And they all lived happily ever after


Do we think that nations with opposite views will eventually all become lovey dovey? The fact that North and South Korea are competing in the snowman building competition at the Olympics or that the British and our continental friends like a sing-song event called the Eurovision Song Contest does not mean for one moment all is platonic. The UK has had a very jaundiced view about foreigners ever since 10,000 BC, when the British Isles uncoupled itself from France due to tectonic shifts and became an island fortress. “If God had wanted us to be European, we would not take baths but showers nor eat food that has gone off and whose rotten taste is covered up in fancy sauces,” say many limeys. However despite this feeling of self righteous ‘differentness’, every high street in the UK looks the same as they are all franchises from multi-national brands, whereas in most of rural Europe individuality at retail level rules supreme. Go figure. The rift between North and South Korea is but a blink of an eye in the history of our times but looks to run as long as the all time Box Office Champ of dispute between the Jews and other Arab nations.

...and another thing

This fallacy of inevitable harmony is pushed upon us from school days. The fact Billy stole your favourite Teddy and pulled one of his legs off and needs to be understood as a cry for help, rather than a punch in the nose and a kick in the nuts, is challenging for me.

The former just prolongs bad behavior and removes personal responsibility for actions whilst the latter could of course lead to a full scale fight, or might just make Billy think twice.

Friction between people is inevitable. Clearly I am not advocating violence but just recognise that we all sit on a powder keg in many relationships, with some of us prepared to light matches. Letting off steam is better than explaining things away.

I suppose if there is an upside to all this tension it’s culture. There would be no Iliad and the Odyssey without conflict. No La Guernica painting and certainly no Country and Western music (though the world might be a better place without Kenny Rogers and songs like A fine time to Leave me Lucille and Ruby, Don’t take your love to Town).

...and another thing

Most forms of aggression between nations takes the form of sport, which is just war without weapons. Just go on You-Tube to watch an ice hockey match between USA and Russia (or even better when it was the USSR) or even a field hockey game between India and Pakistan. It’s far more violent than a Steven Segal straight to DVD punch fest.

If they could turn those hockey sticks into machine guns there wouldn’t be a man or woman left standing… either on the pitch or in the audience. And that tension is what makes great sport.

So next time your partner gives you gyp about not picking up your underpants, lowering the loo seat after a pee or farting in bed don’t be all apologetic. You always have the option for some rough and tumble make-up sex. However may I suggest you challenge your other half to a game of the most vicious of all; croquet. And remember if a stranger keeps looking at your ass when you bend over  remind him the wooden balls won’t be the only balls struck with your mallet.

You’ll feel all the better for it.

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