GREY MUTTER ‘They’ are too dif­fer­ent

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - OPINION -

WHEN you grow up with an older sib­ling, you learn to share – you have no choice. Shar­ing would take the form of our un­cle bring­ing a batch of comics for my brother and I, and then big brother plant­ing him­self on the floor with the stack of comics – some­times 20 or more – on his right-hand side, while I sat on the left, wait­ing to “share”.

The sys­tem was sim­ple, as soon as he’d fin­ish a comic, he’d place it on his left-hand side, and only then was I free to read it.

No, he prob­a­bly wasn’t a self­ish mon­ster, but this was, I sup­pose, his child­like way of main­tain­ing or­der; if this be­hav­iour had spilled over to adult­hood, THAT would be a con­cern.

Par­ents, un­like un­cles, are wise old souls; and dur­ing the time that it was only my brother and I in the home (be­fore the girl-chil­dren in­vaded) they cir­cum­vented the shar­ing is­sue by pro­vid­ing gifts in pairs.

One par­tic­u­larly mem­o­rable day the folks ar­rived from the city with two T-shirts; one white, with a blue and red de­sign (my favourite colours), and one brown (yuck) with yel­low and khaki trim (bleh).

The best thing about these tops was the fact that they were cus­tomised. Mine was mono­grammed with an L (for Lance) and his with an M (to me, back then, it was ob­vi­ously for Mon­ster).

But our mis­guided par­ents got it wrong … my mono­grammed T-shirt hung on me like a po­tato sack, while my brother’s top made him look like Jean Claude van Darn!

Big brother and I nod­ded at each other as we made a silent pact to re­search nurs­ing homes for our dilly folks.

How­ever, when we learned that the ‘L’ meant that the T-shirt was the large size, and the ‘M’ was medium, things made more sense … un­for­tu­nately this meant that I was stuck with wear­ing the ‘yuck and bleh’ coloured T-shirt un­til the one I ac­tu­ally wanted mag­i­cally turned into a hand-me-down.

Grow­ing up like this I re­alised that there are only two kinds of peo­ple on earth – those who love brown, and those who don’t. Wait, let’s re­con­sider … the two kinds are those who share, and those who hoard.

No, that’s not quite right, it’s those who are struc­tured and those who are spon­ta­neous … or maybe those who eat sushi with chop­sticks and those who eat it with a fork.

Come to think of it, it’s prob­a­bly be­tween the haves and the havenots; or no, here it is … I’m cer­tain this time – the dif­fer­ence is be­tween peo­ple who roll their toi­let pa­per over (as it should be) and those mon­sters who roll it un­der.

No, wait! I com­pletely for­got those who set a sin­gle alarm in the morn­ing, be­fore leap­ing out of bed to start the day, and those who hit the snooze but­ton eight times be­fore crawl­ing into re­al­ity.

This dis­sec­tion could go on all day!

Sigh, it seems that the longer we look at hu­mans the more the ob­vi­ous di­vi­sions and sep­a­ra­tions ap­pear.

Yet it could do no harm for us to con­sider that we are a species, and we had bet­ter learn to get along, co-op­er­ate and in­ter­act, or as Ter­ence White once wrote: “If you keep on di­vid­ing, you end up as a col­lec­tion of mon­keys throw­ing nuts at each other out of sep­a­rate trees.”

Ul­ti­mately wouldn’t it be good if the haves pro­vided re­lief to the have-nots? If the wise up­lifted the sim­ple, or if the strong sup­ported the weak?

We would do well as a species to em­brace the fact that there will al­ways be di­ver­sity, but there does not al­ways have to be di­vi­sion.

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