Humans are the worst…


Why are humans the worst?

Were I to answer that in full I guess I could be writing forever…

Look at our history, which of course is generally written in perspective and therefore tainted, but it isn’t good is it?

I mean, a lot of good has been done by mankind, but, in general, when people get into positions of power, particularly supreme power, the results are often poor, this is something of an understatement…

The reasons for this blog are not to pontificate but rather reflect, comment and hopefully, occasionally amuse in these unprecedented times (there, I’ve said it, got it out of the way. Three weeks in and I have developed a knee jerk reaction to those two words that has me blindly reaching for the nearest smashable object and hurling it at the wall, causing a degree of friction in the Brooke household, a long list of decorating actions and an increasingly minimalist look in the home!).

This week I watched a programme called ‘Return to Belsen’, a documentary by Jonathan Dimbleby where he retraced the footsteps of his father, Richard, who was the BBC War Correspondent and entered the camp as it was liberated by the British army, the first Nazi war camp liberated in the war and, for anyone who has read, heard or seen the facts of it, a gateway to hell. I’m not here to talk about the details of that, but amongst the participants in the programme there was survivors and liberators, obviously my thoughts were with them, but I also thought about our country and the way it had reacted to the war effort. The liberation of Belsen and all the other concentration camps underlined the fact that WW2 really was a war that had to be fought and that the suffering, privation, fear and desolation throughout that time (and well after it) was, in the grand scheme of things, a price worth paying for the future well being of mankind – an easy statement to make I know when not directly involved.

It ruined a generation of men, women and families, the only common goal a determination that it should never happen again as they lived in silent suffering.

Fast forward seventy five years to our current terrifying crisis and we can all see how the world has moved on in so many ways, and gone backwards in others.

I get the fear (I have it too), I get the financial worry (I sit writing this under furlough) but I do not get peoples’ inability to carry out simple instructions and act for the best or the nation and the world.

This is so simple,we are being asked to stay at home at a time where there is more entertainment and information at our fingertips than in the history of mankind. Teenagers who would have been in a trench or on a beach being slaughtered, maimed or mentally scarred for life seventy five years ago still have to meet and play football in the park. Older men and women who would have been making bombs, being bombed, working down mines, preparing to defend against an invasion, surviving on a paltry diet still have to meet up or complain about not going to the pub etc…

What the hell is up with people?

As for the press’s clamour to ask pointless, accusatory questions and constantly demand when its all going to end…don’t you get it?

NOBODY knows and why go through all this to go back to ‘normal’ too soon and have to do it all again?

I could go on all day but you get my drift.

“Humans are the the worst” is actually a quote.

The quote is from the deep, dark recesses of my mind…in 1990 I co-founded a recruitment business in Harrow and we had offices in a serviced premises, which had a security guard by the name of Max.

He was a gentleman of mixed race, a fact I mention only as he spoke his own form of pidgin English/Jamaican Patois , who sat in a sort of booth in reception and as well as ‘security’ he organised the car park and was a general dogsbody (a noun that bares no scrutiny without disturbance – what does it mean…I mean, I know what it means but how the hell do we get there? It raises more questions than answers – what kind of dog? Why no head, how can it operate with just a body?…) or peon, which, from talking to him, helped relieve the tedium of the booth.

This guy was quite a character, somewhat conversely to the image projected to the general public, and we would often get him down to our office for a chat, where he would open up and we would get to know him better. It soon became clear that he was eccentric, to say the very least, and generally hated most people that walked in the building, trotting down to see us for a daily coffee and whinge aboutĀ  the world, his boss the Office Manager and all the people that used the offices, but for some reason he took a shine to us, the fool.

His view on the world was mostly tainted by his lot in life and the regular use of ‘herbal’ cigarettes and we spent much of our time there setting him up, sending him on ridiculous errands, leaving anonymous inflammatory messages that would have him tearing down to our office to fumingly remonstrate with us about the people he thought had left the message, continuously ringing him and then putting the phone down as he picked it up and generally winding him up (btw he loved it before people start haunting me).

The real bane of his life was the car park.

The car park and the ‘Barron’.

The building had 42 offices and about 30 spaces, which forĀ  those lucky enough to get one, were paid for. Only it didn’t really have 30 spaces, unless of course you drove an original mini or beetle and were wafer thin and able to get out between cars. So as well as having the responsibility for managing this nightmare and the inevitable squabbling, aggro and arguments that it led to, Max had to deal with the ‘Baron’.

This ‘Baron’ was another interesting character….immaculately dressed, tall, broad, with an air of authority and the demeanour of a Saudi Prince, he never struck me as authentic, and came across as a character out of Minder on some kind of scam involving Arthur Daley.

Inevitably he drove a massive, immaculate Rolls Royce and of course when he was in the building (not that often)it took up at least two and half of the spaces width-wise and naused up any kind of manoeuvres anywhere near it as it was twice the length of anything else.

The longer we were in the building, the more lairy Max became, however, whenever the ‘Baron’ was around he was reduced to being the most obsequious , servile individual you have ever seen, much to our great amusement. As Wilfred Hyde-White (or was it Rex Harrison?) once said (courtesy of AJ Lerner) “he oozed and oiled his way across the dance floor” , well young Maxwell did thus all around the ‘Baron’, only to skip down the corridor to berate him in our office at the first given opportunity.

The ‘piece de resistance’, in what was like some average 1970s sitcom was the day three of the Baron’s wives came to visit for a spot of shopping in town, each in a Range Rover and each demanding to park in the car park, said car park already having the ‘Baron’s’ Roller taking up two and a half spaces and, as ever, replete with the ordinary vehicles of the proletariat.

Poor Max.

His innate subservience in the face of authority meant that rather than explaining that this was impossible to the ‘Baron’, he spent the whole day running around, getting cars moved, policing the car park, being roundly abused by other residents and for some reason kept getting additional bogus calls from the ‘Baron’ and further wives, enquiring about parking spaces.

By circa 16:40 the various beazels had checked out and our friend the ‘Baron’ had left the building in a great flourish, no doubt visiting The Winchester for a large VAT, and Max adjourned to our office, demanding tea and expecting sympathy.

Receiving the former but whistling Dixie for the latter, we berated him for being such a creep and told him it was his own fault.

This seemed to stir him a little, for he had already expressed a suspicion that many of the phone calls he had received had been from us (frankly I was hurt at this suggestion). Summoning what little strength he had left he straightened himself up and ejaculated that ” if those effing bitches turned up again i will shoot them all” whilst at the same time doing a passable impression of John Rambo in ‘First Blood’ with a sub-machine gun.

Wearily he slunk to the door and half-turned back to us with the closing statement that “Humans are the worst”.

So, there you have it, the official thoughts of one of life’s great philosophers.

Keep safe – AT HOME!!!!!