Laughing in the face of Health and Safety
What is important?
That’s a small question with an enormous answer, and I won’t pretend I can do it here. Mr Casaubon in Middlemarch spent his life trying to tie together the Key to all Mythologies – or, as Douglas Adams put it more succinctly in Dirk Gently, the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.
In short: we all hold differing opinions on what is important, and usually the single common opinion is that mine is more right than yours. As a child I used to work out what I could do without for longest: air, food or water. Eventually I decided that temperature trumped them all, since I could hold my breath for longer than it would take me to boil to death in a witch’s cauldron. (I was reading a lot of fairy tales.) It’s all a question of immediacy.
Yesterday was one of those days that taught me something. I like to poke a bit of fun at people: you know that. I think laughing is good, and deflating pomposity even better. With all the kerfuffle about Lord ‘wandering hands’ Rennard possibly returning to the House of Lords, I tweeted:
“If Rennard does sit on the House of Lord benches today, I hope those sitting either side of him stroke his thighs constantly.”
By my standards (and I know they are low compared to some), it went a bit viral. It got retweeted by my followers, then picked up by some Westminster journalists. By the end of the morning Sally Bercow had added me to a twitter list of ‘interest’. It was retweeted nearly 50 times and favourited nearly 20. I was feeling giddy, with a career in political satire beckoning.
Just before lunchtime, my four-year-old daughter’s school called to say she had managed to throw herself off a bike and smash her head open.
That was important. Suddenly what rich politicians did with their hands really didn’t matter. I arrived at school to find a wibbly little girl with blood in her hair who needed her mummy. Although the bump was an alarming size, she wasn’t concussed so we didn’t bother our local A&E. By the time we got home she was more proud of the three stickers she’d been given for being brave, and we spent the afternoon reading stories & playing maths bingo. There’s no finer way to test for concussion than a bit of mental arithmetic. I have middle class pushy mum standards to maintain, after all.
My tweet continued its journey, and I had some funny exchanges over it. I discovered it is, after all, important what politicians do with their hands. When you have time to think about it.
I need both. Of course health is everything. I realise the witch’s cauldron is the bottom line. But if I did nothing else – once my kids are fed, warm and safe – my brain would implode. Rule One of First Aid is that you must keep yourself safe before rushing in to help others. If you end up a casualty, you are no good to them.
All of which is a convoluted way of defending my right to poke fun and laugh at people. It works for me.
More proof that you should have your own media show! Top post and so lovely to see your daughter looking incredibly proud of her bump!
Ha! Thanks. This has now gone down as her biggest bump yet. The pride will last forever.
Spot on, Isabel. I realised early on as a working mum that as long as my kids were safe and happy I could handle any number of other juggling priorities and interests. As soon as either of those preconditions fell down, everything else went by the wayside. As soon as the fundamentals were repaired normal service was resumed.
Quarter of a century on, with said kids now young men, same thing applies just as much – perhaps not quite as often. I guess it’s some sort of feminist mother’s take on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Tell 4yo from me that’s a very impressive plaster. xx
PS Being added to a Sally Bercow ‘list of interest’ – scary, much??!
I’m sure all my tweets are now being monitored by someone in a dark room. Good luck to them.
I love that bumped into each other yesterday on twitter and found out we were both nursing little girls. And then we went off and blogged about it and came to pretty similar conclusions. 🙂
Very happy to hold the same view as you do! Hope yours is mending as quickly as mine.