I’ll start this blog with a disclaimer. You’ve seen and heard them right? There’s the ones on the radio where the voiceover is set to Eminem rap speed to recite the T’s and C’s at the end of the advert; and there are the ones written in font ‘wingdings’ that only children can read leaving the discerning older consumer with not a chance of deciphering the hieroglyphics. So, my disclaimer involves the UK. Whatever I say in this blog, I would like to add that anything attributed to the United Kingdom is heartfelt and sprouts from a deep love of the country. This, and other future blogs will include moaning about my homeland with a smattering of eulogies about the greatest island on our planet. Are we done? OK, good, now onto more pressing matters.
At some point in the last 15 years, things have taken a serious wrong turn in the UK, it is akin to my current challenge which is to drive through the town of Paralimni without going wrong. Our country is at a dead end and instead of reversing to take a different route it keeps smacking itself against a brick wall. In short, it mirrors Michael Douglas’ line in ‘Wall Street’ where he tells a young Charlie Sheen that ‘Greed is good’.
The Thatcher years (as most journalists like to refer them) engendered that whole mentality, swallow up the weak and promote the strong. Leave the disabled and elderly to struggle and go out and see how quick you can make enough money to buy your T bar Toyota MR2, which at one stage was THE car to be seen in. I look at the street where I live (in the UK) and see hard working people being swallowed up by increasing costs and a desire to one day retire. To somehow make it through the last twenty years of work with all their marbles and be physically able to enjoy the twilight years. We have all in some way contributed to this malaise. Now, I’m not going to turn all Russell Brand (who doesn’t know whether he’s a comedian or politician these days) on everyone and declare some sort of vendetta on the government but this claustrophobic existence IS what causes the NHS most harm in the form of stress. So, rather than create my own party and declare war on everyone, I’m starting small. If enough people do what I’m suggesting then we have a chance. Stay with me, this could change everyone’s lives FOREVER. You know that moment when Apple unveil the new gadget at their ‘live streaming event’ and you have a WOW moment. I want you to feel that same anticipation now! Here we go! 2001 music cued up?
I’m declaring 2015 the ‘Year of the Hug’ as it is scientifically proven that a hug provides as many endorphins as (for men) the poster of the tennis player scratching her nude behind, you know, the one from the seventies, and for women, Benedict Cumberbatch. I think I’m qualified as a ‘huggie’ having cuddled quite a few people before we left and since arriving in Cyprus, reacquainting myself with our family abroad. There are several levels of hugging. It starts with barely touching each other (fake french kiss is an optional extra) to a full blown ‘Bear’. My Dad, for example is a hand shaker not a hugger but we did have some contact before Michelle and I left. It was nowhere near a ‘Bear’ but it meant more to me than he could know.
Perhaps, if the Christmas shoppers took a more loving mentality to the car parks of Tesco (see Steph Veitch’s post on Facebook, and if you can’t, send her a friend request, she’s a good hugger) then maybe Christmas may become special again and not put people off it. Who gave anyone the right to swear at someone in a car park because they missed a parking space? Even Tom Arnold, one of the most amiable and nicest young men (ooh young man) you could meet, has humbugged this year. No doubt, he has had his good nature squeezed from him like a car being slowly squashed in a recycling crusher by the squabble for Turkeys, Waitrose free coffee and the latest pudding by Heston Blumenthal: try doing it for 16 years Tom, you’ll end up really hating the one day of the year when all shops close! This is supposed to be a relaxing, happy time of year, not a standoff.
Back to hugging, the most consistent hugger award (and the inspiration for this idea) goes to Vikki Thompson as we always get a hug after our writers meets, but the best hug I saw this year was when I spent 2 days in Hospital, in October, and was reminded that we are all still united by our desire to be loved and love others. Opposite me, were two men who had slept next to each other for weeks. They had formed a friendship and bond. One was an old white man in his sixties and the other was a much younger black man who learned that day he was being transported to a hospital in London for more treatment. As they wheeled his bed toward the waiting ambulance the older man took a few painful steps toward him and gave him the most touching hug I have ever seen: they held each other for a couple of minutes, and, as he left, all the nurses were holding his hand wishing him the best, the rest of us had tears in our eyes. I knew none of these people and yet when I returned from my op, they all, unselfishly gave me a thumbs up. I felt like we were all facing the war together, and, in the year of commemorating 1914 took enormous heart from their best wishes.
This is the power of a hug.
At this point you make think sanctimonious whatsit. Who is he to tell me anything? I’m not, but if you hug a person in 2015 because of a subliminal message that I planted in your brain, then you may make someone’s day. Go on, Try it!
You’re bound to be exposed to hugging people over the next few days as families come together to share the festive fun. Will you hug or shake hands, or just go for a pathetic peck on the cheek? It will tell you all you need to know about you and your relationship with others!
And one more thing! Think of the last time you hugged someone! If you can’t remember then there’s something wrong in your life.
Happy Hugging Christmas Everyone.
This was a Skoda free blog (as Nicky V has banned me from moaning about them any more).