Not the faintest idea

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of th­ese ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Can you imag­ine hav­ing a job that en­tailed wak­ing up every morn­ing and not hav­ing the faintest idea of how to ad­dress, never mind solve, the prob­lems fac­ing you? HMMoG! (My young so­cial me­dia friends tell me this means ‘Holy Mary Mother of God'). What a dilemma!

A dilemma like that can eas­ily spoil those won­der­ful first mo­ments of half-sleep and semi-wake­ful­ness in which you can plan and shape the com­ing world to your sat­is­fac­tion and spec­i­fi­ca­tions.

Just imag­ine wak­ing up every morn­ing to face the same moun­tain of debt that you thought you had es­caped from in your sleep only to find the debt had in­creased through ac­crued in­ter­est overnight – I mean, just imag­ine it: Let's say that you owed 365 mil­lion dol­lars to some­body or other, which co­in­ci­den­tally is one mil­lion dol­lars for every day of the year. Then let's say that you are sup­posed to be pay­ing, but can't, 10% in­ter­est per an­num, which adds another 36.5 mil­lion dol­lars to the moun­tain, or to put it sim­ply in more eas­ily grasped terms, 100,000 dol­lars a day in ad­di­tional debt.

Now some peo­ple might tighten their belts, but if your belt is al­ready pretty tight be­cause you can­not af­ford to buy food, what do you do? Well, some peo­ple might suf­fer a rush of blood to the brain and go on a shop­ping spree, spend­ing left, right and cen­tre money they don't have. Buy now, pay later is a pretty lethal ap­proach to shop­ping, but it does have its at­trac­tions.

Then, as you slowly open your eyes and squint to the left and right to make sure you are safe in your bed, there is the ques­tion of crime. What must it be like to arise in the morn­ing in a world in which you are sup­posed to be in charge of safety and se­cu­rity only to won­der how many mur­ders, mug­gings and rapes will oc­cur that day?

Then, of course, there's the car­nage on the roads, but that is hardly your fault, or so you tell your­self: You are not re­spon­si­ble for the stu­pid­ity of road users though you do have a twinge of com­pas­sion for the in­no­cent vic­tims of traf­fic ac­ci­dents. But not for long; thank God you do not have to worry about the over­crowd­ing of pris­on­ers at the prison. The ‘lock ‘em up, throw away the key and for­get them' pol­icy seems to be work­ing. Mercy and pa­role were a waste of money any­how, and they weren't even po­lit­i­cally ac­cept­able among the pop­u­lace.

There is al­ways a mea­sure of con­so­la­tion, of course, in the rise of non­vi­o­lent crime; at least no­body gets in­jured, maimed, mu­ti­lated or killed. You al­most wish there were more such crimes to di­vert at­ten­tion away from the re­ally bad stuff. Rapes are a bit of a prob­lem. It's hard to know where they fit in. Just be­cause the vic­tims are not maimed, cut or shot doesn't mean they weren't vi­o­lated. I mean, it's get­ting harder and harder to blame the vic­tims for be­ing where they were at the time, wear­ing what they wore or act­ing as they did. Sooner or later the rapists are go­ing to have to an­swer for their crimes. It's just a pity that there are so many well-pub­li­cised cases fea­tur­ing high-pro­file per­pe­tra­tors th­ese days. I mean, why can't they keep it in their well-groomed pants? Put rape back where it be­longs – in the bush – as part of our in­ces­t­sod­den cul­tural land­scape.

And as for young peo­ple, un­em­ploy­ment at its worst, well what to do? The NAS (Na­tional Acro­nym Ser­vice) is do­ing its best to pro­vide snazzy pro­grammes to al­le­vi­ate the prob­lem of un­em­ploy­ment. Trou­ble is, you al­ready have the votes of those peo­ple. The pro­grammes do noth­ing to sup­port and en­sure your fu­ture or re­ally change lives – at least that's what some peo­ple think. Why bother? Ap­a­thy is re­ally quite an at­trac­tive op­tion.

Then there's the cor­rup­tion. You've done what you can to keep things clean and you've made a pretty good job of it when you com­pare what you've done with how the other guys dealt with graft – dealt with it? En­cour­aged it more likely. But it is still dis­cour­ag­ing to see how en­demic the prob­lem is. Even ‘clean' ap­pointees to high places ap­par­ently have a his­tory of kick­backs and com­mis­sions on gov­ern­ment pur­chases and projects that hardly bear scru­tiny. Best close your mind to it and move on.

It's strangely light out­side. Je­sus, is that the time? You'd bet­ter get up or you'll miss that flight. Another long day in the air to far away places, peo­ple to meet, lunches and din­ners to eat, speeches to speak (as they put it in Chi­nese), wines and cock­tails to drink, meet­ings to be min­gled, hands to be shaken and smiles to be fixed. Thank good­ness the rigours of travel help put the mun­dane prob­lems at home in their proper per­spec­tive. There's noth­ing like for­eign travel to clear the mind. And see­ing how things work in the big wide world helps fos­ter ‘the vi­sion thing'. The per diems aren't bad ei­ther. OK, time to move!

The pre­ced­ing was first pub­lished in the STAR news­pa­per in March, 2015.

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