First of all I found myself marvelling at the energy, resilience and endurance of teachers who have been struggling to the end of the term, this week. Having witnessed my first grand-daughter in her first nativity play, I found myself marvelling at her teachers and wondering how they were still on their feet at the end of term?
For something completely different, I have in recent weeks been marvelling at the “flash mob” phenomenon which seems to have come to the fore somehow (although it’s been around for seven years!) Just in case you haven’t come across this yet, Wikipedia defines a flash mob as “a large group of people who assemble in a public place and perform an unusual act for a brief time, then disperse” and then they seem to appear on You Tube. I don’t know what it is about this but it has brought tears to my eyes. Maybe in the regimented world we live in, it is nice to see (mostly) young people spontaneously (although it’s not) orchestrating dance routines in large numbers, to a high level of competence in public places with no warning. What an art form! If you’ve never been in the direction of ‘You Tube’ just Google it with the words ‘flash mob’ and you’ll be there. The exceptional one that seems to be getting the most hits (over 7 million at present) is “Flash Mob – Sound of Music Central Station Antwerp,” which is well worth a watch.
Yes, there are millions of things to marvel over from sunrises to sunsets and everything that happens in between, but this past week I’ve found myself marvelling at advertisements in my daily paper. The first one was an advert for laptop computers with 6GB memory, and 500GB hard drives. Go back three years and these figures would have seemed incredible. Megabyte, yes! Gigabyte? Are you joking? I marvel at the pace of development and wonder what we’ll be seeing in another three years time.
Then I turned a page to find a two-page advertisement for a well-known perfume. How much is added to every bottle to pay for that – and it is already a well-known brand! I suppose it’s a case of what’s another £4 a bottle, say (to pay for the advert), when you are paying over forty pounds for it anyway. I marvel at the practice of spending mega-bucks on smelly liquid in the belief that she will be more acceptable to those she wants to win over – or does she want to cover up her own smells? I’m never sure of these things so I’ll move on hastily.
The next advertisement was for what are generally called “white kitchen goods” and if you bought one from this particular manufacturer you would be given a FREE drinks maker. What I found myself marvelling at here was the sheer nerve of this manufacturer to believe we are stupid enough to believe in FREE goods. We know you are either discounting these goods because there’s a new range coming next year and you want to get rid of the existing stock, or you’ve simply added the price to the main item. Whoever do you think you’re kidding? Don’t you realise it just makes you look silly! You come over to us as a bunch of con artists and that detracts from what might otherwise be a good product.
That puts them on the level of that well-known supermarket, who a friend of mine describes as ‘a bunch of barrow boys’ (which I think is hard on the people in the local market!) and who keep cutting the price of goods with large labels, “Half Price”. What? If you can sell them at that price it means you’ve been scamming us for the last ten weeks. Don’t you realise that in these days of incredibly elastic demand (the range of good and shops I can reach is so great I just won’t buy your goods when they are expensive) you are just showing yourselves as a bunch of clowns, juggling prices instead of balls, and not being taken seriously by us?
Well there you are, ethical or philosophical resource material to idle away the hours while you are letting the Christmas Pud go down, ready for the next culinary invasion. Have a great week; enjoy and marvel at the good things, and laugh at the stupid ones. Here’s a new Christmas thought to finish with: If receiving lots of cards is to be meaningful, when you display them, wouldn’t it be better to fold them all inside out so that the names and messages are visible, to constantly remind you of your family and friends?
Quote: “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
(Source: Dr. Seuss)
7. What a Marvellous World (Written before Christmas)
Marvel: verb: to be surprised at, wonder at.
A few minutes ago I put down a book where an anecdotal writer started “Just in case you haven’t had time to keep up with…” and then went on to explain it by, “well, it’s heading for Christmas and we’ve all got a lot on.” Recognising that we are indeed heading for Christmas, and you probably do ‘have a lot on’, let me take your mind off Christmas into the wonderful wider world for a couple of minutes.
Mulling over the things that have been rumbling around in the back of my mind this week, I did wonder about changing my pseudonym to ‘Captain Marvel’ for this week, but as younger readers would miss the significance of that and I didn’t want to be seen as a super-hero anyway, I decided against that. But I am aware that I have been marvelling at an odd variety of things this week. Let’s see if any of this resonates with you.