Please Do Lead Me Astray
The House of Lords is reeling after a certain peer was found to be ageing rather disgracefully. I have to say that the photo of the said gentleman reclining after an episode of excess, no doubt, replete with orange bra, leather jacket and cigarette had me in hysterics. Of course none of this behaviour should be considered shocking in a world that is becoming more and more depraved and perverse. One need only read the headlines or see what passes for justice in some parts of the world. The British establishment may be bonkers producing a debauched lord but is it truly so hair-raising to discover what people get up to in their private lives? Naturally the self-righteous brigade is quick to condemn and pity the poor wife who hardly deserves to be humiliated etc. but there are usually two culprits responsible for a marriage imploding (or becoming stronger, for that matter). The whole episode is unfortunate for all concerned but what truly beggars belief is why expose oneself to potential ridicule and the destruction of a long career by taking such a big risk? I'm not condemning or condoning the peer's behaviour. The human condition is a perilous balancing act between juggling and deceiving, usually oneself. If one wishes to be somewhere else, be it in a different job or by leaving a partner, surely it is better to be true to oneself rather than to live a complete lie?
Cecil Meets a Terrible End
Worldwide contempt has been aimed at the American dentist who paid handsomely to kill a much-loved African lion named Cecil. Twitter was all awash with helpful suggestions for doing away with the dentist and making him pay for his crime. I interjected my two cents' worth by tweeting that maybe selling licences to kill magnificent wildlife is the real issue here. The dentist is surely living his own personal hell now but some of that worldwide vitriol should perhaps be targeted at the powers-that-be who profit grotesquely from game hunting and the killing of the likes of Cecil. From a philosophical perspective, anyone who takes pleasure in death is just not all there- nothing is more pitiful, tragic and the antithesis of what it is to be human than to purposefully take the life of another for self-gratification.
The Duck Armada
A migrant goose has come to our local lake and is creating havoc for the resident wild ducks. Much squawking and honking is to be heard on occasion - mostly from the goose who seems to want to take over the entire lake - all 40 kms in circumference of it - and he's only one goose, as if he needs all that space. The local ducks, which were at it like rabbits in the spring and now number several dozen, have reached exasperation point. Not only has the goose made enemies by drowning baby ducks in a bid to enforce his superiority (and squawking loudly in defiance) but he has generally aggravated the entire lakeside community of otters, coypus, seagulls, herons and no doubt even the fish whose hitherto tranquil lake now ripples with discontent. The ducks however have refused to take abuse of any kind lying down. Most extraordinarily of all, the ducks have adopted a Ghandi-like stance that horror of horrors is actually working. Rather than fight aggression with aggression, the ducks have been seen encircling the goose silently and paddling calmly in unison towards the Caesar-like fowl. The poor goose feeling overwhelmed by the determined and suddenly threatening ducks, has taken to paddling away from them as fast as possible to the other side of the lake. After several days of the silent paddling treatment, the goose has given up his squawking and ambition of world dominance. The poor goose has now been totally brainwashed into believing he is actually a duck. Or has he?
My Very Personal Battle with Sadness
I used to treat others with contempt if they showed the slightest sign of mental weakness. You see, I've never had the luxury of feeling sorry for myself but in recent years the dilemma of being sad on occasion and looking towards the future, has gotten harder for me. I don't believe I am alone in feeling this way and have met many people who echo the following: it's no fun being alone and childless in your fifties. Some may argue that not all children make their parents happy and I certainly know that from bitter experience. And not all lovers/companions offer love without a price to pay in exchange. People contact me to say they read what I write and maybe I've managed to impart some of the lessons I learned the hard way. So here's my advice to women. Don't be like me. Forget feminism and wanting to achieve. Marry young, have lots of children and grab the luxury of a man paying the bills. I can assure you that when you enter the last half of your life, you'll see it as a type of paradise. Put another way, despite having countless opportunities and doing all the things we want, as we get older, we realise that all that really makes sense in life is not things, possessions or even accolades. The circle of life draws inevitably to a close and it is family, a shared history and the ties that were predestined which reinforce us.
Photo copyright S. van Dalen