Self destruction and the Boo Beings

Present circumstances and nostalgia are the catalyst for my thoughts being penned today, surely though that is true of many days. But never has it seemed more poignant a time to reflect than now as the politics at home seem to be eerily similar to the past and old conflicts rage on. The most pressing of these old conflicts is the tense standoff with North Korea (DPRK) which after the sinking of a South Korea vessel has shown signs of elevating itself to a lot more than a standoff. As of Sunday the USA & South Korea are staging war games in the Sea of Japan and the Democratic People’s Republic  of Korea stands with its finger on the button, or so they would have us believe.

This rather startling state of affairs lead me to look at my own life, our country and at others around me, asking myself is self destruction inevitable?

I remember back to when I was very young, it was frequent that I would visit my Gran and often I didn’t sleep very well. So she would sit with me and talk to me or simply stroke my hair back until I fell asleep. I’m reminded of a story she told me one particular day when I had been creating an unusually pointless childhood strop. And it went something like this;

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Do not be a Boo Being.

You might think life is unfair and that you are being treated unfairly but often it isn’t the case and if you act very sternly, behave very angrily or stamp your feet very sadly then you may just end up as a Boo Being.

“What’s a Boo Being?”

A Boo Being is a little man that is filled with sorrow. Someone who doesn’t enjoy playing, who doesn’t enjoy talking to friends, who would much rather sit in a chair saying “BOO!”. Anyone can turn into a Boo Being and once you become one you can’t turn back! Boo Beings grumble at fences, glare at the sun and moan that sunny days are too hot!

“Is my dad a Boo Being?”

No! You would know a Boo Being if you met one.

“How would I know?”

Have you ever seen a full ice cream cone on the floor? Or a friend being sick at their own party? Or a balloon slipping out of a child’s hand?

“Yes”

That was a Boo Being. They don’t like fun and they don’t like laughter and you can’t cheer them up no matter how hard you try. And if you try they will end up making you sad. That’s how Boo Beings are made, they spread their sadness around because all they want is everyone to be sad with them. They move about without a sound and you wouldn’t notice one even if you were staring right at him. If a Boo Being ever caught you being sad, they would creep up to you and place a long cold finger on your shoulder and that would be it, I wouldn’t recognise you, you would be a Boo Being from that day on. So you be careful! If you behave like you did today, kicking your feet, shouting at people and having a miserable time then you might get spotted. And just when you least expect it, a cold sad lingering finger will find its way to your shoulder.

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Now it was a very effective story for a child but I’m not sure if sometimes I want to be a Boo Being. I’m equally not as sure if my Gran would have won any awards for her work with people suffering from depression. But is a Boo Being self destructive? Or a trap that once you’re in you can’t get out of? My Gran seemed to think so, but then again it’s quite likely she was insane.

One thing I’m sure of is that self destruction is a prevailing force in Politics. If a scandal doesn’t creep along to ruin a political career then time will bring it down in due course. Labour members from the executive spoke recently about reflecting on the past and one sentiment echoed over all others, governing is a tiring job. Perhaps the act of governing was itself a self destructive force. No matter where your allegiances lie I don’t think there is any doubt the last year of the Labour government was not a sleek display of how governing should be run but rather a burning inferno of slander, intrigue and a dollop of policy for good measure.  However my feelings are not one sided, a quick glance of this weeks papers display a dismantling or ‘self destruction’ of our country as we know it. A promise was made that cuts would be ‘non-essentials only’ but now we see the cuts include, police numbers, benefits, speed cameras and the biggest crime of them all the BBC!

