Judge not…*

But I do.

“by Ingram Pitt”

Most of us who have opinions do. There are those we like and those we don’t like and even not knowing them doesn’t stop us liking or not liking them.   A sentence beginning with “I’ve always thought he/she was really nice – “ when the main source of information is not personally known to us? Let’s face it, given opinions may be truthful or they may be what I call “placed” and put in a particular light, to be assimilated in a particular way. For a provocative example, the “special relationship” between the US and the UK, referred to once by Churchill in specific circumstances and used by governments of every colour to the detriment of British interests ever since (see Max Hastings in The Times 7 July 2018.)

You shouldn’t judge a man by his footwear but I can’t get on with grey shoes.   My mother had a thing about shoulder length dyed hair – poor old darling, she have apoplexy nowadays.   The sweetest people have bad breath and we judge them for it – or sticky hands. Or eat with their mouths open shovel style.   Or never stand their round. It’s not just that you don’t like it, whatever it is. It is that you form a judgement against a person who would do/say/wear such a thing.

Generally sneered at, there are occasional treasures on daytime television.   But even if you find a goody (Law and Order holds up well), you have to wade through the ads. And as the day comes ever nearer, I am depressed into the ground by the notion of the expensive funeral.  Yes, the cost of everything goes up, I know this – but if you are so all fired concerned about your family having to shell out to bury or burn you, wouldn’t you make up your own mind or sort it out with them?   You see?   I’m making a judgement.

So my day was made last week by a story about a man in Michigan who asked that, instead of bringing flowers to his funeral, people brought a pair of new shoes for (presumably local) needy families. I loved this. It is inclusive: quite young children could bring a new pair of kids’ sneakers. I liked “new”, I like the dignity of giving something more specific than money (and thus less open to abuse), something essential and I thought it was one in the eye for the “we gave her a lovely sendoff” and umpteen thousands laid out for plumed horses, velvet drape, muted horns and brass handled mahogany which really only plays to neighbours, not the dear departed.

I applauded the young man in Lockerbie who has found a way to process discarded plastic into asphalt (subject to patent) so that we discard less into the sea and the water table and use it on our increasingly burdened roads.

Yesterday for the first time in my life, I took a book back.   I had checked first because I couldn’t quite believe I could do it but I bought “My Absolute Darling”, read five pages and thought “no way”: it may feature great writing style but it is still about child abuse. Beastly is beastly, I judged. So I changed it for something else and thanked all concerned. Well done, Waterstones.

But in that happy transaction (I was the first person into the shop and was of course talking with the assistants) I managed to mislay – not to say lose – a credit card.   I belted home, swearing in the sweat, to ring the company to stop it and came up with that which many of us complain of, the Asian call centre.   And a woman (not a girl) who was doing the “script” for real.   She greeted me.   The automated exchange had already taken my DOB so she asked “How old will you be at your next birthday ?”   I laughed and said “75”.   She laughed and said “Miss Raeburn, I am sorry to ask you such a question .. “ I said “Thank you for laughing.” She made all the right noises and I judged her as the happy exception to the rule.

*…lest ye be judged

“This is famous Indian athlete PT Usha and she looks how the lady on the phone sounded!”

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