Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Ann Timson would not be a name that many in the greater expanse of the globe would recognise. At least, not until recently. Ann became something of an international icon when she saw people doing something that they had no right to do. Rather than stand back and “tut” with impotent disgust, she bravely and selflessly put herself in potential harm’s way to ensure that wrongdoing does not go unchecked. Ann, like others, saw an armed robbery at a Northampton jewellers taking place. The difference is that Ann ran across the road to confront the thieves and attempt to prevent their criminal act. She originally thought that she was witnessing someone being beaten up and cites her mothering instinct for her actions. This is even more admirable because, if she was witnessing a violent attack, then she had no way of knowing if the perpetrators would turn their violence upon a smaller and physically weaker intervener. As she tackled the gang by bashing them with her, now famous, black handbag, the gang fled with one moped crashing and allowing Ann and other bystanders to restrain one of the robbers. All of this was caught on video camera and has made Ann something of an unexpected celebrity.
Ann is truly an inspiration and I don’t mind admitting that, although I have never met her, I got a lump in my throat when watching her in action. I am proud of a stranger. How many people can honestly say that they would have done the same, in the same circumstances? Credit must be given to the members of the public who came to Ann’s aid to restrain the scumbag that had suffered at the hands of her handbag, but would they have acted if not for Ann’s example? And should they have? Is there an unwritten social rule that demands action in the face of the socially unacceptable acts? If there was, then perhaps Ann wouldn’t have had the opportunity to display her crime fighting heroism before someone closer to the action negated the necessity of her impressive sprint down the road.
There are people in the world that go out of their way to help people. To create a world where, if you can make it better, then you do. Conversely, there are those that go out of there way to taunt, irritate and annoy people for nothing greater than their own amusement. Because they can. I fear that I am falling into the second category.
Let’s be clear on this. I am not suggesting that I am in the habit of trying to leg it with a pocket full Elizabeth Duke’s finest, on the back of a greasy haired mate’s two wheeled hairdryer. I am not even saying that I have had a visit from a neighbour, armed with a cricket bat, telling me to turn my music down after returning home from a Saturday night in the Rat And Cabbage drinking pints of snakebite. Despite my propensity to defend my point of view in the face of little gain, I am not even referring to my habit of arguing to the far end of a fart, if I feel I am justified. No. I am talking about a disdainful habit that I exhibit that many around me cannot begin to rationalise or excuse.
Over the weekend, I was feeling a little bit peckish and browsed the offerings in my fridge. I was not alone and sought to retrieve a pair of Kit Kats to accompany a nice cup of tea with my girlfriend. I knew she would appreciate this effort as, like many other females, she considers chocolate to be more valuable than working limbs and opposable thumbs. Though how she would open a Kit Kat without opposable thumbs is something I would like to see. It would probably involve some kind of sea otter like dexterity.
While I was rummaging in the non beer, non leftover takeaway and non salad section(admittedly a small section) of the fridge, I stumbled across a large and festively decorated bar of Galaxy. For the sake of my US based readers, Galaxy is the UK version of Dove chocolate. To eat a bar of Dove in the UK would bring back memories of announcing your first ever swear word to your parents and the ensuing scrubbing of your mouth with soap. I had been generously gifted the enormous confectionary at Christmas by my mother as she knows it is my favourite. And in my squirrel like fashion, I had deposited it into the fridge where it had lain, untouched until the back end of February. This is not uncommon for me. I have been known to bulk store Easter eggs well into October. I like chocolate and especially Galaxy, but I always save it and try not to open it for as long as possible.
If I like chocolate, then why do I not just eat the damned thing? It isn’t through a need to adhere to a self imposed diet, as I have never been on a diet and rarely consider the nutritional value of anything crossing my lips. It isn’t a directly selfish action whereby I resent sharing my good fortune to be in the possession of something delicious. I think I can safely say, without fear of contradiction, that I willingly share almost any of my belongings freely. Well, ok, maybe not ANY of my belongings. Touch my computer or iPad and I will break every bone in your hand. However, I am not one to see someone go without.
The reason is a simple and undeniably cruel one. I decline to open chocolate simply because I know other people will want to. The basic social rule is this. If it isn’t yours, then don’t eat it. This doesn’t extend to Fire Stations, in my experience, where a late lunch can mean no lunch. “I didn’t know who that pizza belonged to, so I ate it.” “But you know who it didn’t belong to, don’t you. You.” But outside of the Fire Stations I worked at, the social rule generally applies. I know that etiquette requires even the most rabid chocoholic to restrain their desire when faced with an apparently abandoned Aero. And this gives me far more pleasure than scoffing down the entire bar in one sitting.
It doesn’t matter if it is my girlfriend, my mother or anyone else in the entire world who happens to know the contents of my fridge. I leave the chocolate in the secure grasp of the Zanussi prison guard simply to taunt those that will be unable to think about anything else until that chocolatey goodness slips down their willing oesophagus. There is no benefit to me, save for the voyeuristic tantalisation of seeing someone prevented from satisfying their desires. There is no benefit to the would be Dairy Milk Devourer, unless you consider that I am preventing the muncher from putting on a few Christmas pounds. The world at large will be completely unaware of my actions, apart from the griping and grumbling that inevitably accompanies my selfish restrictions.
So, as I write down more of my inane ramblings, pointless prose and witless wafflings, I drink a hot mug of Nescafe Dust Blend and consider the Galaxy not fifteen metres away. I have investigated the best before date and I have 3 months and 24 days before I can no longer eat the luxurious chunks of celestially named creaminess without fear of the universe falling out of my black hole. (Metaphor gone too far). But I continue to resist opening it. And I am ashamed to tell you that it is for no other good than to prevent people who would appreciate a block or two enjoying the experience. Including myself. I have been described as a bastard for this behaviour. I feel this is unfair as I am ordinarily generous to a fault, except when it comes to chocolate. I believe that makes me, more accurately, a chocolate bastard.
And now you are thinking about chocolate too, admit it. Go to your fridge and see if someone has an unopened Crunchie hidden behind the pineapple chunks and cans of Special Brew. Draw their attention to that unopened Crunchie. If they still don’t open it, then they are probably a chocolate bastard too.