Don’t Talk To Me About Life

26-05-2014 Monday

Today I was confronted with a story that really got me thinking. It was a hypothetical situation and I had to make a decision. It’s still bugging me and I can’t really say what I would do in such a situation. Well, I can, but you know what it’s like. When you’re watching the news and you hear about a robbery and you see somebody pointing a gun at a storeowner or an employee. People always say things like,’ Yeah, I would have done this and that (usually accompanied by some bad language and violent movements and gestures), if I were him.’ While in real life they’d probably do something totally different: sit in a corner and cry. Anyways, I was told this story (well, more or less, I’m telling you what I remembered).
There you are, in a hospital, when a fire breaks out. In one room there’s an old man attached to some machines and in the opposite room there are six teenagers who are also attached to some machines. They need those machines to stay alive and get well again. Due to the fire their lives are in danger. At this moment the fire is threatening the lives of the six teenagers and the old man is safe. By throwing a switch you can rescue the six teenagers but the old man will die in the fire. If you don’t throw the switch the six youngsters will die in the fire. What will you do?
Mr Owen brought this up during English class and we were supposed to discuss it in groups. Somebody once came up with the idea that teamwork would be a neat idea. ‘I am bored of teaching, you know what, I’ll just put them in group and let them figure things out themselves, that’ll teach ‘em,’ he/she must have thought. Well, I think it stinks. Teamwork irritates the (bad word) out of me. Also, for some reason each and every kid in class always says it ended up in the worst group. How can everybody be in the worst group? And the best part is that they always say things like,’ I’m in the worst group, because I am doing all the work and nobody else does anything!’ So, we’re all in the worst group and that’s only because we all seem to be working harder than the other group members.
Back to the story. Of course it’s a hypothetical situation. Still, it got me thinking. The old man has as much right to live as the six teenagers. Who am I to judge their lives? I know nothing about these people and there I am, deciding who gets to live and who gets to die. God has got a hell of a job and I figured that I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes. In the end I also decided not to throw the switch. I figured that if the switch was like that, somebody put it that way for a reason and who am I to interfere with fate, karma, God’s plan, or just bad luck?
My group members nearly got into a fight over this, shouting and screaming their ideas and thoughts. Mr Owen had to jump in to keep two kids from hitting each other. Apparently one of them had a granddad who was in hospital and he wouldn’t want his grandpa to die and then one of the kids said something about being egoistic, egocentric and something about mothers. I think that’s when the kid snapped. I just sat back and enjoyed the show. Mr Owen jumped in and clamed them down. Then he asked for my opinion,’ Arthur, whose life or lives do you think we should save?’ I stared him deeply into his deep dark eyes and in a very monotone voice I said,’ Life? Don’t talk to me about life*.’ Which confused him a little. He shook his head and walked away.
Evelyn was in another group and they were dead silent. They were all staring at each other blankly, waiting for somebody to speak its mind. Mr Owen tried his best to get them to talk, but they all refused. In the end they started discussing the situation as if the old man was Mr Owen himself. They said in that case the decision would have been a lot easier. Luckily Mr Owen didn’t hear it. As you can see, teamwork is not only hell on earth for us kids; even teachers can’t deal with it. Luckily the year is nearly done. I’m looking forward to my holidays even though I have no idea what we’re going to do or where we’re going to go. Everybody who’s got big plans, please, raise your hand and see me tomorrow. 


*Marvin the Paranoid Android – the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. 

Normality Restored For A Fiver

23-03-2014 Sunday

When Mum was taking a shower this morning, Dad gave me a fiver and said I deserved it. I have no idea what I’d done and I wish he would tell me because I’d do it all again if there’s another fiver in it for me. A Sunday sure sounds great when first thing this morning Dad gives you a fiver. Too bad the joy of the fiver was overshadowed by Mum and Dad’s fighting. When Mum came downstairs she said we should go to Church like real Christians. Dad said we should stay home, wash the car and watch some good films like real Atheists. That’s got the fire started today. I was the agnostic front.
In the end Dad won. It was not because of good arguments, but because we were too late for church because of all the bickering. Next week Mum is going to go to church with Grandma and I’m more than welcome to come with. I think I’ll have to decline; one cannot be an agnostic front in church. On the other hand it might be really worth seeing Grandma in church. You never know what she is capable of doing. She might just ask one of the priests out on a date; that would be hilarious. I’m going to think about it.
Dad did as he said he would do; he washed the car and watched a film. As we don’t spend a lot of time together as father and son, I decided to help him. I stopped helping him after I got a scratch on the car. It was not really my fault. Dad had given me a sponge that had a small pebble stuck in it, because he had dropped it on the gravel earlier. He went through four stages of grief in less than five minutes. First I heard him say,’ No, no, no, there’s not a scratch on my car. Please, don’t tell me there is a (nasty atheist curse word) scratch on my car.’ It was followed by a cry for help. I believe I saw Unice taking notes from behind her curtains.
Then Dad got angry and started throwing wet sponges at his car. I hope that he removed the little pebble from it before he started throwing. He finished it off by throwing the bucket of water at his car. Luckily for Dad (and the car) the bucket missed. Finally he walked into the house, sat down in front of the telly and started watching TV. When Mum came in and asked what all the racket was about Dad said,’ Hi honey, the car’s got a scratch on it, nothing serious, you can hardly see it. When you squint a little and hold your fingers in front of your eyes like so nothing’s the matter. Don’t worry about it.’
Mum went round to Grandma’s to talk about her church idea and Dad and I stayed at home watching a film called ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. It’s a good thing Mum wasn’t here, because she wouldn’t have liked this. Afterwards I gave Dad his fiver back, because I felt really sorry about his car. Hope everything will back to normal when Mum gets back. Well … maybe it just depends on what normality is anyways.

See me tomorrow.