I’ve listed. I tend to be wary rather than dismissive. I’ll listen until I decide they might have a point and are an exception, or are simply clever with words and need to be dismissed after all.
I think it’s a combination of age and increasing cynicism that has brought me to this point. But I would also observe that people are no longer as honest or caring as they used to be.
Doctors are a case in point. Nowadays they seem intent upon churning as many patients as possible through their surgeries and offering quick fixes in the form of unnecessary prescriptions rather than detailed investigation of a complaint.
Specialists don’t seem to be much better. Along with drugs they also dispense dubious and often unnecessary surgical procedures from their gladbag of tricks.
Getting to the basis of a particular medical complaint can often involve long and traumatic voyage through this intermediary sludge. It’s very much like getting a mechanic to finally identify the source of the mysterious clunk in your car’s engine.
Are they doing it because they don’t know or are they simply prolonging the situation to milk it for the maximum profit?
See what I mean about cynicism?
Cynicism and scepticism seem to be a natural evolutionary phase that develops with age. The older you get the more pronounced they become.
While all other faculties, like memory, agility and strength, decline your ability to detect bullshit sharpens.
Even what you used to accept as truth begins to ring hollow. ‘If you work hard you will reap the benefits’, for instance, is a crock of you-know-what.
‘Have a go to get a go’ is the latest slogan from our prime minister. It’s one of the most disingenuous and hollow mantras I’ve ever heard.
It sits nicely alongside the ‘jobs and growth’ crap that climate activist Greta Thunberg calls a “fairytale”.
People who work hard trying to get a go usually die from the effort, often in poverty. Only the lucky few can turn hard work into a reward.
In most cases the people that do well are the crooks and charlatans who prey on the people who work hard.
It is a sad fact that revelations of this nature only come with old age.
That leaves a lot of us oldies muttering into our cocoa and complaining that if we had been told this when we were young we wouldn’t have busted our guts for most of our lives.
There’s hard work to make money and then there’s hard work because you enjoy it, of course. I’ve always had an aversion to the former.
Working hard to make money can be a fruitless task in intellectual terms because you can become so preoccupied you miss out on too much. It is why people like Donald Trump, Clive Palmer and their ilk, rolling around in luxury, are so dumb and moronic.
Working hard at something you enjoy, and which is worthwhile in non-monetary terms, is much more satisfying. That’s why some disgruntled billionaires become philanthropists.
Working in Papua New Guinea as a kiap paid a pittance. I made more money when I worked at an incredibly soul-destroying job in a bank.
But I remember my days as a kiap with great fondness. All I can remember of my days in the bank is the excruciating boredom.
Working on the Crocodile Prize and Pukpuk Publications cost me money but I enjoyed it immensely. It sits with being a kiap as one of the worthwhile things I did in my life.
When I run those experiences up against today’s opinion traders I come away with a sour taste in my mouth.
Those poor dumb bastards haven’t the faintest idea about what life is all about, so why should I listen to them?
I’d rather listen to some old highlander sitting in his kaukau garden out in the sticks or one of the volunteers at our local opportunity store.