Monday 6 June 2011


It's been a long time since I have bothered to read anything produced by Hugh Mackay. I think he had some very interesting stuff to say back in the early 1980s, but since then, he's been repeating like a scratched record (for those of you old enough to remember what a record looked like).

I did get one interesting snippet from this book review though:

The lack of personal space can likewise be a raw psychological wound. Just as a woman needs a room of her own, a bloke must have a shed, as a refuge and a site of reflection. For many people, their car is a particularly important place, generating a sense of control not found elsewhere.
I'm interested in the bit about the car, not the shed. I always on the lookout for why some people are relaxed and polite when behind the wheel, and others are complete arseholes. Perhaps it does come down to control - the less control you have over your life, the more aggro you're likely to be.

I'm pretty relaxed about most things, because I recognise that there is a hell of a lot of stuff in my life that I have no control over, and it's not worth stressing about. For that, I blame boarding school and the army - in both situations, many aspects of your life are tightly regulated. When to eat, when to sleep, when to crap etc etc. What to wear, where to sleep (if to sleep at all), how long your hair can be and on and on and on. You either buck the system (which a few people always do), or you learn to go along with it. Acceptance comes more easily for some than others - realising that you are just a tiny cog in a big machine, and the machine really doesn't give a bugger about you. Just do as you are told, paint the rocks, salute the boneheads and march up and down until your feet blister.

There's also the "greatcoats on, greatcoats off" experiences that they military constantly provides. What that means is that you are told to do one thing (greatcoats on) and once you are well and truly embarked on it, you are told to do the exact opposite (greatcoats off). This generally involves things like route marching to a certain point to be collected by trucks, only to be told when you get there that the trucks are 20km in the opposite direction. You either accept that the military is an endless series of fuck-ups, or you go mental.

This is all very Zen like, isn't it?


cav said...

Go see the Padre

cav said...
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