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I have a mistrust of ultimate truth.
The sweeping statement, however useful on occasion, fills me with dread.

I feel a cerebral chill when I hear people talk in hard and fast truths when referring to people.
The problem as I see it is that anything can be disproved to the point where it would be disallowed in a court of law.

I think that ‘reasonable doubt’ can be cast over much of the received wisdom we accept as ‘truth’.

I think sweeping statements and stereotyping helps a society hang together and I am certainly not immune to either of these things.
I think society is made up of a series of shared ‘beliefs’ that previous and successive generations would find risible and bizarre.

I am part of society and therefore as guilty as any.

It still unsettles me occasionally.

There are ‘truths’ that have become fashionable.

For example, the argument about whether the toilet seat should be up or down.

The received thinking in the media of the early twenty first century is that it should be down.
We have been told this in humorous jokes, rom-com films, newspaper articles, radio and television phone ins and endless other forms of media. It has been the subject of impassioned rants in papers and journals and has started countless, countless domestic rows.
The end result of which is a general acceptance by the mainstream that the toilet seat should be left down but uncaring males often leave it up.

But this files in the face of what I actually know to be true.
The whole thing is a myth.
We could be living with a very dangerous misconception.

I have lived and worked in many male only or male dominated environments and my current status is that I live in a house with two other males.
They may be small but add me into the mix and our average age is 19.

Three males, average age 19, all in the same house.
Imagine for a second.

This is the thing.
If I go into the bathroom and I see the seat is down I do not think “Good”.
I do not think “A blow for intelligence and equality has been struck here”
I do not think “Well done me, I have raised fine, modern, caring sons who put the seat down”

I think none of these things.

I think “I wonder if either of those two bothered to lift the seat last time they went for a wee standing up?”

And I think “Maybe I will just give that seat a once over with a wet wipe before I use it.”

I want to be really clear here.
I do NOT think the seat should be left up.
I do NOT think this is a trivial matter.

What I think is that the received wisdom missed the point.

The battle should not be about the SEAT.

The battle should be about the LID.

We should all be putting the lid down.

That way all people approaching the loo should have to lift, and all people should have to close again afterwards.

The battle over the seat manages to ignore the fact that many males, when faced with an urgent situation will not bother lifting the seat at all.

When I say many males I am specifically referring to 66% of the inhabitants of this house these days.

Never trust a toilet if the lid is up.

Seriously, until this is sorted out, carry your own wetwipes. I do these days.

We got a leaflet from a ‘Sing and Sign’ afternoon once.

The Proles loved Sing and Sign, all sitting in a circle and singing songs with accompanying sign language.
It was great and it really did help Prole2’s speech development.
Prole1’s more strident voice probably didn’t need so much help but he loved it too and as such we had a great time and trusted what we learned.

The leaflet had a picture of a smiley Sunflower and a happy looking Carrot on the front and in big bubble writing it read:
“Kids will love gardening with you.
You can plant seeds and watch them grow with your children, taking time with them to water the young plants as a family.
They will love harvesting the plants you have grown together and eating them as part of a family meal.”

This, you will notice, is delivered as if it is absolute truth.

Note particularly the two uses of the word ‘will’

“Kids WILL love gardening with you”

“They WILL love harvesting the plants you have grown together and eating them as part of a family meal.”

Even taking into account the slightly more vague middle line that strongly hints at a truth without actually committing to it, this is fairly definitive stuff.

I will be honest.
I believed these LIES.

The leaflet did not say that your kids will not be interested in the slightest.
It does not say one of them will appear to be spontaneously allergic to mud.
It does not say they will argue over who gets the trowel and who gets the fork.
It does not say that the one that gets the trowel will go back later with the fork and re dig everything ‘so they get their go’.
It does not say there will be many woeful watering can accidents.
It does not say that interrupted time on the trampoline to come and do ‘family activities’ would be resented.
It does not say that tantrums will be thrown because Dad ‘hurt the carrots’ when he pulled them up.
It does not say that your children may refuse to eat any of their dinner at all because ‘you killed all our plants’.
It does not make clear the weeks of misery.

If lawyers were free, and cartoon characters could stand up in Court, that Sunflower and that Carrot would be up in front of a judge right now for peddling such lies.

There is no such thing as absolute truth.

Especially in cartoon bubble writing.

Anyone who says there is is trying to sell you something.

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