Good News, Bad News

I drove to work one bleak and dark morning early this week and listened to the news. Big mistake.

Over the coming couple of days I glanced at the papers. Another mistake.

The news was full of reports of the depredations of a dangerous species that spoiled its earth, that sacrificed its young, that snatched and killed the young of rivals, that poisoned, bombed, burned in the name of a god, that raped and killed a defenseless woman in the garden. Geniuses in government decide that indigenous people in regional communities need poker machines, a human right.

That wretched species was our own, the human.

I glanced at The Daily Nausea this morning. The wretched chiefs we chose to lead our island nation dream up ever crueller, more wicked ways of throwing away human supplicants, now offshore, now at sea, now in our gulags. Tight of lip, narrow of soul, bereft of remorse, we succeed: we turn back the boats.

I try to avoid this sort of surfeit. I rise early and spend my reading time on poetry, secular and sacred. The truth, the beauty, these endure. They inspire me, build me up.

I can read these and after reading them I am able still to believe in the goodness of humans.

Yesterday morning with no time for the papers, no time for radio, I joined the commuter crush, took the train to work. At the terminus an oldish bloke debarked, limping, his age-dried eyes tearing and bleary, hobbled towards the gates. A broken-backed sort of bloke, stocky, his face lined, grim-looking, evidently gritting against some pain. A young woman, tallish, plumpish, running, chased after the man. The crowds impeded her, she had to weave. After two hundred metres she tapped his shoulder: “Excuse me, you dropped this.” The young woman handed the older man a disreputable-looking hanky.

He gazed at the grotty cloth:” That’s noble”, he said and thanked her.

I was that old man.

12 thoughts on “Good News, Bad News

  1. Yes it is hard work keeping up with the current “un-Australian-ness” of our nation at the moment.

    Sometimes I like to ponder which nation I should flee to to escape our hard, intolerance of people in need – only to find that the globe seems to be in some sort of hard, ultra- conservative, “God helps those who help themselves” so we don’t have to be bothered helping anyone at all. And there isn’t anywhere to flee to (excepting perhaps Antarctica – too cold for my liking).

    I find that the only relief comes from being counter cultural, living in the world and caring anyway, having gratitude for the exceptionally good life, living modestly, giving and then giving more.


    • What happiness to hear from my ‘baby’ Kerryn- if you will forgive the expression, ka

      Your words warm me and renew the glow of old friendship

      Your parents would remember darkie, ka

      Please remember me to them and the girls

      Got any kids?




  2. Not a lot to say about this, Howard (I refuse to descend to saying ‘that couldn’t possibly be what you’re like !’), other than that I agree with all your thinking.
    And I am delighted that there are still young people around with good hearts. But you knew that, anyway: it’s only the politicians and the rusted-on LNP voters who have hearts of ice.


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