Saturday, July 10, 2010

Random thought process

Some people walk away clean.

Raoul Moat didn't, but so many do. They make mistakes, they mess up and mess about but it never catches up with them.

These individuals fascinate me. They are the untouchable ones for whom bad news is a story, it is removed from them entirely. It is something that happens to other people.

It must create within them a positivity that is beyond my understanding. To expect the best rather than the worst must ensure you are a better friend, a better partner and a better parent.

I know some who are like this, who have floated through life unhindered by a phone call in the middle of the night that disturbs the narrative of ordinary living with endless days of silence interrupted only by crying. Grown men crying. Or by the bad timing that implicates the innocent in a tragedy or an accident of some sort - unintentional harm caused is no less heavy a burden on the mind. Or by a test that brings news that the body has failed.

They are good people, but they are of course still unhappy with their lot in life to some extent because they are human and it is the nature of blessings that you only pause to identify and count them as they disappear rather than while they are granting you refuge.

I know too the others, the ones who don't walk away clean, who are targeted again and again whenever they dare raise their heads above the parapet. They get the late night calls and they find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. They don't expect anything other than the worst and this in itself is a preparation for the next episode of misfortune. There are good moments obviously, but they come to be regarded as preludes and interludes before or between.

There is a wonderful word that they created for these people.


To be indifferent to pleasure or pain, not succumb to the passions or emotions evoked by the good or the bad.

It has to be the ultimate coping mechanism, to find that switch and stop caring.

One would have to wonder whether you'd be better off dead.


  1. I did a Proust questionnaire the other day, and one of the questions was, "What do you consider the most over-rated virtue?"

    I came very close to putting down stoicism, strange that I should read a similar thought here.

  2. Radge - That is indeed strange. I'm interested to know what other questions appear on a Proust questionnaire ;)

  3. I wonder is it that they don't care or that they don't know how to care. Maybe there's a need for people who are desensitised emotional sponges.

  4. Holemaster - I agree that there are far too many who are too willing to emote and wallow nowadays. I also think stoicism is found amongst the Irish more than any other race. Suppressing feelings has been a genetic reflex for many characters of John B Keane/Brian Friel creation for a reason.

  5. Shit happens. The problem is that it doesn't seem to be spread around fairly. On the other hand, when it happens to me once more - and I've had my share of it - I try to think along the lines of what doesn't kill us, serves only to make us stronger ... or wiser.
    After all, without shit/manure of some sort nothing can grow. There may be a certain amount of whistling in the dark about this but, as John Lennon once said, whatever gets you through the night ...

  6. Francis - A good take on the bad days there. It all does leave a mark, but yes it definitely makes you stronger. What gets me through the night is ear plugs and ignoring Brendan!