The Never List (Ain’t Nobody Got Time Fo Dat!)

There are things in life that people do or achieve that I just don’t get. These things are considered milestones, or cathartic. Achievements too talk about at work or in social situations, the kind of thing that people feel they should be interested in or, at the very least, impressed by.
The most notable thing is, most of the achievements take a long time, anything from several hours to several weeks. They also tend to be uncomfortable. Case in point:

1.) The marathon
My day job for most of the last two decades has been fitness related. I was an aerobic instructor for a bit, but quickly realised that I only really liked teaching kickboxing as a class. I also started personal training. Anyone who does fitness for a living has encountered the question; have you ever run the marathon? Now many a young buck or buckess, who has become a trainer after finding the rat race pays well but is really, really competitive. So they are overly enthusiastic when it comes to fitness. They feel they have to prove their fitness credentials, not only on paper but in deed as well. They will generally do some sort of extreme fitness thing; triathlon, snowboarding, run a marathon!
I like running. Love it in fact. Feels great, it is cheap and you can do it anytime. I’ll run for half an hour, forty minutes at a push. I am not going to run for four plus hours! No. Not when I really don’t have to. I like to race as much as the next man. Sprints? I am your man. Over quickly, taxing without destroying my knees. A marathon, twenty-six point two miles, is hard on the knees, back, feet and unless you are among the elite Ethiopians, soul destroying. You’re not going to win. No hope. You might place, I don’t know, twelve thousand, four hundred and thirteenth? But all you got is a great time, along with your battered vertebrae, feet and knees. No thank you.

2.) Climb A Mountain
Hell no. I do not even enjoy walking up hill! The amount of people that try to scale Everest on an annual basis is astounding. It’s a big rock! Why do people get so excited by the thought of climbing – conquering – a rock? And whilst I mention it, because it is in same vein, why do people feel the need to go to the Poles? They are whiteouts. Nothing to see here. Just ice and penguins. And they’re only at one of the Poles!
If you’re an explorer – not a job, but if you can persuade some sap to pay you to do it, more power to you – I accept that you have to undertake certain ventures. For the rest of us, I think I’ll just catch the highlights on television.

3.) Sailing
When I say sailing, I am not talking about a leisurely punt around the bay. No, I’m talking the full on man-against-the-elements, calloused hands, sleep in a hammock, water all around but not a drop to drink, land ahoy kind of sailing. The kind that only people who have never had to work embark on. Sailing is expensive and, if you traversing oceans, time consuming. I think that it appeals to the romantic in people; out on the high seas, one with the world. And the not working of course. For me, I can think of very little, not already mentioned, that would be worse. I get sea sick on a ferry, I am not going to survive for weeks on end in a boat! It’s out for me.

4.) Triathlon
Think marathon and then add swimming, me with my brick like aerodynamics in water, and cycling. I hate cycling. So you swim for a long time. Then cycle for a long time. And then run. For a long time. No. Several levels of hell all packed together. Not only that, it is a sport of posturing. Expensive… Everything! Bikes, wet suits, trainers, training. Speaking of training, triathlon takes over your life. If you embark on any distance longer than a sprint, you are going to spend every spare minute training for it. If, like most people, you pay to enter an event, you are not going to win. People who win triathlons get paid, They do not pay. You’re just participating, making up numbers. Have fun.

Seppuku: A Lesson In Shame

In Feudal Japan, a warrior – samurai – would, if captured by his enemy or in order to prevent falling into enemy hands, having brought dishonour on his clan, commit ritual suicide rather than live in shame or be tortured.
In modern day Japan, suicide is still seen as a way to end one’s life if one feels a sense of shame for being unable to support the family or unable to attain the high standards in life expected of them.
In times past, a politician or person of high social standing, a film or television personality could, overnight, see their career reduce to ruins. The sense of possible disgrace, public ridicule and personal embarrassment was self policing and helped to maintain a semblance of decency in society.
With the explosion of social media, reality television and the all encompassing World Wide Web, this seems to have got lost. There is an almost insatiable need to be entertained and humoured. When seen first time on film, a train coming into a station scared and fascinated people, but quickly became mundane when people realised it was harmless entertainment; a new medium. So has been the way with media and entertaining.
Things that used to shock became everyday and, like everything, if it happens in the media it filters down to the general populace. Sexual promiscuity is fine. I saw it on a reality show. Having no sense of embarrassment, along with no discernible talent is fine. I saw that on a ‘talent’ show. It is not just television. The get-ahead-at-any-cost mentally is reflected in the relentless pursuit of technology and upgrades to that technology, usually mere months after the last iteration.
Banks ripped us off? Oops, we will reduce our bonuses, sorry. No jobs lost; no grovelling apology. Politicians taking advantage of age old home allowance laws? Plenty of exposure, not one resignation or moment of contrition from an avaricious, cheating seat holder. It has got so that even those accused of actual punishable crimes, show no sense of shame, no covering up as cameras thrust toward them on their walk to or from the courtroom.
The things that offend are no longer a collective agreement; where one may argue that public nudity is inappropriate, another would as strongly argue that the human body is natural thing and was never meant to be clothed! Freedom of speech, of expression, the liberal belief of everyone has a right to be, is a beautiful and laudable thing. What happens when, as it seems has happened, we affluent, over fed, consumer crazed, must-have-it-now society of the West, get that? It is, nobody is seeing it, the absolute power.
Shame, self pride, was the unseen guardian of society. If it’s power has waned to such an extent, that the only people truly vilified are rapist and pedophiles, what is going to stop anarchy?