Monday, August 30, 2004

The Queen's medal for not running away screaming like a girl

Why is it that I can not understand perfectly simple rules? In fact I can understand rules, I just happen to underestimate the impact. Never drink coffee on a Sunday: you won't get to sleep until three o'clock in the morning. What with waking at six o'clock, this is generally a bad thing, and so I stumble into work absolutely knackered and not the happiest of creatures.

This is all about deferring the pain and how easy it is to underestimate it. Of course I am tired, I knew I was going to be tired, I should have prepared for it; but instead ...

I wonder if it's ever this way with noble sacrifice, if afterwards the hero while in agony pops his/her head up and says, "Look, can we have another go at this." The thing is, I can see myself as making a noble sacrifice, it's the kind of stupid, short-term ego-boosting measure I'd be good at; then afterwards of course I'd be a complete coward, but by that point I would be committed and everyone would have to look on with a mix of pity and disgust as I tried last-ditch negotiation, "What about the poor orphan children? You could catch-up with them, I know the escape route. And the entrance to the secret rebel base? My wife, take my wife, she's lovely, really, so trusting. I've got the keys to the car in my back pocket. How about ... is that a poker? So it's not going to be psychological torture, then? Sleep deprivation and that such. Whitney Houstan at 100 decibals 24 hours a day? I really hate Whitney, honestly. It's just I didn't ... no, I suppose you are an utterly evil tyrant. Take it like a man? Well, if I don't will you let me go?"

My father served in the army and he has attended preparation-for-torture type courses (I wonder if they're available as evening classes?) and he said that the expectation was that anyone would break within a week. A week? I'd be blabbing in a few seconds.

My father, of course, was a big fan of heroism, including the blood-and-guts do something suicidal sort. I am less convinced; noble sacrifice can not be argued with, but in many circumstances it's virtually obligatory - when children are involved, for example - but this is more lack of cowardice than than acts of heroism. In terms of the pure-suicide-how-brave heroism I tend to wonder about the cases where it was pure suicide and nothing was achieved. Of course this confuses heroism with bravery: bravery can't attract attention to itself, other wise it invalidates itself, and it can't be self-aware else it becomes self-idolotry. Bravery is quiet. My father had a very low opinion of people under his command who got 'the shakes'; I rather admired them, it showed an understanding of the danger they were in whereas the others who were 'braver' were, in my humble opinion, deluded. I once tried to explain this to him, which was probably one of the least sensible ideas in my life.

I do not think I am brave. But sometimes, when I am very low, I try to convince myself that I am not a coward.

4 Comments:

At 8:06 pm, Blogger Trinity said...

being low is not cowardise. Sometimes we all need to lie low and take stock.

 
At 11:06 pm, Blogger Trinity said...

Why ever would you think yourself boring. Complex but no way boring

 
At 10:30 am, Blogger Corgan Dane said...

This has absolutely nothing to do with your post...but I had to tell you, I love your profile pic...it's brilliant.

(Applauds)

 
At 10:52 pm, Blogger laphroaig said...

He's cool isn't he? I love the way he looks as if he's been photographed while in the middle of screaming (insert NY accent): "Oh. My. GAAARRRRRRRRRD."

 

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