The Fiver for Superman and the Moany Old Fart


Here’s the story of incentive, regret, and scabs.

Ever since when did we start incentivising correct behaviour? I saw a poster this week, I kid you not, that was encouraging people to rat out their criminal friends for a free £5 iTunes gift voucher. Seriously. ‘Have a friend who you know has caused criminal damage or does so regularly? Call Crimestoppers and tell us about it, and you’ll get a free £5 iTunes gift voucher’. If you have a friend who causes criminal damage on a regular basis, what makes Crimestoppers think a bloody £5 gift voucher is gonna make the world of difference? It’s ridiculous. For a start, have you ever actually bought anything on iTunes? £5 won’t get you very far. If £5 is all that’s keeping you from ratting out a friend, then either your friendship is a fickle thing or you failed mathematics…

The whole notion makes me queasy. If I had a friend, parent, family member, son or daughter, I would not hesitate to grab them by the ear and throw them in the nick myself. “Dad, come on, it’s barely a smidge of cocaine, come on, don’t call the police.” Nope. I would do just that. “Dad, I know you caught us together, but I’m 15 and he’s 16, but not you’re not gonna call the police, right?” Erm, obviously. It’s illegal. What kind of awful parent wouldn’t? I can’t envision a world where you would even need to hesitate to rat out a criminal. Yet it has gotten so bad, we have to offer gift vouchers in return for information. If they’re so dumb as to not rat out a friend and take the £5 bait, then why not offer them something cheaper? A pat on the back would probably work just as well.

What happened to a society that would do things out of the goodness of their hearts? Last time I found some money on the street, I handed it in to the local police station. First thought in my mind. It would hardly surprise me to see posters springing up with the message, ‘Find some money? Please, don’t go with your first thought of buying some new shoes with it, give it to a copper.’ Where are the public information posters gonna end, eh? ‘Please remember, whilst in public, don’t pick your nose and proceed to flick it.’

I know the information posters are all in good faith and trying to promote a positive message to the young ones among us. And that’s a good thing, if it changes a few minds, then wonderful. The point is, they should think this way from childhood. What is friendship even worth? Are we saying it’s a fiver? Or are we simply trying to say that good can come from evil? I miss the olden days when you could leave your front door unlocked because nobody was a thief back then. When shops didn’t have security guards. Or had to use them. When little kids didn’t wield crowbars in the pursuit of menace. When £5 would’ve bought you a house, instead of an overly complicated user interface, ridiculous licensing agreements, and a whole heap of iTunes’ manufactured fun.

I’m starting to sound like a moany old fart, aren’t I? I suppose the few who know me would argue I’ve always been this way. I had a horrifying realisation this week, and I’m not one who has horrifying realisations very often. In fact, the most horrifying thing I encounter is my face on a morning. And during the day. And the evening. And most nights, too. It’s so horrifying, I’ve become numb to horrifying-ness. What I realised this week was just how ‘abnormal’ I am…

I’ve been at a thing for two weeks, it’s finished now and what it is for isn’t remotely important. But I was there with a group of people a few years younger than me, and one a few years older. I couldn’t connect with any of them. I couldn’t speak. I was pale. Every time any of them tried to talk to me, I simply shied away. They all made friends with one another and all swapped phone numbers – all except me. Never had a friend in 24 years. Never thought I needed one. I’ve always been perfectly happy alone. I’ve turned down so many chances for friendship, romance, nights out, new and exciting opportunities, all because shyness is an incurable disease. I’ll never be able to function within society, and that’s okay, I’ve accepted that. It’s just weeks like the last two have really made me realise how unbelievably lonely my existence is. Make you question every decision you’ve ever made. And it’s an awful feeling because if I relived every moment of my life but knowing what I know now, I’d make the same decisions. Shyness makes life almost unliveable.

As if things couldn’t get any more serious, I have throat and nose issues related to some illness or another. Probably a nasty cold. Could be Ebola, I suppose. What? Constant worrier, I am. I have so little energy at the moment and that’s remarkable because I rarely have any anyway. And I’m going away next weekend for three days. On top of criminal rat incentives and social realisations, this bloody cold is the third and final nail in my coffin. And I’ll tell you this much: that is one poorly secured coffin. I tells ya, when you bury me, use more than three nails. And that day may come sooner than you think. I’m basically being held together with tape. Everything inside me is falling to pieces, and everything up in the brain department is exploding more spectacularly than a thousand fireworks in a snow globe. And I have weird crusty scabs in both my ears. I tried picking them off, but then my ears started bleeding, which certainly gave me a fright when I looked in the mirror…

I’ve had a funny week. I’m still trying to process it all. It’s like a jigsaw assembled in the wrong order. I think what I need is rest, hot whisky and a good prayer or two to Superman…

American psychologist and professor, Philip G. Zimbardo (b. 1933), once said: “The level of shyness has gone up dramatically in the last decade. I think shyness is an index of social pathology rather than a pathology of the individual.”

Peace Out :|:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
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