Now of course these cuts could be seen as sensible policy so my claim of self destruction, needs to be explained a bit further. I am in favour of cuts, when those cuts are exactly what we all hate; unnecessary bureaucracy, pointless positions, overpaid bosses and frivolous spending. But when you look at the planned cuts in more depths you see that the cuts are in areas where we should be trying to save money but the actual grass root of what is being cut begs belief. Case in point, police cuts, we’ve been hearing for the past few years that the practice of target setting means that police spend hours filling out forms and less time on the streets. But the planned cuts see our police numbers reduced and a planned overhaul of the policing system. In short, another makeover of how policing will take place and the money will be found by reducing the number of police on the street. Another case in point, benefits, I think everyone knows that the benefit system in this country is abused. There are people getting far too much or lying to get benefits they don’t deserve or simply people have learned that in fact you earn more money claiming benefits than working a low wage job. But, benefits are essential. They help those who need it get back on their feet and in dire times keep afloat families and individuals who are really struggling. Yes I hate how benefits are abused but the answer is to reform the way benefits are issued and exactly how they interact with other benefits, what is the solution our government has come up with? Axing specific benefits, not finding out who needs then and squeezing out the cheats but simply removing the benefits they think people will stomach getting rid of.  Still not convinced? Let’s go onto another, speed cameras. Now here’s the first important point to understand about speed cameras. They don’t stop people speeding or stop the crashes that result from that speeding. What they do , is to stop people speeding in specific areas. So if you’ve got a country road beside a school where motorists are speeding and you erect a speed camera those motorist then slow down in that stretch of road, as we all know where fixed cameras are. However those motorists will go round the next spend and speed and possibly crash and possibly be killed. But the collateral damage that could of been caused by them speeding at the gates of a school or a busy village street is avoided. So after taking this in you suddenly become aware that the power of speed cameras is how they are allocated. I mean after all when was the last time you saw a police car or speed gun on the motorway? It’s been a while since I’ve seen one. Instead police are focused on accident hotspots, despite popular belief they are not just out to make money, if that’s what they wanted then one day on any motorway in this country would earn them far more than sitting on country lane. But, here’s the key point, the planned cuts are indiscriminate to the use and value of the speed camera. They are simply being considered as an area to cut as part of wider council cuts.

Okay that is your dose of politics for this piece, but the items I laid out while they of course may change and my opinion or your opinion may develop with the ongoing news cycle it still serves as a provocative source. I always find myself interacting with the news or friends or anything in the outside world and then using that interaction to reflect on myself. I think we all do it in some manner and these recent events have caused me to think about my own self destructive nature.

People ebb and flow through life to a different tempo with different factors altering how they interact with the world. What a lot of people have in common is a repetitive pattern to their mood or behaviour. It seems that nearly all of us can only go so far before quirks of our personality catch up with us. Usually these are entirely negative quirks that cause upset. I’m reminded of a girl whom I went to high school with, her name was Kirsty and her cycle was infamous amongst her friends. Approximately every 3 months she would simply fall out with every last one of them, no catalyst or source of division but then a ritual of apology, reproach and bonding would follow until the next upset. Luckily her friends took it in good stride and understood this to be just who Kirsty was, but I think in a lot of ways that’s how we all are. Perhaps it’s not as dramatic for most of us or with the same consequences but it seems we all have our repetitive flaws that while not understood certainly seem to have the agenda of self destruction.

I won’t go into a personal self analysis of how exactly my own ebbing and flowing winds me through life but it’s constantly a source of personal fascination. And I find that in certain circumstance this self destruction is less to do with an inevitable cock up that you have to apologise for but rather a sign that deeper down you are not happy with the status quo of your life. I have certainly found that this self destruction comes most frequently when I settle for less than I aspire to be, which is a crime no one should be found guilty of, at least I think so.

Whether it’s getting in the way of our aspirations or the status quo of our lives, self destruction and Boo Beings serve to upset the ebb and flow. While this can cause termoil and upset, I would say this, if you find yourself in the middle of a blazing mess with tears shed and feelings hurt. If you are not sure where to begin or if you are even at fault, if up and down aren’t as clear then remember one thing. Happiness is the key and whether you made a mistake by getting into the situation or you make a mistake trying to get out of it, as long as you aim to be happy and allow others to be happy with you then everything else slots into place. It is very hard to offend or hurt someone when you are just trying to consider yours and their happiness.

That battle reminds me of the strive towards our aspirations, it can be tough and uncompromising but at its heart there is a core goal that guides us. And even if you fail as you will so many times in life, at least you did it trying to do the right thing, trying to be that little bit better. After all what’s the worst that could happen? Well I suppose you could end up as a Boo Being.

William Goodspeed


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