Tony Blair wants "citizenship" taught in schools.
the sort of thing:
How you should help old ladies across the road, not
push-in to queues, always say please and thankyou, vote labour, etc etc.
Well that's all very laudable (most of it, anyway) but there's
something else that needs addressing in this fast-moving world..
We all (should) know about which sides to place the knife and
fork at table, how to avoid wiping one's nose on the tablecloth, how not to
burp loudly after a large meal with a Duchess, how to stick out a little finger
whilst drinking tea from a china cup. We've done these things for centuries.
There are books on the subject.
But what do we do when our mobile phone rings whilst we're
talking to someone who's dad's just died?
A. just ignore
B. whip it out and start talking loudly about last night at the
C. answer softly and say, "sorry, I'll call you back I'm with Dale, his
dad's snuffed it. Yeah... last night!... I know, he's really cut up about it
actually.... No... I don't suppose he'll want those tickets now.... yes OK I'll
ask him. See ya!" ?
D. shout "sorry mate, must dash" and sprint round the
corner so you can talk in private?
Well obviously none of these is ideal.
The point is that we
aren't prepared by our elders and betters for this kind of dilemma. Our elders
and betters didn't have mobiles, and if there was an urgent message the footman
would interrupt the tete-a-tete with a discreet cough and say "telephone sir"
and they could make their excuses and leave with no fear of their battery
giving out in the meantime.
Mobiles are one thing, modern driving is another.
We are not
taught what to do when a cyclist crosses on the pedestrian crossing and then
rides off in front of the traffic queue. Should we applaud his original
approach or rev up and try to knock him off?
There is no book in which to
look that one up.
We at Winamop have the answer to these thorny questions and many
It is this....
Oh, hang on a mo, it's my mobile. I must take this
call.... Catch ya later!
yeah great... no
His dad's dead and you're with him now?
awful. Did you see the match last night?....
no rubbish wasn't it...
ha-ha... not a hope... blah blah blah....
D.A. August 2004
Read old page 94s here.