Mandela’s moral beauty
What does Vanuatu want to be known for?

I don’t listen to opinion traders

Opinion
"Those poor dumb bastards haven’t the faintest idea about what life is all about, so why should I listen to them?"

PHIL FITZPATRICK

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.

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Arthur Williams

Oh that's annoying Phil as I always feel safe using a cubicle anyway; just in case someone is 'cottaging'. (Wonder how that word got into dictionary. What would 'semi-detaching' be?)

Best graffiti that made me laugh was in tiny print at the bottom of the door in a cubicle at the old Guards Depot toilet block; "If you can read this you are now shitting over your legs!" Another was 'Happy Xmas to all our readers!"

Re Ex-spurt opinions... Watched Act 1 of the new USA stage play called, 'Impeachment' One very knowledgeable USA career diplomat waffled on how NATO had brought peace to Europe for 70 years.

I thought typical ethnocentric Yankee drivel as he seems to have forgotten the NATO bombing campaign in the Balkans and the 140,000 who died on all sides in that peaceful period.

More amazing was how in their 'Inquerry?' the Chairman yesterday and most of the media today ignored the Ukraine President's categorical denial of any malfeasance in his phone call. That denial would have blown the impeachment out of the water but No; apparently there are 9 more Acts to be shown for the peasants to watch. It is not a criminal case so rules of evidence don't apply. Just as well as there was so much hearsay some of it to 3rd or even 4th person.
Perhaps that's democracy in action?

Don't know how any examination of the gerrymandering and registration processes of the USA electoral system can be described as democratic especially as it takes hundreds of million even a billion dollars to get elected. Also recall Trump got less votes that Clinton. Just like UK where Tory party won control of parliament with less than 37% of the votes. in the crazy First Past Post system. I have liked PR for most of my life and was glad to see it in OZ and PNG. ironically the Speaker of Westminster is not elected using FPTP nor in the selection of Tory Party Leader and some other internal election in Parliament.

In Northern Ireland in 2015 DUP had 26% of votes cast for their 8 MPs while Sinn Fein had 25% for 4 MPs.

Yesterday an Opposition Senator in Bolivia proclaimed herself to be Interim President after the ouster of President Morales by violent street protest. Watch that space.

But those are my opinions.

Philip Fitzpatrick

I can remember when spending a penny meant exactly that.

At the Adelaide Railway Station in the late 1950s a penny coin was required to access the public toilet. Peeing in the 'urinal' was free but if you wanted to do anything more serious you had to slot your penny into the slide on the door of the cubicle and twist it around so it fell into the metal box underneath before the door would open.

I imagine the ladies next door didn't have the option of a free pee and had to pay either way.

One day I happened to glance up and there was a mirror being held up over me by someone in the next cubicle. I quickly packed up and fled, never to spend a penny there again.
________

Reminds of a clever ditty I once read on a toilet wall (great sources of creative inspiration): "Here I sit / Broken hearted / Spent a penny / And only farted" - KJ

Arthur Williams

Thank goodness for Phil and his oft thought provoking posts. This cold November morning, after I had made my second or was it third nocturnal urge to visit to the lavatory, I just was lying there willing myself to sleep again. To no avail so I got up at 0530 and had breakfast.

Munching my nuts, which is hard at 80 (meant Nutty Crunch), made me think of my college days when I was married and needed to augment my grant.

I had obtained shift work as a warden in the Swansea council’s old peoples’ home on the sea front very near St Helen’s playing field where the All Blacks for the first time in 1935 were beaten by a club side.

On the night shift after every hourly patrol I had to make a signed entry in the log book to show I was wide awake as well as to record any activity by the residents.

On my first night I noted how previous colleagues reported in the book. One regular cryptic word often appeared, ‘Mr Jones mic.’

At the start of my shift the following night I asked the workmate who I was replacing, “What does the abbreviation ‘mic’ mean in the log.

He explained it was when one of the old men went for a pee. I think he said it was short for ‘mictate’, the bladder problem that causes old folk to have to get up in the middle of the night. Now I know that can be called Nocturia too.

Fifty years later I just looked it up. It actually appears to have originated from Micturate and as Phil said many opinions are not often worthwhile hearing or reading.

I read one definition for the bladder-runs: ‘When you have the frequent urge to use the restroom at night, a good night’s sleep can be hard to achieve.’ REST ROOM what a bloody silly word, I’ve just disturbed my rest! Then comes the ultra-wise words: ‘A good night’s sleep can be hard to achieve!’ Surely the writer of that is literally taking the piss.

PNG urinary trivia. In my wife’s language, pee is ‘mic’ How about that? Were the ancient Lavongai islanders visited by the Latin speaking Romans or did they adapt the polite word from an early 19th century priest?

Perhaps Professor Craig A Volker now living in Kavieng could consider investigating for his interesting regular column about language in The National Weekender.

Gotta go, “Want to spend a penny!”

Bernard Corden

The most notable and distressing feature in any GP's waiting room is the EFTPOS machine prominently displayed at the receptionist's counter.

"All professions are a conspiracy against the laity" - George Bernard Shaw

"Scientific theory is a contrived foothold in the chaos of living phenomena" - Wilhelm Reich

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