Several things in the online papers today got me thinking about trust and respect. Both traits are usually earned, but are ascribed almost automatically to some professions.
I am learning, far too slowly, I admit, that it is far, far better to withhold both trust and respect until you are absolutely certain the person you think is respectable and trustworthy actually is. Even then, there are shocks and surprises.
Disappointment becomes a regular emotion as you start to wise up. New realities have to be created.
An example? I may have mentioned this before, but a couple of years ago I had to go to my GP for a regular blood test to see how my cholesterol was doing. I had had the blood sample taken by the nurse one week earlier, this visit was to determine how long I had left to live.
I am called (on time) to see Dr Fuckknuckle (not his real name, but it should
be), and in I walk. He is already busy writing out a prescription. He "Good Morning's" me without looking up. I take a seat. "Bad news, old son", he says gravely, (he still hasn't looked at me), "You have a dodgy ticker. You are going to need this medication for the rest of your life".
"No, I don't have a dodgy ticker", says I.
"Yes. You do", he insists.
"Prove it", I retaliate.
"It's all here", he says, tapping the computer screen. Still without looking at me or the screen. I lean closer so I can read it.
"You have three problems there", I said.
"Oh yes? And what are those problems?", he asks. Finally looking up at me.
"Number one: I am not 84 years old. Number two: I am not Margaret Jane McDonald. Number three: I am male".
"Ah", says our shaman, "Wrong screen". He fiddles with the keyboard and my name pops up.
He glances at it briefly and says "Ah yes. That's right. You have diabetes". Out comes the prescription pad for some fresh activity, he scribbles furiously.
"No I don't", says I.
"Yes you do", he insists.
"Prove it", I insist right back.
"Consistently high blood sugar readings", he exclaims. "It's all here".
"Show me", I counter.
He looks, fiddles with the keyboard, mutters, then says, slightly triumphantly, "There!"
I look. "Is that it?", I ask. One high reading out of 8 tests over a ten year period?"
"Yup", he says.
I said, "One high reading is an anomaly. You need at least two consecutively high readings to even consider there is a problem. Test me now. If it's abnormal I'll take your damn pills, but I at least want to know you have it right".
He's looking a bit smug now, and he arranges for the practise nurse to give me 500ml of Lucozade to drink and tells me to bugger off for an hour. I come back to the surgery, give another blood sample and the wifey looks at the results. "All normal", she declares. I badly wanted to be the one to inform Dr Fuckknuckle but she won't let me. "He will be embarrassed", she says, "I'll tell him".
So I went home to let my
wife spouse partner
significant other know that I wasn't dying just yet.
A stupid story, I admit. But the bigger problem is this: How many Dr Fuckknuckles are out there? Dispensing serious medication to people too witless, or too in awe of doctors to actually ask "Are you right? Is your diagnosis correct?". And, given recent NHS outrages, we learn that they are killing us off. By the thousands.
The police are no different. Just the other day we were treated to pictures of a grinning cop who had killed a motorcyclist while she was chatting to her partner on a mobile phone. The biker just became victim number 1,464. These people all died at the hands of, in the company of, or just after coming into contact with....the police. Not one of them has faced charges over these wrongful deaths in the last ten years. We MOPs (members of the public, as they term us) are merely collateral damage in the ongoing war. We are obstacles in their way.
And what about those sportsmen some of us stick on a pedestal? Lance Armstrong, anyone? Now we have Oscar Pistorious charged with blowing away his girlfriend. I know, I know, we must let justice take its course but it is not looking good for the lad.
Celebs? The guy off Corrie, Michael Le Vell, was today charged with 19 counts of kiddy fiddling and one charge of rape. And slimey old Jimmy Savile, self-styled King of Fingering? If even one tenth of the accusations are true he was a very sick individual. Yet both of these people were looked up to and trusted and respected.
My own village copper, the same man I gave tea and biscuits to during a neighbour dispute, is awaiting court over his possession of 1,000 indecent images of children. He seemed like a nice, family man. I had to gently ask him to piss off when he showed up to get involved in the dispute. I explained to him the difference between civil and criminal law. I maintained that the dispute was civil, but, as he explained, he was a lodge brother of my neighbour, and he had to act. "Sure," I said, "But before you do anything unlawful, go and talk to your duty solicitor". He came back an hour later to let me know that the fracas had fuck all to do with him. Off he trotted. I assume (now) that it was to get back to his child porn stash.
Sorry for the ramble.
The point, if there is one at all, might be this: trust no-one. Especially if they have any 'authority'. They will lie. They will make mistakes. They will ride rough-shod over you. And they will be wrong. A lot of the time, they will be just plain wrong.
Hang on to that respect as well. Give it out very carefully. Be mean with it.
Because they don't trust or respect you. At all.