Grumpy old man, strike one!

An older chap, probably my age when I come to think about it, was being interviewed for a job. The interviewers were probably two generations younger than him, frightfully intense, frightfully correct, and there was a clash of cultures just waiting to happen.

One interviewer then asked him, “Do you have any weaknesses?”

It’s the sort of ‘right on’ question you’re apparently supposed to ask now. Whether it’s to give the applicant a chance to show how smoothly they lie or how good their bluffing is I haven’t a clue. But anyway they asked him this question. So he thought about it and said, “My honesty.”

One of the intense and oh so correct young things said earnestly, “I don’t think honesty can be a weakness.”
The old lad just looked at him and said, “I don’t give a damn what you think.”

Me, I think, I’m getting there.

It might be a symptom but I’m getting increasingly sick of the contemptuous hate filled postings that we’re getting on Facebook. I’m beginning to think a lot of people should get out more.

Listening to men of my Father’s generation talking (which I did when I was a lad and was working with them), they’d been about, mixed with people. The war pretty well meant that you travelled. As one chap said, “Live with somebody in a tank for two years and you stop worrying about whether he’s a bluidy toff or not.”

I remember one chap talking affectionately about a girl he knew. She’d been in the land army and had been sent to the farm he’d been working on. Spoke with a plum in her mouth, swore like a trooper when a horse stood on her foot, shared a woodbine when they were sheltering under a dike from the rain. Was a pal and taught him to dance so that he had the confidence to ask out a lass he fancied.

And now people seem to live in self reinforcing silos, allowing themselves the luxury of ‘hating’ people who are so obviously stupid that they support a different political party.

For God’s sake get a life.

Some of this is my fault. I’ve been on Facebook for years. I had an account for four years before I ever posted (or even looked at my page) because, wearing my freelance journalist hat, a lot of google searches used to lead to Facebook.

But then I became a writer and had books to sell and of course ‘you have to be on Facebook.’

So I’m on Facebook. But as a writer you’re supposed to have two pages, one for you as a writer and one for you as a person. So you can keep your life in separate compartments.

Except I’ve never worked like that, I’ve got one life and I’m living it all the time. So on my Facebook page I get stuff from family, friends who are real friends I’ve known for years, people I went to school with who it’s good to get back in touch with, people who apparently think I’m a writer and they obviously collect writers, and other writers who hope that by linking up with me they might somehow sell another book. (Given that this is why I’m on Facebook in the first place so I’m hardly well placed to moan about it.)

Anyway I’ve come up with a cunning plan. I want an all-purpose post I can just stick in Facebook discussions that irritate me. Save me wasting valuable time taking part in them.

Can't stop now someone is wrong on the internet

So I’ve come up with a few things that people might just want to remember

Are the Republics/Democrats/Socialists/Tories criminal scum planning to destroy the economy and our way of life?

Remember Plato

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

If you don’t like it, get off your backside, go out there and participate, stand for office.

Then again, are you angered by sad loners getting guns or whatever and killing or stalking people or whatever?

Well check out this person’s blog.

But short cut for those with busy lives, it’s suggested that the easy way to stop loners doing crazy things is to befriend them and stop them being loners.

But then that would mean actually getting off your backside and getting out there and doing something.

Seek enlightenment?


But really, the answer is always just switch off the chuffing screen and go out there and do something real, with real people. You’ll feel better.

But before you do, just buy one of my books


Enjoy the quiet life of a middle aged cartographer. Well it was quiet until somebody finds the naked body of a young woman hastily buried in a marsh. The journey to discover her identity and hunt down her killer leads our protagonists across the Land of the Three Seas, through ambush, civil strife and even light opera.

As a reviewer commented, “

Swords for a Dead Lady follows Benor Dorfinngil through an intricate plot of murder and intrigue in a highly developed fantasy world with a rich caste of characters.

