Global Case of "Oliveritis Syndrome"
With a Mind of His Own
Quite a few years back our son got a tabby kitten from his girlfriend and named him Oliver. I am not a pet person, but kittens are cute and a lot of fun watching and playing with. As he was getting older, Oliver lost all that charm, now displaying that typical lazy and opinionated behavior which probably makes pet lovers opt for dogs.
However, there was one particular feature in his behavior that - with any stretch of tolerance that we usually reserve for animals' limitations - made our Oliver a pretty stupid cat. Namely, he was not toilet trainable, or we just didn't know how to make him recognize the litter box and convince him to use it.
What was making that stupidity even less understandable was the fact that he chose to use the box for No.1 need, but not for No.2.
A Smelly Ritual
He had this peculiar ritual of pooing that kept us hesitant every time whether to just laugh or to kick his disobedient ass out of the door. Well, we opted to be cruel to ourselves, not to the poor little bastard who obviously didn't know any better.
So we just watched him taking a sprint on our hall runner and abruptly stop to make a crease on it. Then he would frantically "dig" an imaginary hole on the bottom of that crease, to end the ceremony by blissfully squeezing out his smelly deposit there.
Programmed to cover it, now he finalized his unholy act by working on the top of the crease, and then nonchalantly walked away to continue napping far enough from his crime.
Is there a point to this story, or was it just to make you think again about your intention to get yourself a kitten?
No Business like Donation Business
Well, so much going on in this world reminds me of Oliver's programmed and compulsive behavior that didn't make any sense, and of our seemingly being stuck with that nonsense. In the rest of this article I wanted to share with you the metaphor of it - while sparring you from the smelly part that we had to go through.
Now, you probably had an opportunity to see on TV at least one of those public appeals for a donation, featuring some African kids with big and begging eyes gazing straight into the camera and tormenting your sympathetic hearts.
Don't take it wrong way, I do have something like a heart myself, but here I am thinking about the big gimmick involved. First of all, whoever paid that lavish amount for that commercial ad - as that's what it was - must have had enough money to also buy a box of Kleenexes for those little runny noses.
Also, they could have made sure that flies didn't navigate around those cute little faces, which was supposed to add to the effect of their poverty. Well, the rumor has it that the executives in some of those charity organizations are making a lavish income and driving themselves in limos while exploiting those poor kids to collect for their comfortable livelihood.
Anyone there to Teach Them?
Whatever hard conditions may cause that massive poverty in some nations, one question keeps imposing itself : What's wrong with those mothers who keep conceiving those unwanted babies that are doomed in advance to live a hell of a life?
Indeed, after some die out of malnutrition or disease, doesn't their motherly instinct make them prevent conception in some even primitive way that they could have "invented"?
Besides, if all that aid keeps coming from the sympathetic United Nations, isn't there any incentive from either the United Nations or the governments of those countries to educate those people in the art of contraception? And, is there any possibility of an end to that aid? For, like the saying goes : "the first couple of days you feed fish to a hungry man - but then you teach him how to catch it".
To me it's a typical example of a global "oliveritis". Just like Oliver was "digging" an imaginary hole in the runner, so are hard working people of the world donating into a situation that shows no intention of improvement. Thinking now about that old saying : "When there is a will, there is a way", it seems like the opposite could make sense as well: "When there is a way, there should be a will".
Preventable - but Who Really Cares?
The World Health Organization could probably come out with some shocking figures of money being spent on treatments of diseases that were preventable with a simple common sense. I have seen a woman, now dead, who was coughing her lungs out and reaching for the pack of cigarettes, as her husband just helplessly shrugged saying: "I must be the biggest fool on the face of the earth to pay for both cigarettes and cough medication."
Oliver's syndrome? A TV documentary was showing a man with a surgical hole on his wind pipe after surviving throat cancer - bringing a cigarette to that hole to take a draw. Other than these extremes, how much of less obvious ways of self-destructive behavior is going on in this world that is boasting for having sent man to the Moon?
Aren't We the Pride of Mother Earth!
It's been said that "it's only human to make mistakes" - but it's downright stupid to repeat them. For here is another relevant saying: "History is teaching us only one thing - that it has never taught us anything."
For look at this "oliverish" military nonsense going on and on in the Middle East. Some half a million corpses and billions of dollars later - we are still there, losing some old friends and gaining some new enemies, as if "frantically working on a runner crease to cover our droppings".
How else do you explain our military presence there, after long time ago it was established for the fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction in the area? After having realized that, it would have been normal, sane, and logical to withdraw from there.
But no, we needed that war more than those folks needed a silly version of a "democracy". We are proud "olivers" showing off our claws in the area where no one for some centuries got the idea that there is something like a litter box to use. Like the late Benny Hill used to say in one of his comedy shows: "What a lovely bunch of coconuts!"
My Party - Your Party - Same Party
In his classical children's book "The Gulliver's Travels" Daniel Dafoe is telling us - little and grownup kids - the story of these two idiotic kings about to start a war over the issue "on which side - smaller or bigger - should boiled eggs be opened".
To me it somewhat looks like this deceiving antagonism between republicans and democrats. For even some highly educated, informed, and observant political analysts are telling us how it comes to the same which party gets to be in power. Except for some minor differences that might as well be sneered at, neither of them are delivering that higher standard of living which would be suggested by otherwise an incredibly rich country.
Just like ourselves looking at Oliver doing his indecent smelly act, so are the tax payers looking at their governments spending their money on everything else but those basic human needs - like let's say a free medical coverage.
- A lawyer makes anywhere from $50 to $1000 an hour for his services - whereas a surgeon who saves your life on the table makes miserable $110. No one around to look into that unfair deal?
- Politicians whose comfortable working ambient is nowhere to compare to hazardous work of policemen, miners, and firemen - and they get to retire early as well. By what logic? If there is no logic, then why bother buying a "litter box" - let's just be happy watching.
- Fossil fuel responsible for much of climate changes, disease, and political dependency on producers - keeps its status of "black gold" - despite available and unexplored alternatives.
- Standard of living could increase almost overnight if the governments were not distributing lavish amounts to space programs, wars, some questionable foreign aids, bribes to the countries of some strategic importance, arm race, and an oversized bureaucracy. When you think of it, which part of this list reminds you of a "democratic" care for the interests of the majority?
If Watching ever Becomes Tiresome
In this article I have tried to point at a possibility that we massively share a blind spot in our vision range when it comes to certain counterproductive and aimless behaviors of those who are tailoring our limitations from their high pedestal.
Then we keep electing them out of some installed programs and routines in our public minds, not considering any possible options, seemingly too tired of the history repeating itself as to be in a mood to "rock the boat" of the political status quo.
However, as we may increasingly become aware of our mistakes, we may start correcting our support to those in the position of decision making in matters that directly or indirectly affect our lives. I used the metaphor of a cat who kept his nonsensical routine, while we just reduced our response to watching it.
By the way, Oliver died many years ago. In the meantime, the world seems to keep his legacy very much alive.