Tis the gift to be simple Part 2 by Trevor Plumbly
‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride’
I’m enjoying simplicity of thought a lot more of late. I’ve reached the conclusion that most of the discontent going round is caused by too much information and not enough understanding; everyone seems to suck stuff up these days. Life’s hiccups used to be a lot more public and whatever it chucked at you somebody had a cliché on hand for verbal therapy and, of course, to let others know that it wasn’t their fault and, more importantly, it wasn’t happening to them.
The push button brainiacs have ridiculed these verbal gems into oblivion. However, I reckon odd bits of the past must have some philosophical value. We just need to get rid of the miserable bits that make history what it is. Most of those responsible for it are dead so there’s no point assigning blame, but maybe Henry Ford was half right lots of it actually is bunk!
‘Two heads are better than one’
But only if their thoughts are properly directed; we need to re-think thinking if we’re going to give old-fashioned wisdom breathing space. All over the world perfectly good brains are being cluttered up by contemplating things they’ll never change. I’ve heard of a think tank in Brighton near Melbourne where they spend hours debating the impact of foreign stuff over cell phones and caffeine dregs: see my point? Perfectly good minds turned to blotting paper courtesy of Bill Gates!
Having worn the Trump issue down to its conversational rims, they’re now contemplating the economic power of the Chinese in the South Pacific. Give it up guys! With a spot of tweaking you could lead the world back to simplicity. That intense stuff’s basically un-Australian and you chaps aren’t wired for the abstracts of economic conspiracies or arcane philosophy, get back to not giving a toss. Bugger Socrates, Plato and the foreign mob, stick to Slim Dusty and Banjo Patterson, real blokes with a simple approach to the vicissitudes of life! Look where flirting with politics got you: half the population of Canberra spend most of their energy teetering between gang-banging and self-gratification (metaphorically speaking of course). I’ve found trivia much healthier. You should try chucking a few clichés at each other: for example mention of ‘The Five Eyes’ could be met with ‘In the Land of the Blind the One Eyed Man is King’. It’ll offer sod-all in the way of logic, but then neither will heavy discussion on international intrigue.
‘The moving finger writes and having writ, moves on’
And it did! I tell you there’s shed loads of that sort of stuff back there begging for re-cycling, I don’t care for ‘seeing is believing’ much for obvious reasons, but ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ resonated with me from my early attempt to cop a feel behind the bike shed to my first encounter with a Real Estate Salesman. ‘God is the all seeing eye’ works fine for ‘the falling of a sparrow’ but who the hell wants to spend their life looking over their shoulder, waiting for a whack from upstairs?
There’s the human side too ‘you only get what you deserve’ illustrates that we’re a lost generation when it comes to achievable ideology. We should start papering over the cracks left by Paine, Lenin, Mao et al. We’ve become just too educated to enjoy life: take literature, it used to be romantic and harmless, most of the stuff centred around an innocent girl battling to preserve her virginity from an evil bastard with dark eyebrows hell-bent on getting out of his pants and into hers. This fluff kept most of the punters happily titillated because it was escapist fodder as opposed to today’s ‘meaningful’ gut wrenchers. Think I’m kidding? I read a critique yesterday of some tortured soul’s latest offering; the reviewer described the book as ‘a haunting emotional roller-coaster’. Who the hell needs that sort of crap for entertainment, let alone pay thirty odd bucks for it.
‘Least said, soonest mended’
This was an old favourite of my mother who, despite frequently offering the warning, was never short of words. Like most clichés, it had a basic logic to it that ended further conversation, allowing those afflicted the opportunity to get on with things without tearing themselves to pieces. Sadly, folksy wisdom doesn’t work much now: the cell-phone Caesers jab a couple of numbers and all manner of knowledge arrives without the inconvenience of thinking. Mention anything from Swine Fever to Snakebite and you’ll get a measured monologue that’ll make you wish you had a terminal case of both.
Another of her favourites was ‘You can’t take it with you’. That was an odd one as there wasn’t much of anything in our house in my youth; if there was any ‘it’, it certainly wasn’t in plain sight or worth the trouble of taking anywhere. ‘We all make mistakes’ is a bit smug for me, it’s like bestowing second hand mitigation at the same time as offering the opportunity for someone to hint that they’ve never made one.
‘Perchance to dream’
Whilst writing this, I’ve really got locked into clichéd thought. As politicians sermonise about ‘transparency’ and ‘accountability’, ‘blood out of a stone’ comes to mind. But it’s getting dark and this stuff’s pretty tiring. Perhaps a snort of the ‘tartan tranquiliser’ to repay the brain, then to bed; as Hemingway said ‘I like sleep, it’s only when I’m awake that life gets complicated!’