This is a book has well developed characters and a good plot, but what makes it a real joy to read is the depth of background. This is not only original, with none of the cliches or tired formulae that so often bring the fantasy genre down, but superbly detailed. The reader can walk with Benor and the other characters through a world both curious and distinctly human, with the geography, history and demography all ready set out instead of created merely for the convenience of the plot. The author clearly has a great deal of experience with the worlds of fantasy as well, and of the practicalities of life in a low tech world, allowing him to avoid common pitfalls and present the reader with a highly entertaining and polished work.”

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11 thoughts on “Grumpy old man, strike one!

  1. Will Once November 6, 2015 at 12:18 pm Reply

    Many years ago I was asked the “What are your weaknesses?” question in a job interview.

    “I have a tendency to avoid answering difficult questions,” I replied.

    The interviewer (someone I knew well), said: “Oh, come on! That’s not a proper answer. What are your real weaknesses?”

    I said: “I have a tendency to avoid answering difficult questions. REPEATEDLY.”

    I got the job. Over a pint afterwards the interviewer said that they couldn’t decide if I had given the best possible answer to the question or the worst.

  2. roberthmyers33 November 6, 2015 at 7:56 pm Reply

    Hahahahahahaha, Fantastic. I think we’d be fast friends. Loved the piece. Thanks for linking to my post!

    • jwebster2 November 6, 2015 at 8:01 pm Reply

      Glad you dropped by. I cannot remember when I found your post but I thought it was a great piece and absolutely true 🙂

  3. M T McGuire November 9, 2015 at 4:36 pm Reply

    Great link, I enjoyed that. I tend to counter all those vicious bitter posts on facebook with an Aldus Huxley quote. I’ve paraphrased it here.

    “Propaganda is about convincing one group of people that another group is not human.”

    Personally, I think hate is quite difficult up close, face to face. We generalise and dehumanise people… I’ve a half written post about this same subject, myself…



    • jwebster2 November 9, 2015 at 4:52 pm Reply

      I liked CS Lewis’s comment about hatred, which to paraphrase is that hatred is what the coward develops to help them cope with their fear. But yes the first step to destroying someone we fear is to dehumanise them, then they’re not people and don’t have ‘rights’ so we can say anything we want about them. It’s an old technique 😦

      • M T McGuire November 9, 2015 at 5:07 pm

        There have certainly been a few posts on Facebook that have put me off voting for the Labour party, big time. Is the party like that at the top, I keep telling myself. I think uniting people behind you using prejudice is dangerous as well as low – something Alex Salmond was a master at over the yes vote. Pretty much any question he was asked it was either, ‘that’s just the kind of thing you English bastards would say’ or ‘well that’s because the English are bastards.’ I suppose he must have answered the odd question put to him but I never heard it happen, myself.



      • jwebster2 November 10, 2015 at 6:37 am

        When an group of people seem to have no tactic but to keep telling you how hateful their opponents are, then they’ve lost it within the context of a democratic society. It’s as if they cannot grasp that the vast majority of the people don’t actually believe in any party mantra and regard all party loyalists as pretty much the same. Given their background, education and wealth that isn’t too far from the truth.

      • M T McGuire November 10, 2015 at 9:32 am

        Very true. I think that may be why the left wing versions get me, because socialism is founded in a Christian view of the world, because they’re supposed to stand up for the common man, because many of them claim to be rationalist, against the idea of submitting to ‘religious dogma’ and then, when they follow a political party, they proceed to behave with exactly the kind of religious zeal about their politics that they mock in people of faith.In short because if they’re as supposedly rational and balanced in thought as they’d have us believe they should bloody well know better. In the UK haven’t seen any right wing folks showing quite such obliviousness to the giant plank in their own eye but he US Republican party definitely excels itself in that respect. They the 1930s National Socialist movement look quite balanced and rational.

      • jwebster2 November 10, 2015 at 10:18 am is a nice summary. But yes, the zealotry of Liberals and the Left can be terrifying at times.

  4. M T McGuire November 10, 2015 at 9:34 am Reply

    Sorry that last line should read, compared to them the 1930s National Socialist movement looks quite balanced and rational… never comment on an iPad.

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