Friday, February 8, 2008

Dangerous to know

Busy day today, fixing wheelchairs and aids for the disabled. I just got on with it, not fussing the rest of the guys with 'what do you want me to do now?' I just picked my jobs and did the ones I could. I like working with my hands. It's absorbing, even cathartic, and strangely enough helps me think. Successfully fixed four wheelchairs, a stroller, and a few other bits and pieces.

I used to blog about my last UK job under a pseudonym, and had a regular readership of over 2500 'hits' a week. During December 2006 this rose to over 8000 individual readers a week on the run up to Christmas. Not like this blog, which is a very placid and obscure little backwater in the blogosphere, which suits me just fine.

Six months after I finished that job and stopped posting about my job on the blog, my ex-employers thought they'd found me out, and my old alter ego got a threatening 'cease and desist' e-mail from my old boss. One of the things I gave thinking time to today was what I was going to do about the threat, which has been bothering me for quite a while. What it boiled down to was this; what were they going to do if I left the blog up? Have me arrested? Sue me? Refuse references? These three options had me pondering until I arrived at the following decision; they can go swivel on it. The blogs will remain. Firstly I don't like being threatened. Secondly I'm over five thousand miles away and the UK civil courts have no juresdiction. Thirdly, in the UK I'm broke, so they aren't likely to get any money out of me. Fourthly I'm not going to quote them as a reference. Although I did a capable job for them and always got praise from my immediate superiors for the quality of my work, I hated every minute of the time I had to spend in my erstwhile bosses presence and almost wrecked my health working for them. Upon careful reflection I have decided that I owe them nothing. Fuck 'em. Petty little sods. The blogs can stay up as a memorial to their ineptitude. If they can prove it was me in a court of law, which I doubt they ever could; there's no benefit for them. If the press ever connected my alter ego's blog to my real name, it would make my employers look even more petty and ridiculous than ever I found them. The blogs traffic will eventually wither and die until it becomes a dusty little cul-de-sac on some back road off the information superhighway. Calling attention to it would be a mistake. If they had any sense, my ex employers should let that particular sleeping dog lie. But they haven't. That's probably what drove the blog.

Talking of sense, I've been haunting the UK newspaper forums of late, although I know I shouldn't, and find precious little there. If what is written is the reflection of the UK's general level of intelligence and education, then UK plc is in serious trouble. Very few people seem to think before posting. They don't look at the big picture at all. From the insulting behaviour of the online 'trolls', to the frothing insanity of the conspiracy theorists and religious fanatics, there's hardly an atom of logic to be found at all. They almost always attack the messenger, not the message, because many have nothing but dogma to fall back on for argument. Their intellectual bankruptcy appals me. For myself I often erase what I've written and step away from the keyboard because reacting to the futlity of it all is just not rational.

Whenever temptation to get involved in a posting free-for-all strikes a choice piece of dialogue from the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy drifts into my head. "You can read my mind?" Goes the outraged voice of Arthur Dent, the quintessential middle englander.
"Yes." Responds the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android. "And I'm amazed you can live in anything that small."

Such is the human condition. Never mind; the fishing season is almost upon us, and I've got a nice little spot picked out from which to bag the odd salmon. One of my daily tasks is to improve my access by placing rocks to form a stable stairway down to the shore. I've also taken to reading 'Hemingway on Fishing' and P J O'Rourke's pieces on the subject, which may not have as much literary merit, but are far funnier.