Each working day I walk the couple of miles between my home and the charity for which I work in the centre ofHalifax. This included last Monday when, thanks to a fall of snow, the walk was more of a trudge.
During the remainder
of the day I learned from various sources that ‘this guy/that guy’ hadn’t turned up for work because he ‘couldn’t get out!’
‘Out of what?’ I mused. His house? His bed? His marriage? His despair at the futility of his purposeless life? It was the typical Joe Average excuse whenever some inconvenience raises its head.
(A few weeks previously when addressing a group of young teenagers who claimed they’d been ‘inconvenienced’, I explained that inconvenience was a part of Life. Almost every funeral I’ve ever attended was an inconvenience, I told ‘em.)
What I found most depressing about these Joe Averages who ‘couldn’t get out’, was how quickly and without any sense of guilt, they were willing to become victims.
When I raised this with one of my colleagues he said my judgement was harsh. I told him he was wrong; in my opinion it was only a light snowfall, the first of the winter.
He said my assessment was typical of a county boy (which I am) … though actually his words were ‘county bumpkin’ … and then he quoted some inches that were expected which he’d learned from the Met Office, and organisation akin to our Foreign Office, both of which are inherently cautious.
I dismissed this pathetic attempt to use bureaucratic prognostications of quantity as a satisfactory benchmark when
what was being discussed was actually an issue of personal Determination. And afterall, as I pointed out, we live in West Yorkshire, the Pennines being one of the highest areas inEngland.
That was Monday. Tuesday lunchtime the Sun began to shine and those who on Monday ‘couldn’t get out’ were (probably) all in Tesco buying candles and stocking up on Coco Pops.
Ironically, in the United States Monday was a Public Holiday to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jnr. I made it a point to take a looksee of the WMD Guide where, in the section ‘When Things Get Rough’, I read….
‘As Martin Luther King Jnr. observed: the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy’.