Monday, 15 November 2010
Not that anyone really reads my frequent forays into frustration with the world, but then this blog is my daily toxic thought dump, a venting of the frustrations that would otherwise cost me a fortune in shirts and furniture.
For example, the latest little annoyance is the news that we may all be subject to interrogation over a 'happiness quotient'. Which ironically may well become a cause of more unhappiness than intended, the law of unintended consequences being what it is.
Imagine the following scenario. Our hero Bill Sticker, humming a happy little tune to himself as he works, has his train of thought momentarily interrupted by the telephone ringing. Being an innocent soul (Heh), he picks up the handset and answers cheerily, as he is wont to do. "Y'ello!" (Don't ask me why, I just do, okay?) Only to be met by one of those awful autodialler pauses before a young female telemarketers voice greets him. At this juncture, Bill's usual cheery demeanour undergoes a sudden sea change. Driven by a sinking prescient feeling, his brow tightens, his eyes redden, teeth clench and muscles knot.
"Hi!" Says the friendly telemarketer. "I'm conducting a survey on people's happiness."
"I was fine until you called." Vouchsafes the hero of this piece.
"Oh." Says the manically chirpy telemarketer.
"Good day." Bill speaks in tones of disdainful dismissal before shutting off the call. He stops for a cup of tea before settling down to work once more. An hour later, he is busily 'in the zone' and humming contentedly as he works. Again, the phone rings, again he answers it cheerily before the autodialler pause kicks off another mood swing.
"Hello" Says the chirpy person on the other end of the line. "Is that Mr Willyam Striker?"
"Sort of." Responds our hero dubiously. Third hand mailing lists strike again.
"This is the UK Government calling to see if you're okay."
"Why?" Huh? A transatlantic call for this?
"Well we just want to know how happy you are." I was until you called me.
"Why?" Is this taxpayer funded?
"Well, er, it's important to us."
"Why?" You're using taxpayer dollar for this idiocy aren't you?
"Well, it's part of a National survey on happiness. Can you tell me on a score of one to ten how happy you are, using one as very unhappy and ten as very happy indeed?"
"You interrupted my work, which I was quite enjoying, to ask me a stupid childish question like how happy I am?"
"Minus ten." You just had to ask didn't you?
"On a happiness score of one to ten, I'm telling you my happiness score, right at this moment, is minus ten." Now go away.
"I can't report that."
"It is the only figure I am willing to give you. I was content, now I am not."
"So you're saying this call has caused you discontent?"
"Yes." Now leave me in peace, please.
"How would you score your contentedness when you were content, then?"
"AAAAAAARRRGGHHHHH!!!!!" A sudden dopplering noise followed by a crash of plastic and a dying electronic bleep signals the premature death of an innocent telephone handset. There is the sound of ripping cloth, a deafening snarl or pure rage, followed by the heavy breathing grunt of bellicose incandescence along with smashing masonry and receding heavy footsteps. Dog hides under sofa.
You know, if a government tries to meddle in people's lives at this level while the economy is in the toilet and public spending is still out of control, I'd say they'd just passed their sell by date.