Sunday, March 13, 2011

STRESS AND CONFLICT

“I don’t think they are the same they; not the they you were referring to when you said they were out to get them” explained Smartypants patiently “They are the they who are watching and – turning to face Lefty – the they are the they who are the powers that be in the capitalist system”
“You can’t put it clearer than that” agreed Fancypants
“Too many pronouns” said Teacherspet nodding sagely
“Don’t be such a smart-ass!” said The Gorilla “They are communicating aren’t they?”
“Communicating? You off your rocker? It’s Dreamy and Lefty we are talking about. When did Dreamy ever communicate with anyone? Interjected The Professor
“You can’t be too careful. They are watching you the whole time and listening” hissed Dreamy his eyes wide as saucers “They are out to get me” he added eyeing the coat rack suspiciously.
We all turned round to glance at the coat rack and then back at Dreamy who having emerged momentarily from his usual trance, had once more retreated into his subconscious, an area of his mind he seemed to inhabit permanently. He does, occasionally, write me essays that defy logic; a shrink’s dream…
“You are willfully misunderstanding me” shrieked Lefty leaping to his feet as was his habit “Conflict will erupt as the working classes of the world unite…”
“Cry havoc and let slip the hounds of war” said The Professor sagely
“Dogs of war” snapped Teacherspet turning to look at me
“Google it” I retorted
“Unite? Which planet are you living on? No worker in his right mind in this country is going to unite with workers in Greece or Israel. And can you see French workers and British workers uniting?” scoffed Fancypants completely ignoring Julius Ceaser “They are already united with Pakis and Indians not mention West Indians and look where that got them” he added waging his finger
“I am sure they regret it like anything. Unions can be carried too far. Vague discussions are fine but anything more tends to get messy” nodded Metalchic who was all for free love and free pretty much everything.
“Can’t everyone have their own private little revolutions?” asked Goodasgold in conciliatory tones
We all gaped: it was the first time she had spoken since the beginning of the year. She and her buddy Quietasamouse would mouth the answers to questions I put to them and yours truly was expected to lip read, something I have developed a knack for I must admit. They had a third buddy: Stuartlittle who gave the impression of being trapped in her own body. She’s been eying Lefty approvingly since he arrived though; definitely a spark there I would say… Due partly to a shared world view.
“I didn’t know monkeys had working classes” said Blondie intrigued
“How can you be so frivolous!” cried Lefty passionately on his feet once again. Reminds me of you know who who did the same thing all through the first term. Why is it that opinionated people can’t talk sitting down? When I later told my daughter about this, she retorted: “You’re a fine one to talk!” cheeky monkey. Anyhow, getting back to the irate Lefty:  “Workers round the globe will rise up and…”
“He’s one sick puppy” said The Swimmer shaking his head
“Simon the Zealot eat your heart out” agreed The Professor
We were reading – supposedly – and discussing – equally supposedly – that wonderful text “Causes of Conflict” which attempts to discover the underlying causes of group conflict by examining conflict in primate communities and kids.
“It says here they killed the ladies and ohhhh they tore them apart” she said with a shudder “They are horrid. I don’t like monkeys and I refuse to believe we come from monkeys”
“Men” snorted Rockchic  as she removed the resident silverback, The Quarterback’s, arm from the back of her chair “Keep your hands to yourself or I’ll give you conflict” she warned
“Mountain gorillas are wonderful gentle creatures although chimps have some questionable practices” mused The Gorilla
“All absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble; Samuel Johnson” said Teacherspet gleefully.
That was the last straw; The Quarterback finally flipped his lid:
“You little prick! Wait until we get out of class!
“For Heaven’s sake! Can’t you discuss a text without disintegrating into arguments? I protested
“You get pissed off with someone if he does something dumb; you don’t get pissed with whole communities; that’s sick” said The Swimmer
“Yeah… They’re not where they are supposed to be ‘cos they’re ogling some chick so you feel hot and ready to pop like a pressure cooker and you grab them by the collar and head-butt them and…” The Quaterback began to explain.
“Not that old chestnut” yawned Teacherspet
“What on earth do you mean?” I asked
“The wideout; he’s a right idiot” The Gorilla explained
I am finally going to have to face the fact that they are incapable of having a general discussion about any issue; it drives me mad. You mention stress and conflict and out pops a team mate. Everything is so personal… I have never seen the like. Then there is Lefty of course and he has by no means given up:
“The individual has always had to struggle not to be overwhelmed by the tribe” he said glaring at his foes
“You’re contradicting yourself you know” nodded Fancypants “And it wasn’t one of your idols who said that; I can tell you. It was Nietzche” ???
Thank God we ran out of time at that point. Later, I recounted all this to my daughter who chuckled and remarked:
“Give them a few years in the private sector and a regular salary and they’ll all become arch capitalists like the rest of us. You’ll see. Fancypants is way ahead of them.”
She’s right of course. It’s all part of growing up I guess…



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